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Belle Vue Meadow, Romford, Essex

The birth of the present Romford Stadium (see this page) had been triggered by the closure of an earlier greyhound track that once operated close by. The track in question was situated on the opposite side of London Road to where the present track lies today, on land close to a public house known as The Crown Hotel.

It was during early 1930 that a newly formed greyhound company invested around £400 to landscape a 550-yard straight track across a narrow section of wasteland. The venue was basic indeed, as there were no outbuildings, its only permanent fixture being a stationary Ford Motor vehicle, who’s engine would turn a drum fixed to one of the car wheels, which in turn would drag a rope attached to the lure.

Its first meeting came on the 5th of July 1930, a seven-race event that would attract some 750 people along with nine standing bookmakers. It was to be the first meeting of many, as five meetings per week had been organised, with a view of making the company of around £100 per week profit, with just £4 per week as outgoings for rent.

But it didn’t take long before the greyhound company were receiving complaints, some from the local clergy, along with a number of signed petition’s that became handed in to the council, but it was the substantial rent increase that made the company rethink its position.

Exact dates are sketchy when determining its closure, but it is presumed that its final meeting was staged during early/mid 1931.The following months had saw the greyhound company look for a new site, fortunately enough a rhubarb field on the opposite side of London Road seemed to be the solution, which eventually resulted in the birth of the present Romford Stadium.

The site of the old venue disappeared well before the declaration of the Second World War, as new housing covered the site where it once lay, yet The Crown Public House (pictured twice below) still exists today.

A press cutting from the Essex Chronicle dated June 20th 1930 – reprinted below with publication date.
This cutting is dated July 11th 1930.
The Crown Public House during busier times.
The Crown today sadly out of action.

More evidence of 1930 being the first year of racing in the area can be seen in the clipping below which says “the establishment of a greyhound track in Romford”. In the week before the opening, there were Church protests.