Jul 1997: General view of the steps leading out to the pitch at Upton Park the home of West Ham United FC in London, England. Mandatory Credit: Stu Forster /Allsport
The Boleyn Ground in London’s Upton Park has been the home of West Ham United since 1904. In 2016 the club founded in 1895 for staff at the Thames Ironworks shipbuilding yard will relocate to the Olympic Stadium, site of the 2012 London Games. It’s only a three mile walk between the old and the new grounds. But who walks? And who supports West Ham United and lives in the area? London E13 is not a smart postcode. Sure, the ground hymed in history and memories will be replaced by yuppie flats. Things change. But these new homeowners are seeking city living for City boys and girls not proximity to the Hammers and a slice of East End life.
Main entrance and ‘twin towers’ of West Ham United’s Dr Marten’s stand, Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, London, taken from Green Street.
The Boleyn Ground “splits the Newham Council wards of Green Street East and Green Street West, the two wards with the smallest White British population in all the country. According to the 2011 census, just 4.8 per cent.” This is where the new blood arrives and gets a toe-hold in London. It’s where my ancestors put down roots. Although they supported the mighty Leyton Orient and as they made money and moved to the suburbs in Essex, Middlesex and north-west London, the more glamorous Arsenal. It’s not where you find a spare £60-a-head for a ticket to watch the Premier League. Today’s West Ham fans come from further afield. Getting to the new place means navigating a different Tube stop or car park. The relocation is more a cultural shift.
1st March 1930: The enthusiastic supporters at a London derby match between West Ham United and Arsenal at Upton Park. (Photo by J. Gaiger/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
3rd January 1931: The victorious team of schoolboys from Walthamstow after they beat West Ham 3 – 1. (Photo by A. R. Coster/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
The Beautiful History reminds us that West Ham have moved before. And when they did they prospered.
They played their matches at Hermit Road in such rudimentary conditions that this virtually grassless piece of land was referred to as a cinder heap….In 1896 Thames Ironworks moved briefly on to Browning Road, just off East Ham High Street
1863: The Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
They then moved to the Memorial Recreation Ground which was equipped with a grandstand, complete with cycle and running tracks… When West Ham United eventually left the Memorial Ground at Canning Town in May 1904, their new home in Upton Park was originally a cabbage patch where a Catholic School and reformatory stood, just within the confines of East Ham.
16th April 1932: The players of Dulwich Hamlet amateur football club hold their captain and the trophy aloft after their victory over Marine (Liverpool) in the Amateur Cup final at Upton Park. (Photo by H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
4th March 1933: An injured spectator is removed from the crowd during a sixth round FA Cup clash between West Ham United and Birmingham City at Upton Park. (Photo by Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
4th April 1936: Spectators at Upton Park to see the football match between West Ham United and Aston Villa take a moment to view the eclipse of the sun during play. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
29th August 1936: St John’s Ambulancemen handing out oatmeal drinks in the heat at the football match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park. (Photo by E. Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 27: Football Match Between A Motorcycle Clubs And Hackney Wick Mc West Ham In London In 1937 (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
3rd April 1937: Robbins, captain of Dulwich Hamlet amateur football team, drinks in celebration from the trophy, after his side’s Amateur Cup final win over Leyton at Upton Park. (Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Football fans climbing over a fence at Upton Park football ground to watch the cup tie between West Ham and Arsenal, London, 5th January 1946. (Photo by Central Press/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 21: Policemen Arresting An Unemployed Demonstrator In London On January 21St 1939
War and Conflict, Post World War Two, pic: circa 1946, London, German prisoners enjoying a day out at Upton Park to watch West Ham United play Bradford, the men allowed out because of their good behaviour (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
4th February 1968: Warren Mitchell, star of the television comedy program ‘Till Death Us Do Part’ at West Ham United’s Football Stadium, Upton Park, in the East-End of London. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)
3rd April 1971: A veteran West Ham supporter being led away from the terraces by police during the match against Manchester United at Upton Park. (Photo by Leonard Burt/Central Press/Getty Images)
Football, London, 1970, West Ham captain Bobby Moore leads out his team before a game at Upton Park as the crowd watches (Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Sport, Football, London, England, 14th February 1972, Fans crowd the roof of a block of flats overlooking West Ham’s Upton Park pitch as the Hammers win their FA Cup replay v Hereford 3-1
11th January 1972: Football fans queuing to get tickets at West Ham’s home ground Upton Park for the game against Manchester United.
25th October 1976: Rowdy Manchester United football fans take to the stands as they sense the oncoming defeat of their team by West Ham at the Upton Park football ground in London. (Photo by Roger Jackson/Central Press/Getty Images)
27th February 1930: Football fans queuing to get into a West Ham versus Arsenal Cup Tie match. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
The Prince Albert football final; st Barnabas V Silvertown at West Ham.
1st March 1930: A good tempered football crowd at West Ham, London pass a young boy over their heads to the front so that he can see the game better. (Photo by S. R. Gaiger/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
The North Bank, Boleyn Ground, 1991, before redevelopment.