North Circular Road, Hendon, Middlesex, Greater London.
LOCATED————————————Ten miles north of Central London and south west of Brent Shopping Centre and just north of the A406 North Circular Road.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Marshland who’s waters flowed in to the Brent Reservoir.
DATE CONSTRUCTED——————–Early 1934.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-July 1934.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–July 28th 1934. Closed September 29th 1934 and re-opened February 27th 1935.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-NGRC from 1935 onwards.
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———————————–475 and 675 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.
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—————————1000 Guineas.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Nothing known of.
LAST MEETING——————————-June 30th 1972.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-June 1972.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-An access road from the M1 to the A406 North Circular Road with the eastern side of the venue swallowed up by an overflow car park belonging to the Brent Shopping Centre.
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 of the stadium but the purpose built weir that flows nearby was funded by the Greyhound Racing Company.
FURTHER COMMENTS——————–The venue had a crowd capacity of 5,000 in 1970.
One of the last purpose-built Greyhound Racing stadiums to be constructed in the City of London was the one at Hendon. Only two other greyhound stadiums have been built within the city’s boundaries since, both in Crayford, one of which opened in 1937 before eventually being demolished in 1985, the other being the one that replaced it which began operations during September 1986.
The site of the old Hendon Greyhound Stadium lay ten miles northwest of Central London, yet only three miles northeast of Wembley Stadium, running parallel with the A406 North Circular Road. The track itself would lay south of a purposely constructed weir, with a railway viaduct overlooking its northwest bend. But the construction of the venue had been something different compared to many and may have possibly been more challenging than most too, as the site chosen happened to be flooded by a stretch of water that fed the nearby Brent Reservoir.
It was during the early months of 1934 that draining of the land began, with a purpose-built weir constructed to channel the water away to relieve water from the foundations of the newly constructed venue. The venue became known as the Welsh Harp Sports Stadium, not to be confused with the Hendon Welsh Harp site that staged dog racing during the 1870’s.
A dress rehearsal was staged on July 26th 1934, but its official opening meeting was to take place two days later. The rehearsal had been a success, with thousands of racegoers attending, enough to fill the newly constructed venue. Events were staged over distances of 300 and 500 yards, but at the time it had seemed a brief venture only, with the final meeting being staged on September 29th 1934, its closure brought about due to the expiring of the lease.
The lease was never renewed by the Welsh Harp Company, yet the proprietors of The Hackney Wick Stadium Limited had other ideas. After investing £10,000 on improvements, the much-improved stadium was up and ready to stage another official opening meeting on the 5th of March 1935.
Races consisted of six greyhounds competing over distances of 475 and 675 yards, with the hounds chasing an outside type electric hare. The outbreak of The Second World War had seen a temporary closure of all greyhound tracks across the UK, but Hendon was another of the London tracks that continued to stage meetings throughout the war years, albeit during daylight hours.
Hendon may have operated in the shadows of many of the larger London tracks, but during 1969, an acceptance of a BAGS contract, made available after the closure of the Park Royal, brought further recognition from the greyhound racing fraternity. The 1000 Guineas event was also switched to Hendon, after that too had played an important part of Park Royals calendar. The new lifeline that was happening at Hendon, had seen further investment in the stadium during 1970, with its crowd capacity now increased to accommodate over 5,000 patrons. But the downturn for the Hendon stadium happened to be its graphical position, as it was situated very close to Staples Corner, a very busy junction indeed, with the venue lying in the way of a huge development scheme which would undertake the extension of the M1 motorway and a new shopping complex.
Even with all the stadium improvements during 1970, the venue was sold to developers the following year, no doubt for an undisclosed sum that could not be refused. Hendon Greyhound Stadium staged its final meeting on the 30th of June 1972, and within months of its closure the bulldozers moved in to clear the site.
The new shopping complex opened in 1976 and became known as The Brent Cross Shopping Mall and became the first American Style Indoor Shopping Centre in the UK. Today, nothing remains as a reminder of the Greyhound Stadium, as only the banks of the River Brent could possibly identify its once location, its waters still being channelled by a weir that was constructed to drain the land originally. But further pinpointing of the venue would see the West side of the greyhound track lying beneath access roads which ran from the extended M1, while the eastern side of it disappearing beneath an overflow car park, fed by an access road name Stadium Road which links the shopping mall.
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