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CARDIFF ARMS PARK GREYHOUND STADIUM SUMMARY

ADDRESS———————————–

Cardiff Arms Park
Cardiff
South Wales.

POSTCODE————————————CF10 1JA

LOCATED————————————–North of the city on the northern banks of the River Taff.

ORIGINAL SITE——————————-Marshland at the rear of the Cardiff Arms Public House.

DATE CONSTRUCTED———————-First sporting activities took place around the late 1840’s, mainly cricket.

DATE VENUE OPENED———————Continued as a sporting venue throughout the latter 1800’s hosting various sports.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.

FIRST MEETING——————————May 26th 1928.
Greyhound Racing only.

LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT————NGRC.
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.
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————————————525 yards.
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.

CIRCUMFERENCE—————————Dont know.
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 Welsh Greyhound Derby first staged in 1945. The Welsh Oaks and the Welsh St Leger.

STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Rugby Union.

LAST MEETING——————————-July 30th 1977.
Greyhound Racing only.

STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-Around 1997.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.

STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-Around 1997.

BUILT ON SITE——————————-Millennium 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——————–None

Early years for greyhound racing at The Arms Park, the track and its lighting are just about visible.
This image dates from 1935. Although very faint the track lights are there.
This racecard is dated June 1967.
This ad from a mid 1970’s Greyhound Monthly magazine.
These two mid 1970’s views shows the track shortly before its removal.
Greyhounds in full  flight in front of a very impressive crowd.
The late 70’s transformation begins to take place soon to engulf the greyhound track.
The Millennium Stadium as we know it leaves no evidence of greyhound racing.

It’s hard to accept in the modern day that one of the most famous rugby stadiums in the world attracted vast crowds not just to watch Rugby, but also to watch Greyhound Racing too. Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium was that stadium, known at the time as Cardiff Arms Park, a venue that would attract some of the top greyhounds throughout Britain during its time. The original site of Cardiff Arms Park had been nothing more than a swampy meadow situated behind the Cardiff Arms Public House, an area that was once owned by The Lord of Bute. He stated that the ground could only be used for recreational purposes, so in 1845 local enthusiasts began to develop the land in to a cricket ground. It wasn’t until 1876 that Cardiff Rugby Club began to play home matches there, and became so popular that grandstands became erected on the site. Built on the banks of the River Taff, the site was originally known as Little Park, hosting Wales’s first international match against Ireland in 1884. In 1922 Lord Bute sold the land to The Welsh Rugby Union and Athletics Club, but as the 1920’s were drawing to a close, the club had found themselves in serious financial trouble. In the district of Grangetown, less than a mile away from The Arms Park, the Cardiff White City Stadium had introduced Greyhound Racing on the Easter Monday of 1928, attracting a crowd of over 25,000. The thought of the financial rewards that Greyhound Racing would bring to The Arms Park looked likely to be the answer to keep the stadium alive, and within seven weeks, 5,000 people attended The Arms Park’s first ever meeting on the 26th of May 1928. The new sport had seen attendances and income boom, even with both tracks operating two meetings per week, proving that Greyhound Racing had won the hearts of the Welsh people. The success had given the Cardiff Arms Park management new ideas, and by November 1932 had opened a sister track in Newport, fifteen miles away. Both tracks operated under NGRC rules, and by 1937 The Arms Park Greyhound Racing Company had signed a fifty year lease with the Athletics Club, the owners of the stadium. Competition was strong between the two Cardiff greyhound tracks, with The White City track having the slight advantage by hosting The Welsh Greyhound Derby annually. But by 1938 things were about to change as The White City track closed, leaving The Arms Park as the top greyhound track in Wales. The closure of The White City venue left a gap in the Greyhound Racing calendar, and it came as no surprise when The Welsh Derby was transferred to The Arms Park, a competition that would be staged there for the first time in 1945. Greyhound Racing at The Arms Park consisted of six dog racing over a distance of 525 yards, with the dogs chasing an outside Sumner type hare. The Arms Park had also been known worldwide for hosting many other sports, not only staging International football matches for Wales, but becoming host to The Commonwealth Games in 1958, and also a period during the early Millennium, when it hosted a number of English FA Cup Finals. But by the mid 1970’s the future of Greyhound Racing lay in doubt, even with ten years still to run on the lease. In 1977, the council submitted plans to totally refurbish the stadium, with the Rugby Club being its main concern, the venue needed to increase its standing room to raise the venue’s crowd capacity. The plans submitted would include the removal of the greyhound track, a move which would certainly see the end of Greyhound Racing at the stadium. Sadly, those plans were given the go ahead and unfortunately Cardiff Arms Park staged its final meeting on the 30th of July 1977, with 1,128 racegoers witnessing Lilyput Queen win the final event. Today, the stadium is totally different from those days of Greyhound Racing, and is now known as The Millennium Stadium, a state of the art venue that boasts a retractable roof amongst other modern gadgets, and is more known worldwide for being a fortress in Rugby Union.