Hall Green Stadium

Hall Green Stadium was a greyhound racing stadium located in the Birmingham suburb of Hall Green,[1] which existed from 1927 until 2017.

Hall Green Stadium
Hall Green Stadium, York Road, Birmingham - geograph.org.uk - 95829.jpg
Full nameHall Green Greyhound Stadium
LocationYork Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, England
Coordinates52°26′17″N 1°50′25″W / 52.4380°N 1.8403°W / 52.4380; -1.8403Coordinates: 52°26′17″N 1°50′25″W / 52.4380°N 1.8403°W / 52.4380; -1.8403
Construction
Opened24 August 1927
Renovated1970, 1981, 1987, 1989
Closed29 July 2017
DemolishedMay 2018

The track itself was a 412-metre long oval track with a sand covered surface. The capacity of the stadium was between 2,500[2] and 3,000.[3]

FacilitiesEdit

The stadium's main stand facilities included outside terracing along the main straight, fast food outlets, a bar on the first floor, and an indoor seated area with glass frontage overlooking the track on second floor. Also on the second floor was the a la carte restaurant.[4] Executive suites that can hold between 18 and 100 people were located on the first bend of the track.

Related facilities included a hotel situated on bends 3 and 4 which opened in 1990,[5] some rooms of which offered views of the track and a purpose built snooker hall along the back straight with 21 full sized tables.[6] Conference facilities were also provided and managed by the stadium.[7]

RenovationsEdit

Investment in 1970 resulted in the track becoming one of the major provincials in the country and the GRA spent over £750,000 renovating the club house into a four tier restaurant and a new electronic display tote board was built. The track kennels were demolished during the renovation resulting in a contract trainer system.[8]

In 1981 the track changed to an all-sand surface which replaced the former grass straights, an 'Outside McKee Scott' hare and undersoil heating were also installed. Further stadium improvements in 1987 including a large snooker club to the tune of £400,000 and another face lift in 1989 to the tune of £1 million saw an extension to the restaurant and construction of a 48 bedroom hotel called ‘The Lodge’. A new track surface was also installed during this latest investment.[9]

Greyhound racingEdit

Origins & openingEdit

The Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) bought the land that was known as the Olympia Sports Ground in the Birmingham suburb of Hall Green and constructed a greyhound track. Opened on 24 August 1927 it was the first greyhound track to be built in the city.[10] A crowd of 20,000 turned up to experience racing for the first time despite the fact that another Birmingham track Kings Heath Stadium had just opened three months previous. The first race on that Wednesday evening was won by Lock Latham owned by Lady Lock and Mr P.Latham and was over 500 yards in a winning time of 29.66.[11] Appearing that same night was Bonzo who duly won his race and would go on to win the first ever running of the Champion Hurdle race at White City Stadium, London, and this event would soon be called the Grand National.[12]

Early historyEdit

 
Hall Green Greyhound Stadium c.1960

In the late 1920s a 440-yard circumference track was a decent size circuit with long straights and fairly easy turns. Handicaps and an 'Inside Sumner' hare were features of the track and the main distances were 500 and 700 yards. Facilities at the time included the main stand which offered the Hall Green Sports Club and Enclosure Club with stands on the opposite side of the track to accommodate the large patronage. A small annual subscription allowed patron's admittance to the clubs and it was not long before a restaurant service was introduced. Similar to other larger tracks of the time there was a resting kennel located away from the track and the Hall Green resting kennels were found nearby at Bogay Hall Farm in Solihull.[8] The stadium hosted speedway races between 1928 and 1938, with a team called the Birmingham Bulldogs racing out of the stadium.[13]

After the war the track introduced a major event for the first time and it was called the Midland Flat Championship and the centre green was home to the Hall Green Amateurs football team between 1951 until 1965.

