Park Royal Stadium, Abbey Road, Park Royal, London.
LOCATED————————————About seven miles north east of the City of London, two miles south of Wembley Stadium and about half a mile north west of Central Middlesex Hospital.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Built on land next to a Celluloid Works and Rubber Works.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-February 1931
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–February 22nd 1931.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-Its first two years of operation was as an Independent track before switching to NGRC in 1933.
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.
DISTANCES———————————–400 yards only.
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 1000 Guineas.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Rugby League for one season only.
LAST MEETING——————————-Monday January 20th 1969.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-Wednesday January 22nd 1969.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-A vast Industrial Estate with a company called Ryder PLC now pinpointing the 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——————-Nothing known of.
FURTHER COMMENTS——————–The Park Royal Greyhound stadium must not be mistaken for another Park Royal Stadium built in 1907 for athletics.
London’s Park Royal Greyhound Stadium was situated on Abbey Road, seven miles north west of London city centre, and operated within two miles of Wembley Stadium. Not to be confused with another Park Royal Stadium close by, which had hosted Athletics and Football since 1907, this Park Royal venue was purposely built during 1931 for Greyhound Racing only.
The venue was constructed on the demolished site of an old celluloid and rubber works, staging its inaugural meeting ON February 22nd 1931 opening up as an independent flapping track. The racing circuit at Park Royal was small and tight, having developed on restricted space left over after two stands which overlooked the finishing and back straights had absorbed the bulk of the acquired land. Racing distances had been calibrated at just 400 yards for a four-bend event, its only official race distance and left just enough track width for six greyhounds to compete when chasing the outside hare.
In 1933 the stadium was sold to a company known as The London Stadiums Limited, a company who had other interests in a handful of London’s Greyhound Racing venues, a transfer which would see all events now being run under NGRC rules. In 1935 extensive work at the stadium was done to increase its size, after Acton and Willesden Rugby Club had agreed a tenancy agreement to play Rugby League at the venue. But after one season, the team failed to attract any real interest, so the Rugby Club moved on to another London venue, The Mitcham Stadium.
By the 1960’s the decline of attendances at greyhound tracks around the country was becoming more evident, certainly the reason having been affected by the new betting legislation of 1961, which had seen the introduction of Bookmakers shops on Britain’s high streets. Yet it would be the Bookmakers who temporary halted the slide at Park Royal, when it was announced that the track would become one of its original members to join the newly formed BAGS (Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Services) contract.
It was during 1967 that BAGS began transmitting Greyhound Racing to televisions in Bookmakers shops around the country from the newly contracted tracks such as Stamford Bridge, Oxford, Birmingham’s Kings Heath, and of course Park Royal. But it became clear that the BAGS contract was not enough to keep Park Royal viable, and without it becoming public, very few people had been informed that the stadium had been sold for redevelopment. It became public knowledge that the venue would cease trading in March 1969, with the tracks managing director, incidentally a lover of Greyhound Racing, admitted that the selling price of £420,000, easy outshone the £6,000 per year profit that the track was making at the time.
However, sadly, the bombshell was to follow, as on the Wednesday of the 22nd of January, even with advanced programmes for following Friday Afternoon meeting having been printed, it was announced that the venue had closed. Unknowingly, Park Royal had already staged its final meeting on the afternoon of Monday the 20th of January 1969, with a greyhound called Red Hatter winning the last ever event.
Park Royal’s big attraction, The 1,000 Guineas, was transferred to the not so far away Hendon Greyhound Stadium, who themselves signed up to the BAGS contract as a replacement for Park Royal. Soon after its closure the stadium was demolished, seeing its foundations disappearing beneath a large industrial estate that developed during the Mid 1970’s, with a company called Ryder PLC covering the site and now acts as a pinpoint to the venue’s once location.
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