THE MAGNET RACECOURSE SUMMARY
South Liberty Lane
LOCATED————————————Less than a mile south of Bristol City’s Ashton Gate Football Stadium.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Farm grazing land.
DATE CONSTRUCTED——————–Early 1928.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-June 1928.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–June 8th 1928.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-Independent
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——Trackless lure system pulled by a winch driven by a motor car engine.
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———————————–474 and 500 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—————————Not a complete circuit.
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—————————Nothing known of.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Nothing known of.
LAST MEETING——————————-January 1933.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-January 1933.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-Mid 1930’s.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-Housing on Risdale Road, Tegarth and Trevanna Road.
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.
The least known of the three greyhound racing venue’s that operated in Bristol, was the one known as The Magnet Racecourse. Although Bristol’s first track at Knowle had opened during July 1927, the Magnet venue had just about become the second, by beating Bristol’s third track Eastville, by just a week. The new track was incorporated in March 1928, by a company known as the Bedminster Magnet Greyhound Company, who set up the business with a capital investment of £5,000. The new venue had been constructed during the Spring of 1928, just south west of Bristol’s city centre, on farmland adjacent to south liberty lane in a district known as Ashton Vale near Bedminster. It was due to its surrounding boundaries, that the shape of the track took its unorthodox horseshoe or magnet shaped track, hence the name Magnet, as the track had been designed to get the maximum racing distances out of the space available. The track had one sweeping bend linked by two 210 yards grass straights which had the traps and the finishing line positioned at the end of each appropriate straight. The hare was another unusual feature, a trackless type hare system that somehow travelled along the centre of the grass track, dragged along by a winch that was powered by a motor car engine. The lures central position was intended to stop the greyhounds from bunching nearer the inside of the track. The venue itself was quite spacious, with an estimated viewing area for 12,000 racegoers, and ample car parking space to accommodate. It had a small seated grandstand that overlooked the finishing line, and a sufficient kennelling area, but these were the only recognised buildings, as the rest of the venue remained undeveloped. But a serious blow came prior to its initial opening, after their application to join the GRA was rejected, the GRA’s explanation had stated that Bristol could not sustain more than two licensed tracks, which left the Magnet track no other option than to operate independently. A Local newspaper advertised Magnets grand opening for Saturday the of 26th of May, but unfinished work at the track delayed the start, seeing the official opening date being back dated by two weeks to the 9th of June. The opening meeting consisted of six races with five greyhounds contesting over the distance of 500 yards, both flat and hurdles. The event went ahead, but a number of blunders soured the occasion, as some of the races exposed fighting dogs, along with two of the races being declared void due to the leading greyhounds catching the lure. Five meetings per week were scheduled, but the meetings that followed exposed more teething problems, especially with the hare system, and also the poor standard of greyhounds, some of which were fighters which had been rejected by Bristol’s two GRA tracks. The company found themselves in a position to supply their own greyhounds to fill the card, with a view that by offering better standard of greyhounds it would improve crowd numbers, but constant flooding of the circuit became another problem, with a number of meetings being called off. These downward factors began to take its toll on attendances, as the numbers began to diminish to less than a thousand, a figure that was not enough for the track to break even financially. By autumn the Magnet Racecourse was clearly running at a loss with every meeting, the future of the track looked grim, and on the 28th September 1928, The Bedminster Magnet Greyhound Company ran their final meeting before going in to voluntary liquidation on the 1st of October 1928. The closure although not made public previous, came as no surprise, which saw the creditors taking control of the closed track on the 17th of October 1928. Fortunately, this was not the end as by December 1928 another greyhound company reopened the track for business once more, with a view of making the track pay and continued to do so for the next three and a half years, before they too ran into financial difficulties and closed once more on the 26th of August 1932. Another interested party, this time from the London area, took control and re-opened the track in December 1932, with a view of investing £2,500 on a new stand and refurbishments to the refreshment area, but again efforts came to nothing, and within weeks the track closed again, with its final meeting being advertised for the 6th of January 1933. Eventually the grounds of the stadium fell in to the hands of developers, which saw housing on Risdale road, Tegarth and Trevanna road, being built prior the outbreak of the Second World War.