ISLINGTON 100: Send me your memories of Highbury

By Tony Attwood

A couple of years back I mentioned to Ivan Gazidis the idea that Arsenal might collect the memories of fans who have been to watch matches over the years.  He was enthusiastic, but unfortunately it is one of those things that has never been able to get off the ground.

The idea was simple: a small group of volunteers would stand, armed with recording devices, at pre-arranged spots before a match, and anyone who wanted to tell us their story of Arsenal could do so.

We’d then need an army of people to transcribe the recordings, and this is where the notion fell down – we needed the club to organise this bit, and it didn’t happen.  But I’d still very much like to bring it back to the club as a project.

Which is why the idea of the recordings were revitalised when the AISA Arsenal History Society put its plans to the club for the celebration of 100 years at Highbury under the “ISLINGTON 100” banner.

The Arsenal History blog already contains a number of articles by fans recording their first visit to Arsenal – which was invariably at Highbury – and indeed if you would like to contribute to this, you’d be very welcome.  Just send your remembrances as a Word or similar text document to   There’s a link to the existing memories series below.

But for ISLINGTON 100 we wanted to go further and do the recordings as well – which is the part of the process the Society doesn’t have the resources to handle on its own.

If we ever could go beyond the written memories of Highbury then the resultant collection of stories would be invaluable.   Indeed we also suggested to the club in our ISLINGTON 100 submission that some of the statements that resulted from the stories we collected might be used within the Exhibition.

Also, it is not inconceivable that a book “Memories of Arsenal in Islington” could result.   This might come not only from Arsenal fans, but also a few players who might be willing to be interviewed for a few moments on the subject.

Unfortunately as I have mentioned before, Arsenal have not come back to us on this – so the oral collection is on hold.  But the collection housed on this site is still here, and we’d like to make it grow.   Any Highbury memories are welcome – and the piece you send can be short or long.  Just email it to me at the above address.

First Timers: The first time I saw Arsenal

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football

Anniversary chart


Islington 100

1: Launching Islington 100 – 100 years of football in north London

2:  Remembering Lt Colonel Sir Henry Norris the man who rescued Arsenal in 1910, built Highbury in 1913, and brought in Herbert Chapman as manager.

3: Proposals for a major exhibition to celebrate 100 years of Arsenal in Islington at the Emirates Stadium.

4: The commemoration of the men who moved the Arsenal: Jack Humble, William Hall, Henry Norris

5: Celebrating Arsenal’s 100 years at the club’s AGM


4 Replies to “ISLINGTON 100: Send me your memories of Highbury”

  1. During WW2, Highbury was taken over as a Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Centre so all Arsenal home matches were played at White Hart Lane.
    My first visit to Highbury took place on the 14th February 1948, while on honeymoon. Arsenal were on their way to the Division 1 Championship and were playing second place Burnley.
    Such was the following of Arsenal that 62,000 were inside the stadium, with a further estimated 20,000 outside trying to get in.
    Some months earlier, my bride to be had written a heart-felt letter to Tom Whittaker pleading for tickets as a honeymoon gift for her husband-to-be.
    Armed with two seats in the East Stand (Avenell Road) @52p each,we arrived at the ground, only to find it impossible to gain entrance due to the heaving mass outside.
    Luckily I had the sense to seek the help of a police officer, who in turn got us to follow a colleague on a massive white horse, across the lines of the waiting crowds.
    The game was won by Arsenal 3-0 who went on to take the title.

  2. Dear tony
    My grandfather played a charity match at highbury in 1922 for the northern section of them RMT union against the southern sections I have the ticket and the winners medal which is gold do u know anything about this game

  3. David, I don’t know any specific details. I do know that Highbury was used for quite a few of these sorts of matches. Can you let me know the date and I will see if I can dig up anything about the game.

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