Born in Glasgow in 1865, Archibald Leitch was a celebrated architect and engineer acclaimed as ‘the world’s first ever specialist designer of football grounds’.
Contracted to design Boro’s new Ayresome Park, ‘Engineering Archie’ was responsible for a number of iconic football grounds throughout Britain including Arsenal’s former Highbury home, Glasgow Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium and Manchester United’s Old Trafford.
The plans featured in Art of Ayresome from the collections of Teesside Archives provide a unique perspective on Boro’s bold move to a new home on the Ayresome Estate in 1903. The new stadium, which hosted its first league match in September of that year when Boro faced Sunderland in the Tees-Wear derby, was a vast improvement on the facilities at the club’s former Linthorpe Road Ground, most notably through the new archetypal Leitch grand stand. Not all of the ‘new’ Ayresome Park represented a departure from the past however, as the old grand stand from Linthorpe Road was relocated to Ayresome Park as the stadium’s South Stand.