ISLINGTON 100: Celebrating 100 years of Arsenal in north London

Arsenal History Society is part of the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association and together we put a proposal to Arsenal FC to work to commemorate the move to Islington – and the events of 1912 and 1913. 

Although Arsenal FC were very positive indeed in terms of our suggestion for a statue of Herbert Chapman at the Emirates, they have not responded to our suggestions on ISLINGTON 100 so we thought that it would be a good idea to make them public.

Here’s the first part…

  1.  At the heart of the Celebration of the move to Islington we envisage an exhibition within the Emirates, which visitors can see as part of the stadium tour.  We imagine the exhibition as running at least through the summer of 2013, although perhaps for longer, centred on club level.

At the centre of the exhibition there would be a Highbury time line, recording all the major events from February 1913 on to the last match at Highbury and then on to the Emirates.  The development of the ground, crowd levels, famous games, great players, the ground in wartime, etc.

Around this significant display there would be a series consisting of large scale blow ups of photographs, taking us from the Manor Ground, Plumstead, through the building work at Highbury (there is one picture we have showing the ground as a building site just a couple of days before the first game) and then on to the development of Highbury over the years.  The pictures would show both the changes in the ground, as the various stands were built, and famous moments on the pitch, ending of course with illustrations from the final farewell, and the start of a new home at the Emirates.

The exhibition could also include smaller scale items of the type that one will find in the Club Museum, but this will not be the Museum moved for a while to a new location.  We envisage maybe 50 or even 100 large boards which are perhaps 8 feet by 6 feet containing blow ups of photos, newspaper reports etc.   These are items that can be seen from across the room – items which make a huge impact on the visitor who will take some time to walk past all of them, taking in the visual history of Highbury.

We also envisage an Exhibition Catalogue, reproducing all the displays in miniature, incorporating perhaps a reproduction of the first and last programme from the ground, and giving details of what each display is about.  This Catalogue would obviously be something that is sold, and would be a very significant memento of the Celebration.

Of course such an event is a matter for Arsenal FC, but AISA Arsenal History Society would welcome an involvement.  We have already located a number of pictures from the early moments of the club at Highbury, and we would of course wish to suggest which pictures and newspaper cuttings might be considered, and we would welcome the opportunity to be involved in writing the catalogue.

This then is our centrepiece for 2013.  An exhibition which is announced perhaps in February 2013, and which is opened (if possible) before the end of the season, and which closes (if possible) after the start of the 2013/14 season.  But which at the very least runs through the summer of 2013.


As noted above Arsenal FC have not responded to this idea – but if you think it is interesting, you can of course write to the club to let them know.

Meanwhile you can read the full story of the move to Islington in “Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football”

You can also see some of the main events in relation to our move to north London in the Anniversary chart on this site.




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