The world's greatest ground? A photographic centenary celebration of Highbury

6. Behold the West Stand

 
Good Friday, 19 April 1935, and Arsenal - well on their way to a third successive league title - are on the attack in an 8-0 win over Middlesbrough. But what's of interest here is the grand structure in the background.
 
Arsenal wanted to create for London a stadium to equal or surpass the architectural impressiveness of Villa Park, recognised as England's finest ground. The West Stand, opened in 1932 at a cost of £45,000 (equivalent to £2.66m in 2013), was designed by Claude Ferrier and William Binnie.
 
Ferrier and Binnie were advocates of the modish Art Deco movement. In this respect, fortune treated Arsenal kindly. Not all architectural styles date well, but Art Deco has aged gracefully and become seen as symbolic of a hopeful, forward-looking age before the Second World War. Even when it fell out of fashion, it tied in well with Arsenal's intended image of grandeur and importance.
 

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Only realise now how lucky I was that my first ever Premier League match was at Highbury, taken by a season ticket holder during my first visit to London. Thank you Barrie! :-)