MIDDLESBROUGH GREYHOUND STADIUM SUMMARY
Cleveland Park Stadium
LOCATED————————————One and a half miles south west of Middlesbrough town centre on the B6451 Stockton Road, just north west of the A19/A66 Interchange.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Farm grazing land.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-May 1928.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–May 19th 1928.
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——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———————————–266, 282, 462, 478 and 647 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—————————-Nothing known of.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Speedway from 1928-1996.
LAST MEETING——————————-November 1996.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-November 1996.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-MacMillan Leisure Centre built in 2001.
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.
By the late 1920’s the boom time for Greyhound and Speedway Racing was now in full flow, with enthusiasts and promoters now looking for possible sites to construct their new stadiums. Certainly land within close proximately of densely populated areas and industrial locations, would certainly lead to much interest regarding attracting racegoers. One of those densely populated areas was Teeside, so it had come as no surprise that a site close to the town of Middlesbrough was chosen to host these sports. It was during 1927 that a section of grazing land situated about one and a half miles west of Middlesbrough town centre, had been purchased with a view of constructing the Teesside Greyhound Track. Operating under rules similar to those of the NGRC, the new venue staged its first ever meeting on the 19th of May 1928, when an incredible 5,000 turning out to witness an eight race event. By the following August, Teesside Park was now hosting Speedway Racing, and again the sport was proving a success, infact lasting until the stadiums closure almost 70 years later. By the 1930’s the stadium was now becoming more established, attracting other events such as boxing, and from the 1950’s onwards hosted local school sporting events. Middlesbrough well known for its vast industrial areas and its East Coast location suffered heavily during The Second World War, with the Teesside district becoming the first industrial area in Britain to be bombed by enemy aircraft during May 1940. Fortunately, the pilots of the enemy aircraft seemed to be very sympathetic towards the Teesside greyhound track, as there was never any reports of bomb damage. By 1975 the venue had become known as Cleveland Park, and that the surrounding district would change dramatically after the construction of the A19 Tees Flyover, its close proximity overshadowing the venue. From its pioneering days right up until November 1981, the Middlesbrough track provided its own racing greyhounds, but the years leading up to this date had found the track struggling to fulfil its meetings, with meetings regularly consisting of just four dog races only. It was around this period that the Cleveland Park tracks management made a decision to open its doors to non-track owned greyhounds. Vacancies were advertised for owners and trainers positions to race their dogs under the permit license scheme. This new switch did improve things with more regular five dog races filling racecards, with the hounds competing over distances of 266, 282, 462, 478 and 647 metres, contesting behind an inside Sumner type hare. A mysterious fire during June 1985, caused serious damage to the 200 seated main stand, which in itself housed two cafe’s, a bar and a tote system, but fortunately enough created little disruption on the track, as within a week both greyhounds and Speedway were back in action once more. During the early 1990’s the Middlesbrough track could proudly boast that it had one of the safest track’s in the country, mainly due to its cautious handicapping, who had also agreed that they would compensate all trainers and owners, if their dogs had sustained injuries at the first bend. Their idea was hoped that it would extend the racing careers of most greyhounds. But sadly, Cleveland Park, although having survived the Second World War’s Teesside blitz, and the loss of its main stand in the 1985 fire, was about to close in 1996, the site having been purchased by developers. November 1996 witnessed the greyhounds final meeting, with the stadium having already having staged Speedways final meeting a month earlier. By the end of 1997, the stadium had become totally demolished leaving the site totally abandoned and the sanded track littered with weeds. By the year 2000 the site had seen the beginnings of development for a new leisure centre, this project would see it being complete and in operation by the following year. Today, no remnants remain of the Cleveland Stadium, yet the site is still overshadowed by the huge Tees Flyover, but this time it casts its darkness over The Macmillan Leisure Centre, which is situated along the side the B6451 Stockton Road, just north west of the A19-A66 interchange.
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