Later historyEdit

After the completion of the new facilities in 1970 the stadium recruited one of the country's finest trainers at the time in Geoffrey DeMulder. In 1973 another trainer Sid Mann retired ending a 43-year association with the GRA, Mann had originally taken out a licence in 1930. Sometime later Racing Manager Jeff Jefcoate joined Northern Sports at Ramsgate Stadium and his assistant Horace Peplow retired after 50 years leaving Sidney Wood the deputy chief Racing Manager for the GRA in charge and he was joined by Simon Harris. As 1984 came to an end the great Scurlogue Champ set two track records, one in December 1984 and another the following year.[14]

In 1993 the British Breeders Forum Produce was switched from Wembley to Hall Green and Simon Harris was replaced by Gary Woodward.[15] The Television Trophy was hosted at the track for the third time in 1997 following the previous staging in 1979 & 1988 and in 1999 the Blue Riband competition was brought to the track following the demise of Wembley with the Grand National switching to sister track Wimbledon Stadium. Under General Manager Stephen Rea two new races were inaugurated by the track, they were the Gymcrack in 2000 and the Prestige in 2003 but the Midland Flat was discontinued, it had been the tracks oldest race.[16]

CompetitionsEdit

AchievementsEdit

  • 1973 Hall Green lost a closely fought battle with Wembley in the Duke of Edinburgh Cup Grand Final by 64 points to 56.
  • 1974 & 1979 Geoff DeMulder won two English Greyhound Derby triumphs in 1974 & 1979 with Jimsun and Sarahs Bunny respectively.
  • 1992 Kildare Slippy trained by Paddy Hancox set some unbelievable track records. He recorded 28.52 winning a 474-metre hurdle race which was a sensation because it was four spots quicker than the 474 metre flat track record. This incredible run must go down as one of the greatest performances in racing history.

ClosureEdit

In 2014 the National Asset Management Agency (parent company of the Greyhound Racing Association) sold Hall Green and Belle Vue stadiums but retained a lease agreement for both venues; with Hall Green Stadium being purchased by Euro Property Investments Limited for £3 million.[17] It was revealed on 23 February 2016 that the stadium is to be closed down and demolished in the near future due to a housing planning application made by owner Euro Property Investments Limited.[18] The planning submission to the local council was originally declined in June 2016;[19] but this ruling was subsequently overturned by appeal during the following month, and consequently a decision to allow demolition of the stadium was ratified by the council.[20][21][22][23][24] In June 2017, it was revealed by the stadium's chief executive Clive Feltham that the stadium would close at the end of the following month;[25] and the stadium's final night of racing occurred on 29 July 2017.[26][27] Demolition of the stadium to make way for the housing estate subsequently commenced in May 2018.[28][29]

Track records (at closing)Edit

Extended content

[30]

Distance Greyhound Time Date Notes
258m Ballymac Denis 15.12 18 April 2012
259m Fearless Action 15.46 30 November 1985
474m Westmead Chick 28.20 19 November 1994
480m Eye Onthe Storm 28.02 13 April 2010
606m Glideaway Ted 38.78 27 March 1982
645m Palace Issue 39.01 22 September 2000
663m Roseville Jackie 41.37 9 April 1988
670m Fearless Lynx 40.44 February 1995
683m Gaisce Dubh 41.29 4 October 1991
815m Minnies Siren 52.50 27 April 1988
820m Kilpipe Bib 51.71 24 June 1993
892m Head Iton Jordan 55.24 27 March 2007
480mH Kildare Slippy[31] 28.52 8 April 1992 Grand National final
645mH Go Dutch 40.70 25 February 2003

Former track recordsEdit

Extended content

Post metric [30]

Distance Greyhound Time Date Notes
258m Hows Yer Man 15.32 1993+
258m Lunar Vacation 15.30 27 March 2007
258m Officer Donagh 15.29 1 December 2009
258m Fifis Rocket 15.14 19 April 2011
259m Foxy Cooper 15.45 1977+
474m Pat Seamur 28.49 1977+
474m Rikasso Hiker 28.59 13 October 1982
474m Westmead Merlin 28.33 15 October 1994
480m Vintage Cleaner 28.20 25 April 2000 Blue Riband Final
480m Harsu Super 28.13 13 October 2001 Produce Stakes semi-final
480m Farloe Verdict 28.09 6 May 2003 Blue Riband Final
480m Toosey Blue 28.05 10 July 2007
480m Eye Onthe Storm 28.03 29 September 2009 Blue Riband Final
606m Let Him Go 37.65 1977+
663m Katie Toughnut 40.88 1977+
663m Man Soda 41.59 1983+
663m Scurlogue Champ 41.56 27 February 1985
663m Special Bran 41.50 7 September 1985
663m Super Duchess 41.42 1987+
815m Scurlogue Champ 52.51 1 December 1984
892m Spenwood Wizard 56.13 27 April 1999
892m Spenwood Wizard 55.74 18 January 2000
892m Spenwood Wizard 55.34 16 June 2000
474mH Autumn Berlin 29.39 1980+
474mH Lovely Pud 29.38 8 September 1984
474mH Kildare Slippy 29.14 22 April 1991
474mH Kildare Slippy 29.06 14 March 1992 Grand National Trial Stakes
474mH Kildare Slippy 28.79 28 March 1992 Grand National First Round
645mH Eezar Ferrari 40.71 13 December 1999

