Wembley-White City-1908. The Great Olympic Games

Olympic Games 1908 Badge - image

Courtesy of ASA Swimming Times 1948

The great 1908 Olympic Games in White City London were held in the gigantic stadium seating 367,000 people.

Lord Desborough overlooked the construction of this mighty stadium set within forty acres of open space.

The mammoth stadium emulated the Pantheonaic Stadium built on the banks of the Illissus in Athens three hundred years before Christ. The formidable enterprise resembled the magnificent amphitheatre, that was completed by Herodes Atticus. 

Swimming tank WC

The Swimming Tank with Diving Boards up to 10M

Every sport was catered for in the vast arena including the swimming and diving contests.
The battles were fought in a swimming tank 110 feet long with a deepened centre for the high diving. The 3 metre springboard Olympic title went to A Zurner of Germany and the Plain Diving title was awarded to G Sheldo of the USA.

Ladies race

No Ladies during this time! Two swimming GOLDS for Great Britain went to H. Taylor for the 440 metres freestyle, and F. Holman for the 200 metres backstroke.



Pathe Olympics 1908

See the tank pool in action with water polo and the “dash.” fro 03.53mins/secs into clip.


Enjoy this video clip to the left.  The 1908 scene of general sports. See the pool in action with Water Polo 03.53 mins/secs into clip and the 50 metre dash 04.34 mins into the clip.



OUTCOME: The swimming tank would be filled in. White City Stadium was used for a meetings and training venue until 1922 . The stadium became famous for Greyhound racing, and later would experience great athletes, performing to the highest acclaims and breaking and making new world records beyond their wildest dreams.

The 1908 Olympic Stadium White City site

The 1908 Olympic Stadium White City site

It was demolished in 1985 and the whole area rebuilt as BBC Television Centre, White City today. Surrounded by Dorando Close West & South leading to S Africa and Australia Close – Wood Lane East – Westway North.




Television Centre moved to W1A 2013.  One or two of the buildings remain as a media leasing facility,  but a phased housing development is progressing over the site.