Archibald Keir "Archie" Leitch (27 April 1865 – 25 April 1939) was a
Scottish architect, most famous for his work designing football
stadiums throughout Britain and Ireland.
1 Early work
4 Further reading
5 External links
Born in Glasgow, Archibald Keir Leitch's early work was on designing
tea factories in
Deltota in the former Kandyan Kingdom of Ceylon, as
well as factories in his home city and in Lanarkshire with the sole
surviving example of which being the category A listed Sentinel Works
at Jessie Street, Polmadie, just south of
Glasgow city centre. In 1896
he became a member of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in
Scotland, and later of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He
moved into stadium design when he was commissioned to build Ibrox
Park, the new home ground of his boyhood heroes Rangers, in 1899.
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Leitch's stadiums were initially considered functional rather than
aesthetically elegant, and were clearly influenced by his early work
on industrial buildings. Typically, his stands had two tiers, with
criss-crossed steel balustrades at the front of the upper tier, and
were covered by a series of pitched roofs, built so that their ends
faced onto the playing field; the central roof span would be
distinctly larger, and would incorporate a distinctive pediment.
His first project in England was the design and building of the John
Street Stand at Bramall Lane, which provided 3,000 seats and terracing
for 6,000 and was dominated by a large mock-Tudor press box.
The double-decker 1926 Bullens Road Stand at
Goodison Park home of
The Johnny Haynes stand at Craven Cottage, home of
The concrete Midland Road stand for
Bradford City Football Club
nearing completion in 1908.
The Bill Struth Main Stand at Ibrox, home of Rangers Football Club.
Even after the Ibrox disaster of 1902, when 26 people were killed when
a bank of wooden terracing collapsed, Leitch was still in demand.
Over the next four decades he became Britain's foremost football
architect. In total he was commissioned to design part or all of more
than 20 stadiums in the UK and
Ireland between 1899 and 1939,
Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, London
Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Craven Cottage, Fulham, London
Dalymount Park, Dublin
The Old Den, New Cross, London
Dens Park, Dundee
The Dell, Southampton
Ewood Park, Blackburn
The Double Decker stand (The Kop), Filbert Street, Leicester
Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Goodison Park, Liverpool
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Home Park, Plymouth
Hyde Road Football Stadium,
Manchester (General ground improvements
1911-1914 and was planning a complete rebuild of the ground to
accommodate 100,000 but war broke out, bringing a halt to those plans)
Ibrox Park, Glasgow
Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Leeds Road, Huddersfield
Old Trafford, Trafford, Greater Manchester
Park Avenue, Bradford
Roker Park, Sunderland
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
Selhurst Park, South Norwood, London
Somerset Park, Ayr
Stamford Bridge, Walham Green,
Starks Park, Kirkcaldy
Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London
Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh
Bradford (Midland Road stand and other extensions)
Villa Park, Birmingham
West Ham Stadium, Custom House, London
White Hart Lane, Tottenham, London
Windsor Park, Belfast
Many of his works have since been demolished for redevelopment
(especially in wake of the
Taylor Report and the move to all-seater
stadiums), most notably the Trinity Road Stand at Villa Park,
considered his masterpiece, which was demolished in 2000. The main
stand and pavilion at
Craven Cottage and the facade of the main stand
at Ibrox (although the stand itself has been remodelled) still survive
to this day; they are now listed buildings, as was the Leitch-designed
main stand at Heart of Midlothian's Tynecastle Park, however in 2016
permission was granted for that structure to be demolished and
^ "The chronicles of Archibald Keir Leitch: Remembering Britain's
legendary football architect".
^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects - DSA
Architect Biography Report
(November 7, 2015, 2:04 pm)". scottisharchitects.org.uk.
^ "Reinforced Concrete Football Stand at Bradford", Concrete and
Constructional Engineering, Vol. V., No. 1, January 1910, pp. 16-22.
^ Sheils, Robert (November 1998). "The fatalities at the Ibrox
disaster of 1902" (PDF). The Sports Historian. British Society of
Sports History. 18 (2): 148–155.
^ "A Place In History".
Fulham F.C. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 30 October
^ Athletic News, 9 June 1913.
Archibald Leitch – 'Engineering Archie': The Designer of Ibrox".
Gersnet, the Rangers Archive. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
^ Inglis, Simon (14 May 2000). "Last rites for the holy Trinity". The
Observer. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
^ Anderson, Barry (15 November 2016). "Hearts ready go to work on
Tynecastle's new main stand".
Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 30
Tynecastle Park reinstated". Heart of Midlothian FC. 28 April 2017.
Retrieved 30 October 2017.
Inglis, Simon (2005). Engineering Archie: Archibald Kier Leitch -The
first ever Steal Tea
Factory in hill country of Kandyan Kingdom
Deltota Great Vally Estate was Designed by Archibald
Keir Leitch, Football Ground Designer. English Heritage.
ISBN 1-85074-918-3. * Whitehead, Richard (18 April 2005).
"Man who built his place in history". London: The Times.
Oxford University Press Biography
Glasgow - All round the city Features architectural elevations
of all Leitch's stadiums in Glasgow.