THIS IS YOUR STAINES
Sorry I mean This Is Your Life, a television programme that revealed the lives of certain celebrities more recognised by the older generation that featured regularly on TV for decades. Although a number of other celebrities presented the programme, the link between greyhound racing and the programme was a certain Mr Eamonn Andrews. OK, this link may not have been directly towards him, but one of Mr Andrews earlier jobs using a microphone was at the Staines Greyhound Stadium. It was during 1955 the Mr Andrews held the microphone to commentate on most Stock Car Racing events there. No doubt the job at Staines lasted only briefly as we all know his fame did come from the This is your Life programme, presenting it from 1955 until 1987.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF STAINES GREYHOUND STADIUM.
Bell Weir Park would not mean a thing to most greyhound enthusiasts today, but it happened to be the original name of the Staines Greyhound Stadium which opened in 1928. The Surrey town of Staines, although once classed in the county of Middlesex before boundary changes, just lies within the borders of the M25 circular, roughly 17 miles south west of the city of London. The Staines Greyhound Stadium itself was situated off Wraysbury Road, roughly two miles north east of Staines town centre, close by to were junction 13 lies on the M25 motorway. The tracks exact location today, would lie about one hundred yards East of Clarendon Service Apartments which are situated on Ferry Lane. The Greyhound Stadium was built on grazing land during 1927, roughly 200 yards North of the River Thames, set along the side of The Nook, a tributary which feeds the Thames. Opening up as a flapping track, Bell Weir Park staged its first greyhound meeting on the 28th of January 1928. It ran six dog races over distances of 525 yards, with the greyhounds chasing an outside McWhirter trackless sledge type hare. The stadium added itself to the list of multi-sports venues, when Speedway Racing featured during 1938, albeit without success, lasting for just two seasons only. Midget Car Racing arrived for a brief spell in 1947, but it was Stock Cars who became more of an attraction, featuring almost as regularly as greyhound racing during the late 1950’s. Yet it was during Stock Car meetings at Staines that a certain young man called Eamonn Andrews firstly came to the public’s attention. More known for presenting television’s “This Is Your Life”, he learnt his trade on the stadiums public address system commentating events. The stadium also played a part as a location in handful of feature films such as the 1955 film “Stock Cars”, starring Paul Carpenter, and also the 1964 film “Séance On A Wet Afternoon”, starring David Attenborough. But the demise if the stadium came on the 17th of June 1960, when Stock Car Racing featured for the very last time, with Greyhound Racing already gone, the stadium closed its doors for the very last time. After efforts had failed to reopen the stadium for Greyhound Racing once more, but eventually the site became stripped of anything useful. It was during 1965 that all outbuildings became demolished, and the site left abandoned only for nature to take its course. The site remained untouched up until the early 1970’s, when even track side lamps standards still lay visible, even though heavily corroded. It was during this period that the site totally disappeared beneath the construction of the M25 motorway, with the surrounding land also changing, with a man-made lake developing on its Western fringe just off Ferry Lane. Nothing remains of the stadium site today, although a dirt track lying adjacent west of the lake seems to divert itself to were the rear of the main stand once lay. But more surprisingly is that the stadiums clubhouse still does exist, although not on the original site, it does act as the headquarters to The Egham And Staines Model Railway Club, situated on Hummer Road in Egham. The building had been purchased for £25 in 1965, by the Model Railway Clubs chairman, before being transported section by section to its present day site.