When the royal tunnel gates from the original Wembley Stadium went up for auction in November 2011, few would have predicted that the successful bid would come from a museum in Chile. But successful they were, and logistics specialist Anglo Pacific is now safely shipping the gates to Santiago.
Dating back to 1923, the timber gates took centre stage during London’s second Olympics in 1948 when the teams used them for access to the ground. Old Wembley closed in October 2000 and the iconic twin towers demolished in 2003 with the gates days away from the same fate. Fortunately registered charity the Brooking Trust was able to whisk them to safe storage at Greenwich University. Sold by Sotheby’s at auction in London, the gates achieved a figure of £5,785 – within the auctioneer’s predicted range – and were amongst nine lots that included a round window from the iconic twin towers and lights from the royal box.
Terry Horsnell, Anglo Pacific’s Fine Art Consultant, said:
For the Atlantic crossing, the gates were too large for containers so had to be packaged in timber casing, lifted with specialist equipment and shipped as conventional below-deck cargo. A shipment like this only comes four or five times a year, a recent comparable was a 16 foot high Salvador Dalí statue we transported to Singapore, and it’s great fun to fine-tune all the logistical intricacies.
The gates will form part of the Museo de la Moda’s main project, a collection of pieces related to football, tennis and other sports.