With the unfortunate decline in popularity of greyhound tracks across England’s capital, the amount of historic greyhound tracks closing is ever increasing. Having held some of the most prestigious races in the sports history and some even surviving World Wars, it is a sad state of affairs when something once so treasured has had its attendance slashed so rapidly.
So many great tracks emanate from London and despite the numbers dwindling over the years there is still a small but dedicated and passionate group of spectators that attend the biggest events on the calendar, still coming to bet on greyhound racing despite the lack of stadia. While the midlands is the new home of greyhounds, it is important to recognise some of the great tracks that were situated in the capital. So, here are some of London’s most iconic greyhound tracks.
One of north London’s most versatile tracks, Harringay was etched in some rather peculiar history. Not only has the site hosted greyhounds, but also imported Cheetah racing from Kenya, Formular 1 Stock Cars and even local school’s sports days. The decline in popularity stems all the way back to the 1960s, with the site being sold and demolished in 1987 — now serving as a Sainsbury’s supermarket.
Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium
Once again, financial issues caused Wimbledon’s Greyhound stadiums closure — with the new football ground coming in to take its place. The ground also hosted motorcycle racing in 2005 and had been hosting races consistently since the 1970s. A lack of renovation meant the track was outdated and unsafe, and it finally closed its doors for the final time in 2017, being demolished a year later with Plough Lane being installed in its place.
White City Stadium
Certainly the oldest stadium on this list, White City was built for the 1908 London Olympics but was used primarily for greyhounds until the 1980s. It definitely has its history, hosting a World Cup game between Uruguay and France, which was meant to be at Wembley, but the owner refused to reschedule a greyhound race taking place there. It was also the home of Queens Park Rangers for short spells in the 1930s and 1960s as they bounced around west London, but in 1984 the stadium was demolished to make way for buildings owned by the BBC.
Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium
Back to a more recent closure, Walthamstow was once the Las Vegas of greyhound racing. All the glitz and glamour was here as racing reached its peak. Opening its doors in 1933, the stadium survived a World War and multiple renovations, boasting a grandstand with two tea rooms, serving as a pantheon for British greyhound racing. Following a decline at the turn of the century, attendances slowed down and Walthamstow understandably closed its doors in 2008 — although its famous neon sign would be switched on once again after being restored by a local craftsman. The stadium was purchased by property developers and now all that’s left are some of the memories and references that appeared in popular culture at the time.