The original Wembley Stadium was the most iconic entertainment and sports centre in the UK for many years. It was constructed as part of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition and was used to host both the 1948 Olympics and 1966’s historic World Cup Final. When it was decided to re-invent and rebuild it to be even more impressive, it may have seemed an insurmountable challenge, but after huge amounts of work, the finished structure was better than anyone had imagined.
The main challenge was in retaining the heritage of the original iconic building while creating a modern, atmospheric, breath-taking landmark that would serve the nation for many years to come. And, the new Wembley that looms over London with such majesty, certainly lives up to that aspiration. It has an incredible 90,000 seats, it stands nearly four times as tall as the original and covers twice the footprint. It is, in fact, the largest covered arena in the world. Here are some interesting facts about Wembley Stadium, some of which may surprise you:
1. Wembley Stadium is located in the north London Borough of Brent
2. The stadium is so large that you could park twenty five thousand buses inside it.
3. The stadium can seat ninety thousand people.
4. It cost an eye-watering eight hundred million pounds to build.
5. The Banqueting Hall alone is so big that you could use it as a storage location for a jumbo jet.
6. If you decided (for some reason!) to fill the stadium with milk, you would need seven billion pints of the white stuff.
7. You don’t need to worry about being caught short, as the new Wembley has more toilets than any other building on earth.
8. The arch is so large that you could roll the London Eye underneath it with room to spare.
9. With an impressive seven metre diameter, the arch is so broad, that a channel tunnel train would be able to drive through it with ease.
10. Indeed, the mighty arch breaks records all of its own, as it is the world’s longest (single span) roof structure; the length of three football pitches laid end to end.
11. If you were to take all the seats out of the stadium and put them in a continuous line, they would stretch for fifty four kilometres.
12. The two immense screens at each end of the stadium are each the size of six hundred domestic television sets.
13. The total combined length of all the escalators is four hundred metres.
14. On a clear night, it is possible to see the Wembley arch from another iconic London landmark - Canary wharf, which is a full thirteen miles away.
15. At its highest point, the arch is one hundred and thirty three metres tall; over four times higher than the twin towers that graced the original stadium.
16. In terms of weight, if you were able to place Wembley stadium on a scale, you would see that it weighs as much as ten Boeing 747s.
17. The arch tips are known as its ‘pencil ends’ and they are an almost unimaginable eighteen million times as heavy as a normal HB pencil.
18. The arch is constructed from a whole series of what are known in the building industry as ‘straws’. These straws each have a capacity of 850 pints and are twenty and a half metres long. The hinges used to attach them weigh seventy tonnes each.
19. The arch was actually pre-fabricated in Darlington and its environs, and then brought down in many separate sections to Wembley to be assembled on site.
20. The arch is solidly constructed from British steel.
21. The arch is so tall that, to meet legal requirements, it is fitted with warning beacons to warn low flying planes of its presence.
22. At least one person from every single county in England was involved at some stage of the construction process.
23. In total, the huge force that the arch’s jacks can lift is twelve thousand tonnes. To put that into perspective, that is the same as the combined pulling ability of six thousand Land Rovers.
24. The way in which it is designed means that every single spectator in the stadium has an unobstructed view of the pitch.
25. To ensure that the atmosphere of the new stadium was not diminished, and that the famous ‘Wembley Roar’ was conserved, the seats were specifically planned to be as close to the action as possible.
26. Indeed, all of the seats in the new stadium have a greater amount of leg room than the best seats (those in the Royal Box no less) in the original.
27. The designers were committed to ‘future proofing’ the stadium, to ensure that it would be the perfect venue for all sorts of different events, from football to track and field to pop concerts.
28.The stadium has ninety eight kitchens.