- Walthamstow Stadium
Walthamstow Stadium was a greyhound racing track located in the
London Borough of Waltham Forestin East London (grid reference gbmappingsmall|TQ375913) and was one of a limited number of remaining greyhound race tracks operating in Greater London.BBC News - " [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7408061.stm Walthamstow race track to close] "] The track closed in August 2008.
It was a
greyhound racing stadiumfor the purposes of entertainment, usually including gamblingon the outcome of a race. It was opened in 1933by William Chandlerand is still owned by the Chandler family. It had a larger attendance and income from gambling than any other dog racing track in the UK, with capacity for over 5,000 spectators. Walthamstow Dog Track has been referenced in a number of works of popular culture, notably in the film Snatch. It had five race meetings a week, during the day on Monday and Friday, and at night on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The first race started at 7:45 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and at 7:30 pm on Saturday. The last race started at 10:30 pm on all three nights. Trials were held on Wednesdays and before racing. All meetings had 14 races except for the Friday meeting, which had 12. The most common races were over 475 and 640 metres, with occasional 430, 835 and 880 races for specialist greyhounds.Eleven greyhound trainers were attached to the track. They were: Gary Baggs, Seamus Cahill, John Coleman, Paul Garland, Dickie Hawkes, Kelly Mullins, Mick Puzey, Peter Rich, Graham Sharp and Mark Wallis. There were numerous major "open race" events, including the Arc, Stewards Cup, Puppy Stakes, Grand Prix and the Racing Post Festival. The track record holders were: Horseshoe Ping (14.14 seconds over 235 metres), Thankyoumadam (25.71 over 430), Barnfield on Air(28.15 over 475), Blue Meadow Lad (28.75 over 475 Hurdles), Spiridon Louis (39.19 over 640), Sizzlers Bossman (39.78 over 640 Hurdles), Star of Dromin (52.46 over 835 and 55.78 over 880) and Betathan Pebbles (67.50 over 1045).
Motor cycle speedway racing was staged at the Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium in Chingford Road in 1934 and between 1949 and 1951. Between 1949 and 1951 the team, known as the
Walthamstow Wolves, raced in the National League Second Division with moderate success. At that time all the other London clubs, Wembley, Wimbledon, West Ham, Harringay and New Cross raced in the First Division. The sport left the stadium in the 1950s owing to declining attendance and complaints of noise from local residents. The track itself can still be seen but has been covered in tarmac for easier maintenance of the dog track.
Decline and closure
In 1984 a nightclub called Charlie Chan's was opened within the foundations of the clocktower. It closed permanently in November 2007. It could be said that if a person from the
East End of Londonrefers to "going down the dogs", they were probably going to the dog track at Walthamstow or Romford Greyhound Stadium. There were once 33 greyhound tracks in London, but only Romford, Wimbledon and Crayfordremain, after Catford closed in 2003. The directors of Walthamstow Stadium Limited have agreed to the sale of the Company’s freehold property at Walthamstow Stadium to a development consortium led by Yoo Capital and K W Linfoot plc. Formal contracts have been exchanged and completion is expected on or before 1st September 2008. The final race was held during Meeting 152 on Saturday 16th August 2008 at 23:00, the winner being No. 2 'Mountjoy Diamond'.
* [http://www.walthamstowdogs.com/ Walthamstow Stadium]
* [http://www.greyhoundracing.org.uk/walthamstow-greyhound-racing Walthamstow Greyhound Racing Information]
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