The Ages of Wembley is the first exhibition to be shown at Getty Images Gallery in Wembley Park
PUBLISHED: 13:55 26 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:02 27 June 2019
2019 Getty Images
A visit from the Queen’s grandparents and the construction of Wembley Stadium are among events in the frame at a new photo exhibition in Wembley Park.
The Ages of Wembley opens at the newly formed Getty Images Gallery on June 28.
It's the first of a year-long programme presented by the curatorial team at the gallery at its new space in Olympic Way.
The photographs show Wembley Park's rise as a world-famous leisure and entertainment district from the 1920s to the present day. Many have never been seen before.
Highlighting parallels between historic uses of the area and the enormous new developments by regeneration giant Quintain is a key aim of the show.
It is a delicate comparison as Quintain has been criticised locally in recent years for its receipt of public money to transform the pedway to the stadium; for displaying adverts over the tiled murals in the subway; for the erosion of the iconic skyline by successive developments; and for piling so many new homes into a limited space around a busy national venue.
Wembley historian and campaigner Philip Grant said: "I welcome any venture that gives residents and visitors free access to some of Wembley Park's rich heritage."
But he added: "It is a pity that Quintain seems determined to carry on covering up most of the colourful tile murals in the Bobby Moore Bridge subway showing famous sports and entertainments events with adverts, rather than putting this part of Wembley Park's heritage back on public display."
Wembley Park was developed in the 1890s as a large, popular recreational space including sports grounds, teahouses, a lake and a variety theatre.
Images come from US picture giant Getty's bank of more than 80million snaps.
They include photographs of the construction of Wembley Stadium's iconic twin towers - completed just in time to hold the 1923 FA Cup Final, which attracted the largest football crowd ever recorded at the time.
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There are several images featuring the "Empire Exhibition" from 1925, which was attended by Queen Elizabeth II's grandparents Queen Mary of Teck and King George V, and described by the British press at the time as the largest and most important exhibition since 1851 - the year the Crystal Palace opened in Hyde Park.
Photographer A H Robinson, born in 1864, mastered the art of panoramic photography using his clockwork Kodak Panorama camera.
His pictures depict the complex building work of the "Empire Exhibition" before its royal visit.
Images from the 1930s depict football fans supporting their teams making their way to Wembley Stadium, including a West Bromwich Albion FC fan waving a rattle and crowds of fans pouring into the grounds for a Cup Final.
The 1940s saw the launch of Olympic Way, from the station to the stadium, in preparation for the 1948 Summer Olympics in the capital.
The exhibition also charts the rapid recent redevelopment of the area since Quintain's arrival.
Wembley Park has been transformed through the construction of 1,750 homes, with another 5,750 on the way.
Boxpark and the London Designer Outlet, with its multi-screen cinema, shops and restaurants, are new additions, set to be joined later this year by The Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre inside the former Fountain Studios. It is touted as having a flexible capacity of 1,000 to 2,000 people.
Amie Lewis, director of Getty Images Fine Art Sales and Exhibitions, said: "The gallery will allow the public to view some never before seen images from the Getty Images Archives, celebrating the rich history of the area.
"We also look forward to working with local residents and developers to supply some unique artwork to celebrate their new living spaces."
James Saunders, Quintain's chief operating officer, said the opening of the gallery would give "a fascinating insight into the area's history and reflect on its longstanding reputation as a leading destination for sport, leisure and entertainment - a legacy that is truer now than ever before".
Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt, whose Tokyngton ward covers Wembley Park, said: "Wembley Park has always been at the heart of our community in the London Borough of Brent.
"The Ages of Wembley is a great reminder that we have always been recognised across the world as a landmark for entertainment."
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