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Drum Road, Birtley, Nr Chester-le Street, County Durham.

POSTCODE———————————–DH3 2AF

LOCATED————————————-Roughly one mile north of Chester le Street just off the A167 Birtley Road.

ORIGINAL SITE——————————Mainly marshland along side of a busy railway line and a vast pond.

DATE CONSTRUCTED———————Mid 1940’s.

DATE VENUE OPENED——————–Early 1947.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.

FIRST MEETING——————————Late 1946 / Early 1947. (Evidence of racing 11 Jan 1947)
Greyhound Racing only.

LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———–After being independent from the beginning, the venue switched codes on the 25th August 2005.
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——-Once inside now outside McGee.
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————————————245, 435, 590, 780 and 955 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.

CIRCUMFERENCE—————————-Not known.
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—————————-Newcastle Rose Bowl, The Whitefield Oaks.

STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Nothing known of.

LAST MEETING——————————-Still in operation as a Greyhound Racing venue.
Greyhound Racing only.

STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-Not applicable.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.

STADIUM DEMOLITION——————–Not applicable.

BUILT ON SITE——————————–Still there.
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——————–Greyhound racing still continues today.

FURTHER COMMENTS———————None as yet.

A race card dated May 1950.
This image printed in The Greyhound Star of December 1991.
This race card dated August 1997.
An image from 1998, showing the winning greyhound and its owner being presented with the Joe McKenna Memorial Trophy.
A advert from a 1999 Greyhound Monthly.
Three images of Pelaw dated around 2013.
Photo courtesy of The Greyhound Star.
The venue as it is today. Courtesy of Google Earth.

Heading south along the A167, away from Newcastle keeping west of the A1, is the district of Birtley, a parish located just north of Chester Le Street in County Durham. It is in this vicinity that you will find the NGRC venue of Pelaw Grange Greyhound Stadium, situated just off Drum Road.

The name Pelaw Grange derives from an old mansion that once lay inhabited close by, with the track developing on marshland adjacent to a busy railway line during 1944. It is not clear when it ran its first official meeting, but it began operations as a flapping track late 1946 or early 1947 as we have evidence of racing on January 11th, 1947. An early greyhound race card indicates that it ran six dog races over distances of 400 yards, proving that it was a very small track indeed, more down to the fact that it had limited space, due to it being hemmed in by a coming together of railway lines. As time moved on, the branch lines close by became removed, giving the opportunity for the track to expand.

In 1965 the stadium was purchased by the Mckenna family, the same family who still runs the Greyhound Racing business today fifty years on. It has been during those fifty years that the track has developed so much from its early days, seeing the track circumference increased to 345 metres, with one of their investments witnessing the installation of an inside Sumner type hare during the 1960’s, which lasted for almost forty years, before being replaced by the more modern outside Swaffham type. The 1980’s saw the all sanded track replacing the old turf type, but substantial changes came during 2005, when after almost 60 years of independent racing, the track switched to operate under NGRC rules. Its first meeting under rules came on the 25th of August 2005, and became the third track in the north east to join the set up, although operating in the shadows of the big guns of Newcastle and Sunderland.

The Mckenna family have also introduced attractive events such as the Newcastle Rose Bowl and the Whitfield Oaks, along with many others. Today with the stadium looking very smart indeed, I would expect Pelaw to be in healthy situation with a bright future ahead, still offering six dog races over distances of 245, 435, 590, 790 and 955 metres.

Memorabilia for this track is required for this page, if you can help please contact me.