There’s always been something romantic about football under lights. This striking photograph is captured as 62,000 fans fill the Arsenal Football Stadium in Highbury, North London to see Arsenal challenge the Glasgow Rangers. It is Arsenal’s second match ever to be played under Highbury’s floodlights (the first during a September 19 match against Hapoel Tel Aviv). Under these powerful new lamps Arsenal would claim a 3-2 victory over Glasgow; conquest and stadium both immortalized in wide-format monochrome.
This particular floodlights seemed to bring luck to Arsenal regardless of venue. In 1962 the lights were sold to Bohemian Football Club at a back-then cost of $24,500 and installed in Dublin’s Dalymount Park. The first competitive match the lights shone upon? Bohemian vs. Arsenal, with Arsenal claiming an 8-3 victory.
Floodlighting in football dates as far back as 1878, when there were floodlit experimental matches at Bramall Lane, Sheffield during the dark winter afternoons. With no national grid, lights were powered by batteries and dynamoes, and were unreliable. Lights were later be used by clubs such as Thames Ironworks, but they stopped the practice after joining the Southern League in 1888. In the 1930s, Herbert Chapman installed lights into the new West Stand at Highbury but the Football League refused to sanction their use. This situation lasted until the 1950s, when the popularity of floodlit friendlies became such that the League relented.
Arsenal Stadium was a football stadium in Highbury, North London, which was previously the home ground of Arsenal Football Club between 6 September 1913 and 7 May 2006. It was mainly known as “Highbury” due to its location and was given the affectionate nickname of the “Home of Football” by the club.
It was originally built in 1913 on the site of a local college’s recreation ground and was significantly redeveloped twice. The first reconstruction came in the 1930s from which the Art Deco East and West Stands date. There was a second development; the first phase was completed in 1989 which added executive boxes to the Clock End, and afterward in 1993 a new North Bank Stand was constructed, both following the recommendations of the Taylor Report which replaced the terraces to make the stadium an all-seater with four stands. However, further attempts to expand the stadium were blocked by the community, and the resulting reduction in capacity and matchday revenue eventually led to Arsenal opting to build a new stadium, to become known as the Emirates Stadium in nearby Islington.
After the club moved to their new stadium upon the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, Highbury was redeveloped as a residential development known as Highbury Square, with the Clock End and North Bank stands being demolished; parts of the East and West Stands remained and were incorporated into the new development due to their listed status. In addition to its architecture, the stadium was known for its small but immaculate pitch and for the famous clock which was positioned in the southern side of the ground since its introduction in 1930.
(Photo credit: Arsenal Football Club).