The White City Stadium in London: The Birth of the Mega- Multi-Purpose Stadium

White City Stadium 1908

It is huge. Olympian in fact.

When it opened in time for the opening ceremonies of the 1908 London Games, The White City Stadium sat 68,000 people, although it could fit another nearly 30,000 standing spectators. It had an oval running track, about 7 meters wide. And between the running track and the stands was a cycling track that was another 11 meters wide.

Cycling at White Citsy Stadium_1908

The oval tracks were so wide that, in addition to space for athletic events like archery and hammer throwing, there was enough room for a swimming and diving pool!

Swimming at White City Stadium_1908

Unfortunately, the 1908 Olympics was the stadium’s high point. In 1927, it was sold to the Greyhound Racing Association, literally going to the dogs. The stadium no longer exists, torn down in 1985 to make way for the headquarters of the BBC.

White City Stadium circa 1950s
BBC Television Centre takes shape in the late 1950s with White City Stadium nearby