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Recreation Ground, Lochgelly, Fifeshire

The Fifeshire town of Lochgelly lies roughly one mile northeast of the ex-mining town of Cowdenbeath, located just north of the A92 link road to Kirkaldy.

The county of Fifeshire had become a hotbed for the uprising of greyhound racing during the early 1930’s, the reason certainly being linked to mining community’s, who’s town folk had a massive participation interest in the sport of Whippet Racing. It was during this period that Lochgelly experienced its one and only time, albeit a brief spell of Greyhound racing.

The venue in question was known as Recreation Park, an ex-Scottish Football League ground that had once been the home to Lochgelly United, a club who had first played football there during 1894. A number of other local football teams used the pitch, but it would be Lochgelly United that would eventually make it their home ground.

By 1910, the venue had become totally enclosed, a small grandstand had been erected on the northern side of the pitch, and also earth banking’s were constructed to its southern and western edge, simply to improve viewing for the ever increasing attendances. Recreation Park continued to develop, and by 1914 had become host to Scottish League football, after the football club had been elected to play in Division Two of the Scottish League.

The First World War had witnessed a temporary halt in League Football, yet it was a Scottish Cup fixture during February 1920 that had seen the venue set its record attendance of 10,000, when the football club hosted Third Lanark in a third round tie. In 1924, the football club was relegated to Division Three, a period in which their efforts seemed to drift in to a downward spiral. Worse was to come, as by the end of the 1925-26 season Lochgelly left the Scottish Football league, not through a fault of their own, but due to the Scottish Third Division being disbanded. Their final league fixture was a 1-1 draw against Solway Star on the 24th of April 1926. The following two seasons had seen United playing at junior level, before eventually disbanding during 1928, the reason due to probably down to finances and lack of interest, leaving The Rec to host football for local amateur clubs.

Although the early 1920’s had witnessed the decline of football at Recreation Park, it became clear that the venue was experiencing a boom time of Whippet Racing gatherings, a sport that had been staged there prior to The First World War. Yet it was the early months of 1933, that the now redundant Recreation Park was given another new lease of life, after a greyhound racing company had made an approach to construct a track around the football pitch. After been given the go ahead by the council and other parties to stage four meetings per week, greyhound racing was staged for the first time on the 19th of May 1933.

Eight six dog race events were to be staged over the 250 yards two bend course, before gatherings would later witness 440 yard events. The latter distance leaving us to believe that the course was a complete circuit. It seems the venture was for a brief spell only, as results in newspapers seem to fade away after the Summer months.

Sadly, the fate of Recreation Park came during 1934, after the venue had been sold for housing development. By the declaration of The Second World War, the foundations of the venue had been covered by a cluster of council owned houses, Its location seemed to be cordoned off by housing on North Street, Henderson Street and Gordon Street, with Timmons park virtually dissecting the stadium.

Presently, the housing estate still exists and is located roughly a few hundred yards west of Lochgelly town centre, and therefore I presume that any evidence of the old Recreation Park venue remains remote.

The football ground is shown clearly on this 1915 OS Map. It shows the grandstand above, and the earth terracing shown as shading on its southern edge. Image courtesy of Old Maps.
This local press caption dated May 13th 1933, announces Greyhound Racing at The Rec.
These results found in a local newspaper dated June 12th 1933, is the last time results are found.
Advertising for labour to erect housing on the site of Recreation Park dated March 10th 1934.