Stadium History

Stamford Bridge is one of the oldest football grounds in the country and has been the home of Chelsea Football Club since our formation in 1905.   

Stamford Bridge opened as a sporting arena on 28 April 1877. For the first 27 years of its existence it was used almost exclusively for the traditionally popular Victorian pursuit of athletics meetings by the London Athletic Club.

In 1904 the ownership of the modest ground changed hands when Mr Henry Ausgustus (Gus) Mears and his brother, Mr J T Mears, obtained the deeds, having previously acquired additional land (formerly a large market garden) with the aim of hosting a newer sport they had fallen in love with - football - which had swept the north of England and the Midlands and was growing in interest rapidly in the capital city.

The new arena they commissioned on the 12.5 acre site was designed by renowned Scottish football stadium architect Archibald Leitch (as were many others across the land) and included a characteristic feature of his work in the 120-yard long stand on the east side to hold 5000 spectators, complete with a pedimented centre gable on the roof,

The other sides formed a vast, open bowl with thousands of tons of material excavated from the building of the Piccadilly Line underground railway supporting the high terracing for standing spectators..

The capacity was originally planned to be 100,000 and was the second largest in country behind a decaying Crystal Palace stadium in south London - at the time the FA Cup final venue.

Initially the stadium was offered to nearby Fulham FC to play there. They turned down the chance and so instead a new side, Chelsea Football Club, was born in March 1905 and moved into the new Stamford Bridge stadium for the start of the season a few months later.

It was quickly a success with a 60,000 crowd in the first year, promotion to Football League Division One after two, and three FA Cup finals held there between 1920 and 1922.