Murray Park, High Street, Stanley, County Durham.
LOCATED————————————The village of Stanley is situated ten miles south west of Newcastle. The venue lies about half a mile north east of Stanley town centre.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Originall an enclosed football ground known as Joicey Square.
DATE CONSTRUCTED——————–The years around the First World War.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-The years around the First World War.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–August 26th 1937.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-Mainly independent but had a spell undewr NGRC Rules between 1949 and 1954.
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———————————–275, 450, 635 and 820 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—————————The North Eastern Pitman’s Derby and The Northern Greyhound Derby Stayers Plate.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Nothing known of.
LAST MEETING——————————-October 29th 1994.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-October 1994.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-Mid 1990’s
BUILT ON SITE——————————-The Murray Park Housing Estate.
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.
FURTHER COMMENTS——————–A night watchman and his dog lost their lives during a blaze at the stadium in 1972.
Another of the Durham’s cluster of greyhound tracks was the one found at Stanley, a small coal mining village situated ten miles south west of Newcastle. First signs of sporting activities had been during the surrounding years of the First World War, when a football ground began to develop on a meadow adjacent to a cluster of houses known as Joicey Square, half a mile north east of Stanley’s town centre.
The stadium developed as the home for a local amateur football club, but it wasn’t until 1937 that a greyhound track was laid around the perimeter of the football pitch. Opening up as a flapping track, Stanley’s opening meeting came on the 26th of August 1937, when almost 5,000 racegoers flocked to witness a greyhound called Beatrice Mary win the first ever event over 305 yards. Again like so many of the tracks around the Durham coalfields, greyhound racing at Stanley was gaining popularity, and soon established itself as one of the best flapping tracks in the area.
More progress was made in 1949 after The Stanley Stadium switched to operating under NGRC rules, with trainers contracted on a C license, but its move failed to gain any expected recognition and reverted back to flapping by 1954. Its pioneering years had seen distances run over 277, 460 and 675 yards, with five greyhounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare. But in May 1972 Stanley Greyhound Stadium hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons, when a serious fire not only destroyed its main buildings and clubhouse, but also claimed the lives of the night watchman and his dog. Two months after the fire, the stadium was sold to a man called John Conroy, who totally rebuilt the site and changed its name to Murray Park.
By the turn of the 1980’s Murray Park was now a total transformation from the old Stanley Stadium, with not only new buildings, but also a newly laid all sanded track with racing distances now run over 275, 450, 635 and 820 yards, with the track having a circumference of 360 yards. Its annual attraction was The North Eastern Pitman’s Derby, challenged over the 460yard trip, along with The Northern Greyhound Derby Stayers Plate run over 635 yards.
However, another decade on and Murray Park was witnessing another transformation, but this time in a downward spiral. Unfortunately, the venue had seen attendances drop gradually, and with the stadium in need of an upgrade, it came as no surprise when it was announced that the stadium had been sold to developers. Sadly, Murray Park staged its final meeting on the 29th of October 1994, shortly followed by the sale of all track equipment before becoming totally demolished during the mid1990’s.
By the early 2,000’s, a new housing estate known as not surprisingly Murray Park, began to cover its foundations, and once complete, left no trace at all of a greyhound track ever having been there.
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