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Stamford Bridge was designed by Archibald Leitch and initially included a 120 yard long stand on the East side which could hold 5000 spectators. The other sides were all open in a vast bowl with thousands of tons of material excavated from the building of the underground railway provided high terracing on the West side. The capacity was originally planned to be 100,000 and was the second largest in country behind Crystal Palace - the FA Cup final venue. The name Stamford Bridge comes from even further back in history than the stadium itself and is almost arrived through by chance. This 18th century map shows a stream called 'Stanford Creek' which runs along the route of the present day railway line behind the East Stand and flows into the Thames.
The 'Shed End' a bank of terracing behind the south gaol was erected in 1930. It became synonymous with large vocal support. The name came 'shed' came from the rather inadequate shelter that it provided. A victim of the Taylor Report, it was demolished in 1994 and replaced with the new Shed End seated stand in 1997.
In 1973 the East Stand built was built, still one of the most striking stands in the country there's little doubt it was ahead of it's time. The only part of the current stadium that survived the mass rebuilding of the 1990's it has though undergone extensive refurbishment and refitting.
The rebuilding of Stamford Bridge from the ashes began with the redevelopment of the North Stand area. The old banked terrace that in recent times had housed the away fans was demolished and the new stand began to rise. Renamed to the Matthew Harding Stand after the untimely death of a man who bled the blue of Chelsea and perished in a helicopter accident after a trip to an away game to Bolton. The old Shed terrace was replaced with temporary seating for a couple of years before work began on the new Shed End and at the same time the Chelsea Village Hotel which would be the centre piece of the massive Chelsea Village development being built at the same time.
In August 2001, the 13,500 seater West Stand was opened and marked the full redevelopment of Stamford Bridge. The current capacity stands at 42,449 and the ground has gone from being a huge oval shape to 4 sides close to the pitch.