First Drove, Fengate, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
LOCATED————————————About one mile east of Peterborough town centre, in the district of Fengate.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–A grazing meadow next to a Water Board pumping station.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-October 1931.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–October 3rd 1931.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-Independent originally now NGRC since 1983.
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 Swaffham 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———————————–235, 435, 605, 790 and 975 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 Peterborough Derby.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Stock Cars during the 1950’s.
LAST MEETING——————————-Saturday March 21st 2020.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-May 2020.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————–N/A
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——————–N/A
One of the more well run Greyhound Racing venues that closed recently is the one found in the Cambridgeshire town of Peterborough, known as the Fengate Greyhound Stadium. The venue was located one mile east of Peterborough’s town centre in a district known as, not surprisingly Fengate, its presence flourishing as an NGRC licensed track.
Early links regarding dog racing at Peterborough began during April 1931, at another venue close by known as the Star Road Greyhound Track. Star Road’s brief appearance as a greyhound racing venue lasted no more than six months before racing was switched to the Fengate venue at the end of September 1931.
Construction on the new venue had taken place on drained marshland yet was eventually ready to stage its inaugural meeting on the 3rd of October 1931. The first meeting consisted of eight events, which included a couple of whippet races, but it was a greyhound named Tipp that would make a name for himself by becoming the first ever winner at the track.
Up, to and throughout the Second World War, the stadium’s appearance was very primitive indeed, even the lure was pulled round the track by two men pedalling furiously on a bicycle operated winch. In 1945 the site was sold to two businessmen, one called Reg Perkins and the other George Ellingworth, both men were dedicated Greyhound Racing enthusiasts, who were prepared to invest heavily and transform the venue from a basic track into a more recognised enclosed stadium.
The venue was now known as The Bishops Road Sports Stadium, and by the mid 1950’s the stadium had clearly established itself as an impressive Greyhound Racing venue, but not only that, it had become a motor sports venue too, with the occasional Stock Car Racing meeting taking place. Considerable changes to the racing circuit took place during May 1969, the main reason was the installation of a new outside Sumner type hare, with racing distances now set at 450 and 500 yards.
Like most tracks the distances would vary over the years due to track alterations, and by 1982 the distances had changed once again to 275, 475 and 675 yards, which happened to be the final time that distances were competed in imperial measurements at Peterborough.
In 1983 a switch to racing under NGRC rules found that the race distances would be revised to the metric version, with distances now calibrated to 420 and 620 metres. The first meeting staged under NGRC rules came on the 1st of April 1983, but what was added to its racing calendar was the running of the Peterborough Derby for the first time. In 1989 the tracks restaurant and bars were upgraded at a cost of £500,000, and by 1991 another million pounds had been invested on further improvements at the track.
Business however took a turn for the worse during the 24th of March 1999 when a serious fire at the stadium badly damaged the main stand and an adjoining warehouse. The fire had begun in the warehouse after a heater had been accidently knocked over which in turn ignited a full pallet of highly inflammable material. The fire began to spread rapidly and so fiercely, that the rear of the main stand caught fire. Eighteen fire engines and eighty firemen fought a fierce battle, but their efforts could not stop the main stand from being totally destroyed. Fortunately, no one was injured, but not surprisingly, racing was suspended with immediate effect, leaving the management to salvage what they could.
After almost six months of hard work restoring the venue, Greyhound Racing resumed once more during September of 1999. In 2003, shortly after the main stand had been refurbished, a project was put in place to extend the present 301 feet long main stand to a length of 518 feet, a new venture that would allow patrons to watch racing the whole length of the start and finish straight, and also view the first bend in comfort. The new project had cost around three million pounds to complete, with the new stand boasting a glass fronted restaurant large enough to accommodate 400 diners, and a viewing area for over 1500 racegoers.
In 2012 both Peterborough along with Poole accepted the offer to join the BAGS service, a deal which continued for a number of years, with Peterborough featuring regularly on the Racing Post Greyhound TV channel. Racing consisted of six greyhounds contesting over distances of 235, 420, 605,790 and 975 metres, with the hounds chasing an outside Swaffham McGee type hare.
But sadly, the Covid 19 outbreak put a halt on all greyhound racing venues across the UK during March 2020. Most of the other English venue’s reopened at the beginning of June, albeit behind closed doors, but announcement prior to this date confirmed that Peterborough could not open due to it not being financially viable to operate under these circumstances. Its final meeting had been staged on the Saturday March 21st 2020.
Memorabilia for this track is required for this page, if you can help please contact me.