Author Topic: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium  (Read 1859 times)

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Offline Jason Steele

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West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« on: 19 September, 2017, 08:45:21 PM »
Can anyone help?
 I am currently building a model of West Ham Greyhound Stadium's main grandstand. I'm sure that anyone who attended the track(sadly it was demolished before I was born ) would agree that it was was without doubt the best stadium built purely for our sports! I am struggling to find information about the interior of the stand, most of all the upstairs seating area ( top deck ). Would anyone be able to confirm to me that it was wooden benches up there with no back supports rather than the more comfortable tip up wooden seats. I know it was a long time ago but maybe somebody has a photo taken from within this area with the seating in the background?
 The stadium really had a mysterious aura about it and photos of the stadium itself are almost non existent. If Anyone who can help me with this request or can give me other info on the fine old arena it will be most appreciated.... Many thanks, Jason

Offline ron copus

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #1 on: 20 September, 2017, 10:36:09 AM »
HI Jason..
I think you will find that they were open boarding like seating & stands set back from the main arena ,,where people milled around to get closer to the action..

The bowlyn football ground was like this .. because as kids we used to get under the stands when we bunked in. they were just planks of wood & you could see through the gaps.
Hope this helps ,, As cant be quite certain..
RON

Offline ron copus

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #2 on: 20 September, 2017, 10:45:40 AM »
have a look at these sites ..

http://www.defunctspeedway.co.uk/West%20Ham.htm

copy & paste in your browser,

Offline Jason Steele

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #3 on: 20 September, 2017, 06:52:06 PM »
Thank you Ron. I have been on every website there is that you could imagine to do with the old stadium yet I have never seen a clear picture of the upstairs seating. The trouble is that there was no glazing sheets in the roof or no windows at the back of the stand to let in natural light- hence every photo of this area is not very clear. My extensive research tells me that it was simple benches ( long planks with no backs ) and maybe in the VIP area in the middle area of the stand it had proper wooden seats. Other than that area the whole of the upstairs was cheap benches with railway sleepers as the flooring/ steps upstairs. The stand was built by Archibald Leitch who built most of the big football stadiums. All of his stands that still exist at places like Everton and Fulham football grounds have wooden floors and seating so this was not the reason the stadium shut down. Anyone who has photos from within the stand please get in touch, especially of it being torn down as this would have the structure on view so to speak !

Offline ron copus

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #4 on: 20 September, 2017, 07:17:39 PM »
Yes everything shoddy & cheaply made The perimeter fence was corrugated tin . which backed onto waste land with some allotments .. A stream ran adjacent to the fence on the other side ..
It was more or less thrown together, like most stadiums were then..

RON

Offline Jason Steele

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #5 on: 20 September, 2017, 09:41:21 PM »
A lot of people have remarked how shoddy the place was. The thing I find intriguing is that they hired the best architect of the day (Archibald Leitch ) and the asked that he designed a double deck stand (by far the most expensive to build) and that this stand would be nearly twice the length of any of his main stands at the big football clubs he designed at that time. Then after creating this masterpiece it was finished to a standard far inferior to what it deserved. It should of had proper seats, brick frontage the entire length of the outside, rather than just the entrance part, and had Windows etc upstairs to shed some light into the interior. I think the remaining three sides were finished like this too. To be honest though I think that is what set it apart from everything else, the fact they put all that effort into building a stadium so big and the fact it remained almost unknown is remarkable!!

Offline MickG

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #6 on: 20 September, 2017, 10:38:18 PM »
When the stadium was being demolished, Plaistow Fire Station were given the antiquated burglar alarm. It was a Heath Robinson looking affair consisting of a box like wind-up gramophone with a circular telephone dial attached to it. When operated, a arm would first dial 999 and then the gramophone record would start playing and repeat over and over again that it was West Ham Stadium and there was a intruder on the premises. I don't know what eventually happened to the device.

Offline Jason Steele

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #7 on: 21 September, 2017, 06:29:07 PM »
Wow, that is amazing to hear,,
 Makes you wonder whate happened to everything, from the metalwork of the stand to the fixtures and fittings etc? I pit has always intrigued me whether the stand was sold and some of it re-erected else where ( well  sections of it anyway). A lot of the old tracks that shut down sold their grandstands to be built elsewhere, like non league football grounds etc. Does anyone have any knowledge of this happening. As far as I know the whole stadium was simply bulldozed and sold for scrap. One thing I have noticed and this is just an idea...... When the stadium was demolished there was a small patch of wasteland next to the end house of Churchill road where it meets Baxter road ( by where the back gates to the stadium use to be. I have an Ariel photo of the stadium just before it was demolished and this was definitely wasteland. In that area now there is a small builders yard. Around it there is grey Flint walls like they had at the stadium and even more noticeable is that the gates to the yard look very old and have green corrugated sheets on them that look donkeys years old. I would bet money that these were taken from the demolition site to be used to build a yard. If this is so then a small part of the stadium does still exist in a small way. I have photos of this site but I don't seem to be able to post them on here!! Anyone else got any similar info?

Offline ron copus

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #8 on: 21 September, 2017, 07:04:41 PM »
You can bet your life these gates were parts  of the stadium.. They are the right colour.

Offline Jason Steele

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #9 on: 21 September, 2017, 07:50:58 PM »
I have been trying to post the picture of them on here but haven't been able to........ I'm taking it that you have been looking on google street view after what I posted, or was you aware of these already Ron? They surely have to be from the stadium don't they? I have so much quirky information to share on here about the stadium !

Offline MickG

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #10 on: 21 September, 2017, 08:55:52 PM »
There are some images of West Ham Stadium on the internet. These are with thanks to defenctspeedway.co.uk

A Google image search for West Ham Speedway will find these and others.







Offline ron copus

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #11 on: 21 September, 2017, 09:42:44 PM »
HI Jason ..
Yes the fence was green// the one that backed on to the waste land had points cut into it to stop us  climbing over ''
So we burrowed underneath,,

Offline Laramie

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #12 on: 21 September, 2017, 09:48:06 PM »
Hi Jason.I expect you have tried archistadia-en.blogspot.co.uk Lost grounds West Ham stadium London .There is a photo of the restaurant at the stadium and photo was from London Borough of Newham Heritage Services.They are at 30 Romford Rd .Link on ilondon.co.uk .Wonder if they might have some photos or shed some light on your queries.
I went to watch speedway and stock car racing a couple of times,but my sister went a lot.I will see if she remembers anything. There must be plans held somewhere.
Good luck with the search!

Offline Jason Steele

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #13 on: 27 September, 2017, 01:39:15 PM »
Does anyone have a contact number for Newham heritage or Newham council archives. Brian Belton ( who has written lots of books on sport in West Ham and who I am in contact with ) said the council had plans of the stadium but they have never responded to my emails? Any help would be greatly appreciated! A very interesting fact I have been told is that on greyhound nights absolutely nobody used the upstairs seating area..... how every that must have been looking at it packed below!!

Offline Laramie

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Re: West Ham speedway / greyhound stadium
« Reply #14 on: 27 September, 2017, 05:19:38 PM »
Hi Jason .The number I found for  Newham Heritage was 0208 4306393
And they are at 30 Romford Rd London E 15 4BZ