Club: Queens Park Rangers | Opening: 1908 | Closing: 1984 | Maximum capacity: 93,000
White City Stadium was for years one of the largest stadiums in Britain until it got demolished in 1984.
White City Stadium was built for the 1908 Olympic Games. It formed part of the Franco-British exhibition site, an 140-acre complex of palaces and exhibition buildings. Most of these buildings had whitewashed exteriors, hence the name White City.
The stadium got built after the city of Rome, to which the 1908 Olympics had initially been awarded, failed to meet its financial obligations and the Games were moved to London instead. The stadium could hold a total 93,000 visitors.
During the Olympics it hosted, among others, the athletics, football, and cycling events, as well as the finish of the first modern marathon.
The stadium got hardly used in the years after the Olympics, but was taken over by the Greyhound Racing Association in 1927 and from then on mainly hosted greyhound racing and speedway, though other sports such as rugby, boxing, and athletics also found their way to the stadium.
White City Stadium hosted one game at the 1966 World Cup, which was a group match between Uruguay and France (2-1). The match was originally planned to be played at Wembley Stadium, however when Wembley’s owner refused to reschedule a previously planned dog race, the match was moved to White City instead.
For short spells in the 1930s and 1960s Queens Park Rangers used the stadium as its home, being unsatisfied with the conditions at their nearby Loftus Road stadium. However both times the club moved back swiftly.
By the 1980s the stadium was almost solely used for dog races, and it got demolished in 1984 to make way for additional buildings to the BBC’s adjacent White City complex. The last event at the stadium, on the 22nd of September 1984, was a greyhound race.
it also features in the film ” THE BLUE LAMP” 1949, good film that still stands the test of time.
You can see the dogs racing and the tellers using hand signals to take the bets.
my dad as a child used to watch the dog racing there after playing on all the bombsites,,then the Speedway in his 20s.
My father was totalisator track controller after Stanford Bridge, New Cross, Harringay, Slough and other GRA tracks and he had to go back to White City (London) after retirement to run the greyhound derby. Roger Allison
Hi my Dad Arthur John Mason (john) worked at white city from the 60’s to the early seventies as an engineer working on the lights and hare etc I was privelidged to have seen a couple of events but I mainly remember dusty wood everywhere.
The first time I felt sadness at a non physical loss was the demolition of that iconic stadium, for a building that was to be for the BBC radio stations and suchlike in the end just offices very sad!
My father used to do the numbers for the Greyhound Racing at the White City so I am hoping some of your reviewers may have some info that I am looking for.
I have what looks to be a photo of a winning football team, with shield, with my father as one of the players which has written on the back “London Stadium League Championship 1948 & 49”. We figure it must have been taken at the White City as that’s where my father lived at the time and you can see the greyound track in the background. I can’t find any info anywhere else and the English FA haven’t even bothered to respond to my enquiries.
I’d be grateful for any info or suggestions.
Was the Q.P.R. V Northampton Town game on 9/2/63 at White City the 1st time that the Cobblers had been featured on Match Of The Day ?
When my dad retired around I think 1977 ,he was the Maintenance Engineer in charge of electricians,plumbers and carpenters etc.Before that ,one of his jobs was as the Hare Controller.Even after promotion he was still called upon to drive the hare for the Greyhound Derby.Although various sports have been mentioned,nobody has mentioned Stock-car racing and Banger racing that also took place at the stadium.
My father was working at the track in the early fifties.
Do you have any record of him, was there any photo’s, as I have no photo of him. He passed away in 1958 aged 36 years.
Hello there! Attached to a silver pocket watch chain I bough a number of years ago, there is a silver medal commemorating the first floodlight match at White City, on 14-12-1932, which seems to be during one of the QPR spells there. Has anybody any further information about that bit of history?
Thanks for your kind attention,
The closing of this, the greatest greyhound stadium in the world! Was a tragedy for sport as a whole, not just greyhound racing.
It has robbed us of the most exciting evenings sport that ever was, the greyhound derby.
There will never again be the trembling excitement you felt during a greyhound deny final night!
Bands playing on the centre field, the starter for the greatest sporting event of any year bar none! And I’ve been to the olympics, numerous Wembley cup finals, F1 races around the world, nothing comes close to one of those magic nights.
When the man in the white uniform rang that bell from the inner field you dook with anticipation, you were never disappointed no matter what the result, just a feeling that you’d just witnessed and been part of the greatest event in sport!
I am researching the life of my grandfather William Barton . Family tradition has it that he was involved in the construction of the White City, most probably as a carter and also we think as a gang leader. I believe he was transporting cement.
Are there any records of the men who worked on the construction?
I think you are a little unfair on Rome regarding the 1908 Olympics, wasn’t there a natural disaster in Italy which necessitated the diversion of funds earmarked for the Games to the relief operations ?
There were a couple of features probably worth a mention. Not only did the stadium host the athletic events but also the swimming and diving, the pool is visible to the right of your photo, just inside the track, which was 3 laps to the mile rather than the now usual 4. This made the centre green much larger than one would find in a modern athletics venue and gave quite unsuitable viewing distances across both cycle and running tracks. Which didn’t stop the owners trying to make money out of rugby league, motorcycle speedway and even baseball at various times. Its a pity it didn’t survive until the present wealthy owners of QPR arrived on the scene, the site would have been ideal for the shiny new home ground they are hoping for. Did the BBC really need all that new office space when they have more or less abandoned the iconic TV Centre next door ?
As a boy my mates and i would bunk into the stadium and watch the big fights,Bruce Woodcock,freddie mills,Randolf Turpin,Don Cockel, to name just a few. I went all the A,A,A athletic championships and saw Chris Chataway,Emil Zatapec,and a great miler Sidney Woodison. The military Tattoo,and as i grew up and went to work i would go to the dogs on a Thursday night and if i won,would go back again on a Saturday. Those were lovely days and i look back and think how lucky i am to have had such a happy childhood. M. Rippon
I think that speedway needs mentioning. White City Rebels rode there from 1976 to 1978 (winning the league in 1977) as well as important World Championship events (including the World Team Cup)