London’s iconic Olympic Way, also known as Wembley Way, has been given a historical makeover with the restoration and unveiling of the original commemorative plaque from the opening of the walkway in 1948.
The plaque, marking the start of the 1948 Olympic Games, was in a state of disrepair until it was restored by stone carver Louis Russell with the support of the British Olympic Association, World Olympians Association, sports journalist and author Mike Collett, and the Wembley History Society.
The restoration project was commissioned and funded by Quintain as part of the redevelopment of Olympic Way, which has included the widening of the walkway, new paving and illumination, new restaurants and attractions such as BOXPARK Wembley, and an award-winning tree planting strategy. The newly restored plaque is located in its original position on Olympic Way, which was renamed from Kingsway in 1948.
In addition to the 1948 plaque, a new Portland Stone plaque was unveiled on Olympic Way as part of the same ceremony on April 19th. The new plaque, positioned on a plinth in front of the National Stadium, signifies and celebrates the conclusion of the Olympic Steps and Olympic Way renovation works in 2021.
The Olympic Steps replaced the steep concrete ramps known as the “Pedway” and are equipped with four new high-capacity lifts, each providing space for three wheelchair users and their carers.
Margaret Winter (née Steedman), daughter of the Borough Engineer Walter Steedman who was responsible in 1948 for the construction of Olympic Way, was in attendance at the unveiling ceremony, along with local dignitaries and members of the community. “It is an important historical artefact that has been carefully restored for future generations to appreciate and enjoy,” said sports journalist and author Mike Collett, who collaborated on the restoration project.
James Saunders, CEO of Quintain, said, “We are incredibly proud to have played a part in restoring this important piece of history to Olympic Way. It’s a great reminder of the iconic sporting events that have taken place at Wembley over the years, and we’re delighted that visitors can now enjoy it once again.”