London Road, Romford, Essex.
Also read about the earlier venue….. ROMFORD Belle Vue Meadow – here
LOCATED————————————-North east of London city centre, and about half a mile south west of Romford town centre. just off the A118.
ORIGINAL SITE——————————A Rhubarb field next to a busy railway line.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-September 1931.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–September 21st 1931 (one source reports September 30th 1931).
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 Swaffham.
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———————————–225, 400, 575, 715, 750, 925 and 1100 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 Romford Puppy Cup, The Essex Vase, The Golden Sprint and the Champion Stakes.
STADIUM SHARED WITH—————–Nothing known of.
LAST MEETING——————————Still in operation.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————N/A
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————N/A
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——————N/A
FURTHER COMMENTS——————-Staged two meeting for Cheetah Racing during 1937, idea never really caught on as the cheetah’s didn’t seemed like they wanted to race.
The above image is part of an eight page programme for the present day Stadium venue which opened in September 1931. It can be seen that “the 1929 inset image” it looks very similar in layout to this true 1933 version. Given that is states they were operating in their “Third Year”, this could be 1931.. 1932 and 1933 or maybe even 1930/31… 1931/32 and 1932/33, but what is certain is that it gives no indication they started in the 1920’s.
Therefore, it suggests that the first year of operation was definitely not 1929, as per the 60th anniversary race card implies. As stated above, this is backed up by several press cuttings on the Belle Vue Meadow page which records their first meeting as Saturday 05 July 1930 – follow the link given above to read all the press cuttings.
The big question is… was the unique 1933 layout altered and the 1929 date superimposed?…. If so, where did they get the 21 June 1929 date?… Was it simply typed as it was exactly sixty years prior to 21 June 1989?… Or indeed, did Romford produce 30th… 40th… 50th anniversary race cards or hold other publications which might suggest this date? This might help solve the mystery… Your opinions – and any evidence you may have – are very welcome.
Of course, it is possible… but very, very unlikely… that there was a low key, very short lived, 1929 promotion prior to the Archer Leggett July 1930 operation. However, I believe the local press would have recorded this unique event if that had been the case. At the moment, there is no evidence of this.
The cutting below suggests totalisators were not operating in June 1929. The first one in England was set up at Liverpool Stanley Park in March 1930
Although the large town of Romford lies within the circumference of the M25 motorway, it may surprise a few that its situated within the boundaries of Essex also. Romford is located roughly 12 miles north east of the city of London, a town which in the past has been the home to more than one greyhound racing venue during its time.
The first greyhound track in Romford at Belle Vue Meadow had ceased during 1931 (read separate page), this being due to the landlord doubling the rent of the land, forcing the Greyhound Company to look for another site amongst the surroundings of Romford. The original track lay in a field next to The Crown Hotel, with the new venue situated just across the main road in a rhubarb field adjacent to the LNER railway line. £700 was raised to support the work on building the new track, which included a sixty feet long grandstand, erected spacious enough to seat 200, a hand operated totalisator system, along with the regular racing track facilities.
The new track was ready for its inaugural meeting on the 21st of September 1931, with 600 racegoers in attendance. During its early days operating as an independent / flapping track, crowds were always well in excess of the one thousand mark. But by 1938 events were being staged under NGRC rules, as The Romford Greyhound Company had taken control of a sister track at nearby Dagenham. Races were now run over 460 and 650 yards, with the greyhounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare.
Romford experimented with the imagination of the public during December 1937, when Cheetah Racing took place for two meetings only, but the sport failed to catch on due to complaints from local residents and other greyhound track promoters, but the main reason being, was that the Cheetahs were not really interested in racing anyway.
In 1939 Romford promoted a new competition, which became known as The Essex Vase, an event which would run for the next ten years before withdrawing the event from the calendar in 1949. The Essex Vase returned in 1964 and became once again part of the annual events run throughout the following years, and still remains as a big fixture on today’s racing calendar.
In 1965 the company sold its sister track Dagenham to a packaging company for £185,000, after an embarrassing situation were the track hit national headlines, after becoming the victim of an expensive betting coup during 1963. In 1976 the Romford venue changed ownership, with Corals the Bookmakers purchasing the stadium for an undisclosed sum. Corals invested around £500,000 on rebuilding the venue with a new grandstand, a restaurant, along with upgrading the trackside facilities. In 1977 the running surface was relayed switching from a grass surface to an all-sanded track.
Presently, Romford provides the home to some big race events which includes The Romford Puppy Cup, The Essex Vase, The Golden Sprint and The Champion Stakes. The track promotes six dog race events over distances 225m – 400m – 575m – 715m – 750m – 925m – 1100m, with the greyhounds chasing an outside Swaffham type hare. Today, the tracks promoters operate a very successful business indeed, with excellent facilities being a part of a stadium that can accommodate around 4,300 racegoers, and car parking space for 380. The venue has and still does plays a big part in offering BAGS meetings to Bookmakers shops around the UK, and also features regularly on RPGTV.
Romford Greyhound Stadium is located about half a mile southwest of Romford town centre, just off the A118, and remains one of only two Greyhound Racing Stadiums within the M25 circular motorway, the other being Crayford.
Memorabilia for this track is required for this page, if you can help please contact me.