Headingley Stadium has been at the heart of Leeds’ sporting heritage for many years. It is the home of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, as well as the Leeds Rhinos rugby league and Leeds Tykes rugby union clubs.
The stadium dates back to the late 19th century, when Leeds St Johns moved to the site. The team, which is now known as Leeds Rhinos, decided that a purpose-built facility was needed to house future sporting matches and give a place where fans could gather to support their favourite side.
Before the stadium was built, the sports ground brought together tennis courts, a bowling green, as well as cycling and athletics tracks. But the growing needs of sporting spectators meant this was no longer sufficient.
Several changes have been made to Headingley Stadium over the years to make the facility more fit for purpose. The South Stand was constructed in 1931, and many of the club’s players got involved in building it.
A new North Stand was put in place the following year after the original structure burned down during a match between Leeds and Halifax.
The 1960s were a real turning point for Headingley Stadium, as new technology was introduced to improve play conditions. Undersoil heating was installed in 1963, followed by state of the art floodlights three years later.
Headingley Stadium is no stranger to renovations and there are plenty more on the cards. Plans are in place for the venue to welcome a brand new cantilever roof, which will extend from the side of the Carnegie Pavilion to where the existing scoreboard stands.
Another cantilever roof is planned for the White Rose Stand, which is found on the western side of the sports ground.
The beginning of the 1990s also marked a period of change for Headingley Stadium. Many existing facilities were upgraded, including the changing rooms, and a new banqueting area was opened in the newly constructed Pavilion. Meanwhile, the paddock area towards the middle of the venue was introduced to provide seating for corporate members and guests.
The Carnegie Stand was constructed in 2006 as a replacement for the existing eastern terrace. This offered brand new facilities for the venue that were previously more difficult to access at the rear of the stands that were previously in place.
The Carnegie Stand was developed in conjunction with Leeds Metropolitan University, providing the university’s Carnegie campus a permanent base inside the stadium. It brings together 12 classrooms, while tripling the number of disabled spaces that are currently on offer at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
Headingley Stadium remains well known for many historical moments. It played host to the first ever Challenge Cup for the rugby league back in 1897 and was where Geoff Boycott’s made his hundredth hundred Australia in 1977.
In the present day, Headingley cricket ground adjoins the rugby stadium, with both sites sharing a main stand. Headingley Stadium has been hosting test cricket matches since 1889 and is capable of holding up to 14,000 people. It still hosts many local matches, but has also hosted international fixtures.