Hotspur Towers - The East Side
This trip to the archives and another collection of images of White Hart Lane over the years. This set from the stadiums history concentrates on the east side of the ground and in particular Archibald Leitch’s East Stand which opened in 1934. This stand and The Lane has featured in a number of previous articles and details of these can be found in the notes section. We also remember some more of the representative games that have been played at the ground.
left - A view from the west from the 1970's.
This look back at the Lane isn’t the one that was originally planned at this point however part of the main story was recently carried on another site. Therefore I’ll hold that over to a later date.
The Canadian artist and writer Jonathan Himsworth living in England described White Hart Lane as his favourite stadium. Here is what he wrote about the East side’s famous Shelf. ‘Tottenham in the days of standing-room terraces epitomized all the ingredients of a proper big league football ground. The distinguishing feature of football folklore was of course The Shelf, a stretch of terracing that sat perched upon a sort of um, shelf along the sidelines underneath the huge East Stand, the tallest stand in the land. When the East Stand was packed and the Shelf in full voice, it could be as loud as in any nation.
The rest of the ground was already enclosed on all four sides and had seating receding into the shadows. These wooden chairs, behind paddocks of terracing, were all set beneath pitched roofs crowned with iconic gables that were the hallmark of their designer, the patron saint of Stadium Art, Archibald Leitch. His common signature on many of the great stands of the day was a central roof gable and iron crisscrossing designed into the balcony wall of his upper tier seating. What I liked most about it was the parterre, the little paddock surrounding the pitch that in the old days would allow standing-room-only fans to create the spilled-can-of-baked-beans effect as they surged towards the front anytime a goal was scored.
In 1981 the new West Stand was opened, and after the Taylor Report they boxed in the Shelf to make it all-seater, and a verse of football poetry came to an end. - Jonathan Himsworth
right - The England V Germany international 1934 played at the Lane. You will note how the Shelf was painted green in its early days.
Above - 1989 and the East Stand roof is refurbished.
The Shelf has been described numerous times as having the best terraced view of football in the country. With its vast wall of white and the crowds singing echoing back at them it was an intimating site as opponents made their first entrance into the playing area. Few people realized that when it first opened the shelf was in fact green, a colour often used by Leitch. This was changed after the first season and remained white until its demise.
Left - In 1992 and the seats go in.
Below - I cant tell you anything about this image, It came to me via an Italian website and is dated 1948.
During the Second World War, its upper tier was used as a temporary mortuary for victims of the German air raids. There are rather sad descriptions of people queuing to identify loved ones resembling the match day queues.
Robbie Savage, the former player and BBC pundit once described White Hart Lane crowd as “So loud, so passionate.”
England have played various games below full international level at the ground including the Under 23’s side back in 1961 when they met West Germany.
The Under 21’s have also played several European Championship games at the ground. The latest of these was in 2005 against France.
While the Youth / Under 18's have played here at least five times between 1948-2001. The last game saw Tottenham’s Jermaine Jenas and Rohan Rickets involved.
Left -1983 As the East Side fills up, Note the old floodlight masts and the lights on to of the old press box on the roof.
At the far end the old Park Lane Stand.
Right - 1971 and Alan Gilzean challenges the Arsenal defense in from of the packed stands.
Other representative games that have been played at White Hart Lane. 1930 saw the Football League host their Scottish counterparts.
Then in 1945 England played Scotland in an Army International. England won 3-0.
Whilst in October 1953 The FA beat the RAF 4-0.
Notes – White Hart Lane features throughout the Hotspur Towers series but in particular you may like to read Numbers - 5, 16, 33, 58, 3 and 50 - The Cockerel.
For White Hart Lane memoirs you may like – White Hot Lane and Talking Tottenham, At The Lane.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
Thank you – Daily Mirror, Englandonline, THFC, Summerfiled Association.
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