WHITE CITY STADIUM, WEST LONDON, UK
The White City Stadium in West London, which was built for the Olympics of 1908, is to close.
WHITE CITY STADIUM, WEST LONDON, UK
WHITE CITY STADIUM: SEPTEMBER, 1984: GVs & SVs White City: SV PAN TO SCU Poster announcing last greyhound meeting. SV PAN Inside deserted stadium (3 shots) 0.14
MONO, MUTE, 1908: GV & SVs Italian marathon runner Dorando Pietri comes into stadium. Helps by officials. Collapse over line. STILL Receives gold cup from Queen Alexander (4 shots) 0.31
JUNE 24, 1927: GVs & SVs Greyhounds being paraded as crowd watches. Electric hare . Bookmakers. Race in progress (6 shots) 0.56
OCTOBER 13, 1984: (COMMENTARY) GVs Kuts and Chataway in race. Chataway wins off final bend. Bannister supports Chataway at end (6 shots) 1.28
JULY 19, 1947: GVs & SVs Ibbotson off final bend. Ibbotson breaks tape as crowd applauds. Ibbotson at track side.Crowd. Ibbotson leaving (5 shots) 2.15
JULY 10, 1965: (NATSOT) GVs & SVs Clarke running off final bend alone, Breaks tape to win. Surrounded by officials (3 shots) 2.40
JULY 20, 1960. GVs & SVs David Broome on Sunsalve winning the King George V. Cup. Crowd. Broome receives trophy from Duchess of Beaufort. Spectators applaud. Broome with trophy and Sunsalve (6 shots) 3.01
OCTOBER 5, 1977: (COLOUR) SV Start of race with Ole Olsen, No.4, going into lead,. Olsen takes chequered flag. Olsen with two girls at end of race (3 shots) 3.24
SEPTEMBER, 1984: GV Stand, CU Board saying"White City Stand (2 shots) 3.36
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Background: WHITE CITY STADIUM, WEST LONDON, UK
The White City Stadium in West London, which was built for the Olympics of 1908, is to close. The famous ground, which in later years had been used chiefly for greybound racing, has been sold to property developers. In its heyday the White City was a mecca for sports enthusiasts and countless broken records and spectacular events will ensure that the stadium goes down in history. Sports ranged from clay pigeon shooting to soccer, from rodeos to stock car racing. Legendary athletic achievements included the Kuts-Chataway confrontation and the Ron Clarke three-mile record. The Stadium was originally built for the Olympics of 1908, and got its name from the surrounding site which was being developed for an industrial exhibition. The white city arose from the glittering white buildings surrounding the city-within-a-city.
SYNOPSIS: Today, there is a dilapidated air about the place.A broken clock, empty stands and cracked concrete reverting to weeds, testify the decay of a once busy sporting arena.
It was the 1908 Olympic that put the stadium of the map. Star of the Games was undoubtedly the Italian marathon runner Dorando Pietri. Stimulated by draughts of alcohol he arrived at the White City in a state of exhaustion. he fell five times and sympathetic spectators and officials -- including Sherlock Holmes's creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- helped him over the line. He was disqualified but was presented with a special gold cup by Queen Alexander.
The fame of the stadium was halted by the war. But in 1927 the new sport of greyhound racing arrived. The first electric hare made its debut at this meeting. The booming sport funded a rebuilding of the stadium with a new track and restaurant. The world's largest tote came into service in 1937 and in 1945 the photo-finish camera arrived. The Greyhound Derby was always run at the Stadium. The final derby was held this year.
But it was top athletics which engraved the Stadium in the folk memory of millions of fans. And none more so than the famous Kuts v. Chataway 5,000 metre clash at the White City. Chataway took the lead only five metres from the tape to win in a world record of 13 minutes 51.6 seconds. Helping him after the finish was Britain's first sub-four minute miler Roger Bannister.
Three years later, and the stadium saw a world record mile. Yorkshireman Derek Ibbotson kicked away from a first class field to win in three minutes 57.2 second. The three runners behind him also broke the magic four minute barrier.
But perhaps the greatest piece of distance running ever seen in the world came from the great Australian athlete Ron Clarke. In July, 1965. he clipped just over eight seconds off his own three-mile record with a time of 12 minutes, 52.4 seconds. The first man to run the distance in under 13 minutes was roared home by 16,000 spectators.
The Stadium was also well known as a venue for the Royal International Horse Show.In 1960, a young David Broome on Sunsalve won the premier event, the King George V Gold Cup. The Duchess of Beaufort, whose husband was president of the Show, presented the trophy.
By contrast, in the 70's, White City housed some exciting speedway meetings. Champion Ole Olsen of Norway, riding for Coventry wins the final meeting of the Volkswagen Grand Prix series. For three or four years the stadium had its own team but interest gradually wanes.
Now there are only the deserted terraces and the memories of former employees....One had left a fitting tribute on one of the remaining electronic scoreboards.
Source: REUTERS LIBRARY