Grimsargh Street, off Acregate Lane, Preston, Lancashire.
LOCATED————————————-About one mile north east of Preston city centre, with Acregate Lane found on the north side of the A59.
ORIGINAL SITE——————————Recreational grounds and plots.
DATE CONSTRUCTED———————Began 1931
DATE VENUE OPENED——————–May 1932
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–May 5th 1932, when 7,000 patrons attended.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———–Licensed but switched to an independent track during May 1978.
All venues covered would have to be licensed with the government, licensed suggested in this section would refer to tracks operating under NGRC Rules.
INSIDE OR OUTSIDE HARE TYPE——-Inside Sumner
Please note that the Electric Hare suggested is only a guidance and would have been in operation for a certain amount of time at this venue. Although it is not necessarily guaranteed that it was operational all the time, as other types of lure may have been used and updated as time progressed.
DISTANCES———————————–255, 425 and 610 metres.
Please note that most racing venues distances had become varied throughout the years, the ones given above were at once point set and offers only a guidance to the track size.
Please note that alterations at most racing venues throughout its existence would see that the circumference of the track would vary, the one shown above offers only a guidance to the track size.
BIG RACE NAMES—————————None to mention.
STADIUM SHARED WITH—————–Nothing found
LAST MEETING——————————December 3rd 1988.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————December 1988
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————Began July 1989.
BUILT ON SITE——————————Housing now found on Canterbury Road now occupies the site of the stadium.
In some cases, structure’s that originally covered the venue after the stadium had been demolished, may have been themselves demolished too, so the one described is more likely to be the one which now presently covers the site.
EVIDENCE LEFT TODAY——————Nothing known of.
FURTHER COMMENTS——————-During March 1973 the main stand was gutted by fire with the shattered glass from the front of the stand having showered the grass running surface. Amazingly only two meetings were lost with the finishing straight being returfed.
During the Second World War American forces were stationed there.
Preston Greyhound Stadium was situated in the district of Ribbleton, one mile south west of Preston town centre, just set back from the busy A59 Preston – Blackburn main road. Although the tracks postal address became known as Acregate Lane, the actual street that lead you to the tracks offices, was down the short lengthened Grimsargh Street. The less regular visitor to the Preston venue may have found it difficult to find, but a large mural spanning the gable end of the terraced houses, reading “GREYHOUND STADIUM” dissected by a huge green arrow, was meant to point you in the right direction.
The construction of the Preston Greyhound Stadium began during 1931, on the site of some disused recreation land and abandoned garden allotments, ready in time to stage its opening meeting on the 5th of May 1932. Almost 7,000 racegoers witnessed Quaker Prince win the first event over 527 yards, with the meeting being run under NGRC Rules, a status that would remain with the venue for almost the next fifty years.
The early success at Preston had seen the greyhound company open a sister track the following year at Vernon Gate in Derby, again operating under the NGRC banner. Crowds flocked to meetings during the 1930’s, but its Boxing Day meeting turned out to be something of a special annual occasion, attracting enough racegoers to pack the stadium to its limits. Racing ceased on the outbreak of the Second World War, but unlike other greyhound tracks, the sport did not return after the short ban had been lifted, as the stadium had been requisitioned by the War Office as a basecamp for American soldiers.
In 1973 the main stand suffered significant damage during a blaze, which forced racing to cease immediately. The incident also badly damaged the circuit, with the start and finish straight littered with broken glass and debris. Yet within a week the damaged section had been totally returfed, along with other immediate structural repairs, and amazingly the track was back in action once more with fire interruption only sacrificing two meetings.
In 1978 the track was sold to a property developer who in turn leased the track to a new management team, whose ideas were to switch to independent racing. The new management had ambitious ideas, with a view of attracting the best greyhound’s from around the UK, with one top event in mind, The Preston Greyhound Derby, an event that offer over five thousand pounds in prize money in 1982 alone.
Regular meetings were run with five dog races over distances of 255, 425 and 610 metres with the hounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare. But the latter end of the 1980’s witnessed a downturn at Preston Greyhound Stadium, as by now the stadium was falling way short of the new Sports Stadium’s Regulations that had been introduced, which meant the stadiums owners was facing a massive bill to resurrect the place, along with the spiralling costs of running the stadium on attendance figures that was on a notable decline. The costs involved to resurrecting the stadium was realised by the track’s promoter, who agreed to sell back the lease to the stadium’s owner, just to concentrate on running another greyhound track twenty miles away in Blackpool.
With the future of greyhound racing at Preston looking gloomy, it was time for the stadium’s owner, a developer, to cash in by selling the site for redevelopment. Preston Greyhound Stadium staged its final meeting on the 3rd of December 1988, oddly enough just a few days prior to the closure of its once sister track at Derby. Demolition work began the following July, and soon the construction of new housing began to cover its foundations.
Today all traces of the stadium have vanished, even the huge mural that once overshadowed Grimsargh Street has now been painted over, with the site now occupied by dwellings on Canterbury Road.
A programme, photograph or even memorabilia for this track is required for this page, if you can help please contact me.