Author Topic: Speedway at Custom House  (Read 10627 times)

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Offline Kathy Taylor

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Speedway at Custom House
« on: 20 June, 2008, 11:22:30 AM »
 Can anyone tell me in what year did the speedway close.

Kathy

Robert Rogers

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #1 on: 20 June, 2008, 12:33:33 PM »
Open 1928, closed for the war in 1939, although some open meetings were held in 1940.
Re-opended 1946, closed again in 1955.

Re-opened 1964, closed for Divison One racing 1971

Opended again in 1972 for 2nd Divison racing, to home the Romford team who were forced out of their home at Brooklands Stadium by a court order, but was forced to close again in May 1972 as the Stadium was to be demolished (this did not happen untill December, so the season could have been completed.

The team moved off to Barrow (who no longer exsist)

1st Divison Licence sold to Ipswitch who still race.

Areana Essex (now Called Lakeside) opened in 1984 and took the Hammers team name and their race colours still show the Hammers although of a differance design.

see http://www.newhamstory.com/node/324
« Last Edit: 31 July, 2008, 07:06:17 AM by Robert Rogers »

Offline Kathy Taylor

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #2 on: 20 June, 2008, 01:48:10 PM »
Here is a picture of a West Ham Speedway Supporters Club Badge.

Robert Rogers

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #3 on: 23 June, 2008, 08:16:08 AM »
West Ham most sussesfull season was 1965 when they won all three major speedway team titles, including the first ever British leauge Title, making them Triple Crown Champions. See http://www.newhamstory.com/node/319
« Last Edit: 31 July, 2008, 02:15:53 PM by Robert Rogers »

Robert Rogers

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #4 on: 23 June, 2008, 08:32:14 AM »
The 1965 team after winning the K/O Cup, Speedway's answer to the FA Cup.


In 1966, a badge was issued to mark the Triple Crown Championship, it had the trophies shown as a Hammer for each of them which hang from the badge, also car Stickers were produced.
« Last Edit: 23 June, 2008, 08:33:49 AM by Robert Rogers »

Offline Bert

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #5 on: 07 July, 2008, 12:26:23 AM »
Unlike Robert, I could not answer your question, but it gives me the urge to recall very happy memories of West Ham Speedway. I missed hardly a meeting at West Ham Stadium from 1935 to 1938. I well remember Tiger Stevenson, Bluey Wilkinson, Tommy Croombs (my favouite) and the American Milne brothers. Sometimes I would also go to Hackney Wick Stadium.

How incredible it is, by today's standards of behaviour, that in those days there would be up to 80,000 people, men, women and children in West Ham Stadium with no signs of unpleasantness or bad behaviour.

My usual teenage mate at speedway was Ken Benjamin, who lived in Water Lane, Stratford. Along came the war and we went our separate ways. I since learned that Ken was lost while serving in the RAF, has no known grave and is named on the Runnymede Memorial. To his living relatives I would say that they should feel proud of a fine young man.

Offline Rob Everson

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #6 on: 07 July, 2008, 10:54:15 AM »
Kathy,I can`t remember the exact year but I believe it was early fifties.Rob

Robert Rogers

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #7 on: 07 July, 2008, 01:03:54 PM »
The enclosed photo taken from an old copy of the Speedway express shows the old Pits area at West Ham. This area is now coved by grass and a pathway at the back of Hoskins Close E.16

Robert Rogers

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #8 on: 07 July, 2008, 01:11:52 PM »
Bert, any chance of some memeories of the old days at West Ham?

Photo of good old Dirt Track Broadsiding from the `Peoples` Speedway Album 1946

Offline Limey

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #9 on: 07 July, 2008, 09:33:31 PM »
I lived on Churchill Rd behind the stadium from 1946 to 1951,  As a kid I can still remember the roar of the engines and the smell of the dirt track from the upstairs bedroom window.  I remember riders like Eric Chitty, Malcolm Craven and Vic Dugan, and does anyone remember the young rider from Dagenham, Benny King, he lived across the Rd from my Aunt.

By the way Kathy this is Sylvia...I had to go a different route to get back on here.

Offline Pauline Cooper

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #10 on: 08 July, 2008, 04:54:17 AM »
I just loved going to Speedway on a Tuesday night with the Gillespie family.  Even filling in the program with the results.  I also enjoyed walking home along Prince Regents Lane with the throng of people feeling quite safe.  All the buses were full so hundreds of people were walking.

Pauline

PS:  I wished I had thought of having a hot chips stand outside!!!

Robert Rogers

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #11 on: 08 July, 2008, 10:59:21 AM »
Just to remind all that if you go to the Main Newham Story site, there is about eight items on West Ham Speedway, including items on Lokeren (see Http://www.newhamstory.com/node/323)which was 38 years ago on the 14th July, and the opening of the Stadium and the first Speedway match which was 80 years ago on the 28th July. Please comment on the items and if positive, will add the remaning items from season 64-72. See Http://www.newhamstory.com/node/326

There is also an item on the short lived Thames Football club who used it as their home ground. See Http://www.newhamstory.com/node/418
« Last Edit: 31 July, 2008, 02:23:23 PM by Robert Rogers »

Offline Paul Playle

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #12 on: 08 July, 2008, 08:29:32 PM »
Robert said it started again in 1964 - but I recall watching or should I say hearing it going from a friends house (upstairs in Churchill road) in 1963 - Or may it was just getting ready or testing for the proper events to come. I saw Vic Dugan some years later riding stunts at Gymkhanas on a big single likeSamy Miller road.

Robert Rogers

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #13 on: 08 July, 2008, 09:38:57 PM »
Benny King only rode for the Hammers in 1946, or so the History books show, but in the first match of the 1949 season on Good Friday 15th April, the programme shows him as riding in reserve for the Hammers against the Wembley Lions were he score 3 points in West Ham's 44-40 victory.

Benny last rode at West Ham in 1966, when on the 15th september he took part in a special `legtrailers` Match race against Phil Bishop another old Hammer, and known as the `India Rubberman`.

He won after Phil fell. His race time was 83.2 seconds nealy 13 seconds slower the the then lap record of 70.6 sec held by Jack Young.

Sadly all three riders are no longer with us.

Offline Bert

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Re: Speedway at Custom House
« Reply #14 on: 08 July, 2008, 10:56:05 PM »
I'm surprised that there has been no mention yet of Johnnie Hoskins, the club manager. A great and enterprising showman, he was the backbone of West Ham Speedway. I can see him now, 70-odd years later, strutting around on the infield of the stadium and obviously in charge of the proceedings. The West Ham supporters (we didn't know the silly word "fans" in those days) almost idolised him. One of his showman gimmicks was a race between a speedway rider and a cat family animal. (I think it was a panther.) There was a fenced track on the grass inside the dirt track. How the animal was coaxed into running I cannot recall. Nor do I remember who won.

I believe Johnnie Hoskins also ran the club after WW2.