Borough Park, Princess Street, Blackpool, Lancashire
LOCATED————————————Half a mile south east of Blackpool Tower.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Former Gasworks and coach park.
DATE CONSTRUCTED——————-1962-63, terracing constructed with 40,000 tons of rubble from the demolished Palace Theatre.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————August 31st 1963 with a Rugby League fixture between Blackpool Borough v Salford.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————-April 28th 1967.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-Independent
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——Outside Sumner nicknamed Bugsy.
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———————————–250, 422 and 593 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—————————The Blackpool Greyhound Derby.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Amateur football and Rugby League.
LAST MEETING——————————-November 28th 1997.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-November 1997.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————–A Macdonalds now covers the site were the kennels once lay, with a new car park covering the majority of the track. A Health Club and the Odeon Cinema plus the Swift Hound Public House covers the old stadiums car park.
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——————–The red bricked wall situated along Salthouse Avenue is the tracks eastern side perimeter wall.
FURTHER COMMENTS———————The Blackpool Greyhound Derby was not run in 1972, due to lack of entries.
It’s hard to believe that one of the last greyhound track to have opened in Lancashire was the one at Borough Park in Blackpool. Although an earlier track on St Annes Road had existed in the town up until 1963, its closure left a hole in Blackpool’s summer entertainment, and it wasn’t long before the gap became filled. But it was the closure of the St Annes Road venue that the birth of Borough Park came about, not for the ventures of greyhound racing but for actual rugby league.
It all began with the rugby club not having anywhere to play, but contacts within the rugby club managed to persuade the town council to build them a new home. By the summer of 1963 a brand-new purpose-built venue was being prepared, situated within the shadows of Blackpool Tower, just off Princess Street, less than 400 yards north of Bloomfield Road, the home of the town’s professional football club.
The stadium began to develop on the site of a former coach park and gas works and consisted of a new stand which housed the rugby club’s offices, the changing rooms and even a Nightclub. The main stand had an upper seated section which created an excellent panoramic view of the rugby pitch, with terracing being added a few years later and continued at a low level around all four sides of the pitch. Incidentally the contents of the terracing had included nearly 40,000 tons of rubble, obtained from the nearby demolished Palace Theatre. But it would be almost four years before greyhound racing would return back to Blackpool, after a group of enthusiasts persuaded the council and the rugby club to allow them to construct an all-grass greyhound circuit around the perimeter of Borough Park’s rugby pitch. Permission was given to construct a new kennel block behind the Tower side bend, with an agreement that greyhound racing would only be allowed to run during summer months.
Opening up as an independent track, Borough Park staged its first meeting on the 28th of April 1967, with all events being run over 480 yards, with five hounds chasing an outside Sumner type hare. But the following winter months witnessed a total restructure of the greyhound track, with bends being reshaped to a larger radius, which reduced the racing distance to just 460 yards. Through the late sixties and early seventies Blackpool Greyhound Stadium was one of the few greyhound tracks that would close through the winter period. Some of the reasons were possibly due to the circuit not having track side lighting, certainly through its early days, also the interruption of the rugby league season, the extra maintenance to the track required, for example laying straw, but more likely due to the reduced numbers through the turnstiles, as summer months attendances were boosted by holidaymakers.
Borough Parks biggest attraction was The Blackpool Greyhound Derby, raced annually in July over the 460-yard trip, and also “Bugsy” the outside hare, that became well known amongst greyhound followers of the Northwest. In time, an all-sanded circuit was laid with distances switching to metric, with the 250, 422 and 593 metre trip on offer.
While Greyhound Racing and Rugby League dominated Borough Park’s calendar, other sports were seen to use the venue, with sometimes Grid Iron Football featuring, and non-league football with Wren Rovers playing home matches there between 1988-90. But by the late 1980’s, the rugby club had folded, and the revenue generated by non-league football and greyhound racing, was clearly not enough to fight off the temptation of redevelopment.
Sadly, Borough parks final greyhound meeting came on the 28th of November 1997, which brought to a close all sporting activities at the venue. Eventually, the stadium along with its large car park disappeared before being overwhelmed by a total redevelopment of the site. Today, the present days car park covers a large area of the old track, which now serves the Odeon Cinema, the Swift Hound Public House , Frankie And Bennys and also Macdonalds, of which marks the location of were the kennel block used to be.
Nothing remains evident of the actual greyhound track at Borough Park, although the red bricked wall situated along Salthouse Avenue, acted once as its eastern boundary.