Pre Metric

Distance (yards) Greyhound Time Date Notes
500y Demotic Mack 28.30 17 June 1937
500y Rushton Smutty [32] 28.04 August 1951 Midland Flat Final
500y Rushton Spot 27.94 1 September 1954
500y Kilbeg Kuda 27.79 11 August 1965
500y Bresheen Legacy 27.73 12 April 1971
500y Short Cake 27.37 1973+
700y Sheehan 40.58 02 April 1938
700y Jersey Creamery 40.40 1948+
700y Greenane Airlines 39.94 30 May 1959
700y Clahane Girl 39.60 15 August 1962
700y The Grand Canoe 39.42 17 July 1965
700y Westmead Mia June 1973
880y The Cherry Tree 51.46 17 February 1962
880y Black Myross 50.90 19 July 1971
937y Tarry Oh No 56.10 1 September 1956
937y Model Airlines 55.98 19 August 1961
500yH Patlander 29.42 2 May 1934
500yH Husky Sam 29.03 22 August 1959
500yH Old Berry Star 28.75 17 August 1963
500yH Sherrys Prince 28.38 2 October 1971
700yH Border Rambler 42.30 19 August 1939

+ Record holder during year

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Track Search". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 25 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Hall Green Stadium". Dog Track.com. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Information on the stadium from Betting Kingdom". Archived from the original on 21 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Birmingham Hall Green". Love the Dogs.co.uk. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Love the Dogs - Hall Green Greyhound Stadium". Choose Your Venue.com. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  6. ^ "(Untitled)". Love the Dogs.co.uk. Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  7. ^ "(untitled)". Find me a Conference.com. Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  8. ^ a b Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing, pages 19-21. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  9. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, page 97. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
  10. ^ "Chronology of Birmingham". Birmingham.gov.uk. 26 October 1907. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  11. ^ "Remember When - August 2019". Greyhound Star. 4 August 2019.
  12. ^ Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound, pages 51-52. Page Brothers (Norwich). ISBN 0-85020-0474.
  13. ^ http://www.defunctspeedway.co.uk/Birmingham%20Hall%20Green.htm
  14. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, pages 97-101. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
  15. ^ Fry, Paul (1995). The Official NGRC Greyhound Racing Yearbook, pages 209-212. Ringpress Books. ISBN 186054-010-4.
  16. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008, page 186. Raceform. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4.
  17. ^ "Fears for Birmingham Hall Green greyhound stadium after £3m sale". 31 March 2014.
  18. ^ "'Crying shame' as Hall Green Stadium set to be demolished". 23 February 2016.
  19. ^ "Campaigners celebrate as Hall Green Stadium saved". 23 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Homes set to replace Hall Green greyhound track". BBC News. 21 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Hall Green Dogs to be demolished - weeks after planners said no". 21 July 2016.
  22. ^ "Hall Green Stadium housing to go ahead".
  23. ^ "Hundreds of jobs to be lost as residents reduced to tears following decision to bulldoze Hall Green Stadium".
  24. ^ "Hall Green Dogs to be demolished - weeks after planners said no". 21 July 2016.
  25. ^ "This greyhound stadium has announced a closing date". 5 June 2017.
  26. ^ "Hall Green greyhound stadium closes after 90 years". BBC News. 29 July 2017.
  27. ^ "End of an era for Hall Green Greyhound Stadium". 29 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Hall Green Stadium last look before bulldozers move in". BBC News. 17 May 2018.
  29. ^ "The haunting photos of the abandoned Hall Green Stadium in Birmingham". 17 May 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Track records". Greyhound Data.
  31. ^ "All Those Aprils". Vol. 16, no. 4. Greyhound Star. 4 April 1998.
  32. ^ "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 1951) August edition". Greyhound Star.