- Arthur Elvin
Sir Arthur Elvin MBE (born 5 July 1899
Norwich, EnglandJacobs, N & Lipscombe, P (2005). "Wembley Speedway : The Pre-War Years". Stroud: Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3750-X] - 4 Februray 1957) left school at the age of fourteen. After a few different jobs joined the Royal Flying Corpsduring the First World War. Elvin was shot down over France and was a prisoner of warfor two years.
In 1924 He was working at the
British Empire Exhibitionat Wembleyin a cigarette kiosk. The following year he decided to buy his own shops within the grounds, eight for a total of £100. By the end of the Exhibition he had made over £1000 profit from his shops.
At the end of the exhibition a buildings entrepreneur bought the grounds and Elvin became a buildings demolition contractor to clear the site. He bought the derelict buildings one by one and sold off the scrap. Wembley Stadium went into liquidation at the end of the Exhibition after it was pronounced "financially unviable".cite news|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2006/mar/14/architecture.communities|title=The height of ambition|last=de Lisle|first=Tim|date=2006-03-14|publisher=
The Guardian|accessdate=2008-09-29] Elvin offered to buy the stadium for £127,000, using a £12,000 downpayment and the balance plus interest payable over ten years.Jacobs, N & Lipscombe, P (2005). "Wembley Speedway : The Pre-War Years". Stroud: Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3750-X]
After complications following the death of the original owner, Elvin bought Wembley Stadium at the agreed price with the new owners, (Wembley Company) who honoured Elvin's original deal. They then immediately bought it back from Elvin leaving him with a healthy profit. Instead of cash he received shares which gave him the largest stake in Wembley Stadium and he became chairman.Jacobs, N & Lipscombe, P (2005). "Wembley Speedway : The Pre-War Years". Stroud: Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3750-X]
In 1934 Elvin opened the doors to a new indoor multi-purpose sports arena alongside the main stadium at Wembley. The Empire Pool and Sports Arena was built for the
1934 British Empire Games. It was later renamed the Wembley Arena Greyhound racing
The first sport Elvin introduced to the stadium was greyhound racing. The opening meeting was in 1927 and 50,000 people attended to watch the first race won by a greyhound named Spin.cite web|url=http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/magnificent-monument-to-vision-of-one-man-637502.html|title=Magnificent monument to vision of one man|last=Harris|first=Neil|date=2000-10-06|publisher=
The Independant|accessdate=2008-09-29] The dog racing provided the stadium with its main source of regular income, especially in the early days, and continued to attract crowds of several thousand up until the early 1960s.
In 1929 Elvin decided he wanted to operate a speedway team from the stadium. With the help of speedway promoter
Johnnie Hoskins, he constructed a speedway track at a cost of £250,000. Elvin announced that the Wembley Lions would enter the new Southern League. The Speedway World Championshipwas held at Wembley Stadium from 1936 until 1960 and then seven times more afterwards.Jacobs, N & Lipscombe, P (2005). "Wembley Speedway : The Pre-War Years". Stroud: Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3750-X]
The stadium saw a crowd of 85,000 for the 1937 Speedway World Championship. For one Lions' league meeting in 1948, against the
West Ham Hammers, it witnessed a crowd of 85,000 inside and another 20,000 outside unable to get in.cite web|url=http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/magnificent-monument-to-vision-of-one-man-637502.html|title=Magnificent monument to vision of one man|last=Harris|first=Neil|date=2000-10-06|publisher= The Independant|accessdate=2008-09-29] Ice Hockey
The Empire Pool and Sports Arena was housed two teams, the
Wembley Canadians(later called the Wembley Monarchs), and the Wembley Lions. In 1990 he was inducted into the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.cite web|url=http://www.ihjuk.co.uk/hall_of_fame/elvin.htm|title=Sir Arthur Elvin MBE|publisher=Ice Hockey Journalist UK|accessdate=2008-09-29]
Arthur Elvin was made a
Member of the British Empirein 1945 and received his knighthoodfrom King George VIin 1947 for the efforts in staging the 1948 Olympic Games.
* [http://www.ihjuk.co.uk/hall_of_fame/elvin.htm Ice Hockey Journalist UK - Hall of Fame - Sir Arthur Elvin]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2006/mar/14/architecture.communities The height of ambition]
* [http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/magnificent-monument-to-vision-of-one-man-637502.html Magnificent monument to vision of one man]
* [http://www.motorcycle-uk.com/vsm/wembley.html Extract from Vintage Speedway Magazine - Wembley The Last Amen]
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