Knowle Stadium, Petherton Road, Hengrove, Bristol.
LOCATED————————————About two and a half miles south of Bristol city centre in the district of Hengrove, just off tyhe A37 Wells Road.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Farm grazin land near Hengrove Cottages, just off Back Lane.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-July 1927.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–July 23rd 1927.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-NGRC.
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
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.
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—————————Golden Crest and Western Produce Stakes.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Speedway and Stock Car Racing.
LAST MEETING——————————-January 28th 1961.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-January 1961.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-Early 1960’s.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-A Housing Estate consisting of Long Eaton Drive, Ravenhead Drive and Allanmead Road, constructed during the 1960’s.
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.
Roughly two and a half miles south of Bristol city centre is the district of Hengrove, a district which would became the home to The Knowle Greyhound Stadium. Arguably Bristol’s most successful Greyhound Racing venue, the Knowle track had been constructed during 1927 on grazing land along side the A37 trunk road. Its promoters were The Bristol Greyhound Club Limited, who were governed by The Associated Greyhound Racecourses Limited, who were behind promoting another six Greyhound Racing venues throughout England during that year.
The Knowle Stadium became not only the first of three greyhound tracks to operate in Bristol but became the tenth track overall to stage racing in the whole of the United Kingdom, after the sport had first been introduced in Manchester twelve months earlier. The racing circuit lay in a northwest to south easterly direction, with the finishing straight overlooked by the main enclosure which consisted of two grandstands. On the opposite side was another covered stand, with the hare control tower positioned overlooking the north bend. Behind the hare control tower lay the tracks kennels, with the stadium encircled by levelled land that would create sufficient car parking space.
Although the stadium still remained incomplete, its inaugural meeting came on the 23rd of July 1927, with almost 8,000 racegoers and 100 bookmakers witnessing a greyhound called Plunger becoming victorious in the very first event. The meeting consisted of six races, all being staged under rules similar to those eventually set by the NGRC the following year, with races consisting of five greyhounds that were all owned by the greyhound company. The greyhounds chased a pioneering type of electric outside hare and contested over a distance of 500 yards.
Although purpose built as a Greyhound Racing venue, the Knowle stadium found itself hosting regular dirt track Speedway events, with its first meeting being staged during August 1928. These events lasted for just two seasons only, but in 1936 the sport returned once again, this time with a more permanent cinder track being laid within the infield of the greyhound track. Although greyhound racing had been halted temporarily, the interruption of The Second World War had seen the end of Speedway, but once hostilities had ceased the sport returned to stage events right up until September 1960. World famous comedy duo Laurel and Hardy once attended a meeting on the 18th of July 1947, while the pair was appearing on stage at The Hippodrome in Bristol.
Another motor sport that would feature at the venue was Stock Car Racing, but this was far a few seasons only. It was during May 1928 that the more recognised NGRC rules were applied, shortly after the NGRC had just been formed, a move that would see more regular six dog races being run over the distance of 525 yards. Like other venue’s Knowle staged attractive events such as The Golden Crest and The Western Produce Stakes, these two of course being their main ones.
After successful periods during the 1930’s and 1940’s, the late 1950’s would in turn bring on a downturn in the stadium’s fortunes. What contributed to that was that the population boom in Bristol during this period, and had seen its numbers quadruple, and the expectation of bigger crowds may have been on the horizon. But this was not the case as plans for new housing estates were being drawn up, with numerous sites being considered by the Bristol Council, with The Knowle Stadium being one of them. With a generous offer of £132,000 on the table, it became a shock to racegoers that the stadium’s owners had accepted, with the company instantly announcing the dates of the stadium’s closure.
The Speedway team would run its final meeting during September 1960, but it was another four months before the greyhounds staged their final meeting on the 28th of January 1961. Eventually, The Knowle Greyhound Stadium disappeared under a housing estate which became built during the mid 1960’s. The housing estate left no evidence at all of the stadium, with housing on Long Eaton Drive and Ravenhead Drive now pinpointing the old stadiums position.