Target Road, Tipnor, Portsmouth, Hampshire.
LOCATED————————————The district of Tipnor lies about a on a and a half miles north of Portsmouth city centre, with the track situated about half a mile north of Tipnor town centre. Prior to demolition, the results board was clearly visible from the M275 motorway.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–An eight acre site once occupied by the Stamshaw Chemical Works.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-May 1931.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–May 25th 1931.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-NGRC. but did have a spell as independent track during the 1930’s.
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——Inside 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———————————–256, 610. 792 and 964 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 Golden Muzzle, The Whitbread Trophy and The National Sprint.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Speedway between 1935 and 1937, and a brief spell of Stock Car Racing during the mid 1950’s.
LAST MEETING——————————-March 27th 2010.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-March 2010.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-Around 2011-12.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-Nothing known of but all is known is that it remains a flattened site.
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——————-Dont know
After failed efforts to restrict persistent flooding at Copnor, Portsmouth’s first greyhound track, an approach was made by the greyhound company to the council to find them another venue to host their sport. Copnor’s closure had come during November 1930, and yet by the early months of 1931, a new eight acre site had been offered to them, a site situated on the outskirts of Portsmouth, in a district known as Tipnor.
The District of Tipnor lies roughly one and a half miles north of Portsmouth city centre, with the old Copnor venue having been situated two miles to the east. The new site had lain abandoned for a number of years after the demise of the Stamshaw Chemical Company, which had been demolished during the early 1920’s. Work on the new venue had begun during the early months of 1931, and had cost almost £10,000 to prepare, before the track was ready for its opening meeting on the 25th of May 1931. A crowd of around two thousand witnessed a greyhound called Tommy’s Pup win the very first race, but constant trouble with the hand operated lure hampered early events. A switch to a lure powered by a motor car engine improved little, and with the track facing further issues along with dwindling crowds the venue closed in December 1931.
A new greyhound company calling themselves The South Coast Stadiums Limited, who operated under the guidance of the GRA, took control and invested thousands of pounds in refurbishing the venue. More accommodation was made for spectators with the construction of three new covered stands, along with a relaying of a new track, which this time consisted of an electric inside Sumner hare. Track lighting was also a new addition, along with the reconstruction of the tracks kennels, which could now accommodate up to 220 greyhounds. New tote booths were constructed to operate in conjunction with a 48 feet tall totalisator board which now overshadowed the northern bend. With all the stadiums refurbishment now complete and with races complying with NGRC rules, the track was ready to stage its reopening for the 4th of June 1932.
Yet to everyone’s surprise the opening meeting failed miserably, after the newly installed electric hare broke down after just two races, forcing the meeting to be abandoned. Although teething problems were soon overcome, more shattering news was to follow, as the new betting legislation enforced by the government, had made totalisator betting illegal, which in turn forced the track to close in December 1932. In July 1933 new management reopened the track for racing once more, but this time as a flapping track, with just bookmakers standing to take bets. But the new betting legislation reformed by the government in 1934, witnessed a brand new totalisator system being installed during 1935, and also the racing reverting back to NGRC rules.
The outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 had seen racing interrupted once again, but a switch to afternoon meetings witnessed the return of the greyhounds the following month. The Target Road venue also featured other sports during its presence, such as Grass Track Speedway, which raced on the infield of the greyhound track during 1933 and 1934, its circuit eventually being replaced by a more permanent cinder track in 1935. But the Speedway failed miserably, as the sport featured for only a handful of meetings over the next two years. Stock Car Racing was introduced in 1955, but again featured for a brief spell only. On the track side of things, five dog racing had been the regular feature, with the hounds contesting over distances of 470 and 600 yards. Like other tracks big events were staged, such as The Golden Muzzle, The Whitbread Trophy and The National Sprint all run over the four bend trip.
In 1972 all the stadiums assets were purchased by the GRA, but the tracks future looked in doubt the following year, after negotiations to sell the stadium to a developer had taken place, but luckily enough had fallen through. Metric distances were introduced, with the track circumference calibrated at 354 metres, which in turn created racing distances of 256, 438, 610, 792 and 964 metres, which at the time made it one of the smallest tracks managed by the GRA. New stadium regulations had seen its crowd capacity set to just 1200, but it was enough to cope with its regular patrons. Modern times had seen Portsmouth stage six dog racing, with the hounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare, but by March 2006 had seen a change with the installation of the Swaffham outside type.
But by 2008 the future of Portsmouth lay in doubt once again, as it was announced that the GRA had sold the stadium to developers. With Portsmouth Council announcing new plans to regenerate the district of Tipnor, it had become worrying news indeed. Fortunately, the venue did not close, and continued to operate with the agreement of the stadium being leased back to the greyhound company at a £1000 per year Peppercorn rent. But the good news was short lived, as the agreement failed to reach its second anniversary, and with the lease up for renewal in April 2010, it was announced that the venue would close.
After frantic efforts to keep the track open Portsmouth Greyhound Stadium staged its final meeting on the 27th of March 2010, and left 47 track employees without a job. With the stadium now becoming idle, it came as no surprise that the site became a target for thieves and vandals, and before long the venue had drifted in to a sorry state. 2011 had witnessed the demolition of all outbuildings, yet its notable results board, which had stood shadowing the track for nearly eighty years, became the last structure to disappear. Its presence will surely be missed by many, as it had become a landmark that was clearly visible when approaching Portsmouth along the busy M275 motorway.
A photograph or memorabilia for this track is required for this page, if you can help please contact me.