After the 1908 Summer Olympics the White City area was used for further exhibitions but the stadium began to be underused. By 1922 attempts had been made to sell it and it is reputed to have been in a very poor state by 1926. During the Februarys of 1926 and 1927 the stadium was used for the British Industries Fair before the public announcement that the Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) had purchased the stadium following on from the success experienced by the company at the nation's first greyhound meetings in Manchester at Belle Vue Stadium.
It would be the GRA’s second stadium and the old running and cycle tracks were grassed over. A new restaurant was built and covered terracing was constructed. The Metropolitan Railway reopened their Wood Lane station in preparation for the race nights.
The first greyhounds moved into the kennels on 20 May and the first private trial was planned for 30 May with racing starting on 1 June but delays ensued. The first meeting finally took place on Monday 20 June 1927 with the first race won by a greyhound called Charlie Cranston. Entry Badge, the 1927 English Greyhound Derby winner, also ran on the opening night. There was a capacity of 93,000 and club house accommodation for 1,000 people more than the original seating capacity in 1908.
The track had a large 498 circumference with long straights of 120 yards described as good sweeping turns suitable for strong galloping type dogs. The hare system was an outside trolley type and the GRA’s finances were helped with the use of an automatic totalisator.
The English Greyhound Derby was inaugurated in 1927 followed by the Champion Hurdle (renamed the Grand National) the following year. The Oaks (for bitches only) would complete a trio of classic races. The GRA purchased the Hook estate at Northaw some 13 miles from the centre of London. They saw it as the ideal place for GRA trainers to train greyhounds for White City and Harringay Stadium which was their third track to open, and later other London tracks. The 140 acres of park and grassland became famous within the industry.
The Derby competition became the primary target for all greyhound connections. The first winner was Entry Badge who picked up 1,000, he was trained by local trainer Joe Harmon and had won a race on opening night. The following year all qualifying rounds would be held at White City which had not been the case in 1927.
In 1929 Mick the Miller arrived for his first Derby from Ireland and captured the public’s imagination sending greyhound racing into most households in Britain and Ireland. His successful defence of the title one year later drew a 50,000 crowd and the controversial final of 1931 attracted 70,000. Major Percy Brown was installed as Racing Manager (RM) in 1931 arriving from sister track Belle Vue and greyhounds that won the Derby over the following years found fame.
In 1936 the stadium introduced the Wood Lane Stakes and the 'White City', the former would remain an important race throughout the years but the latter was less known despite rewards that came second only to the Derby in terms of prize money. It was an invitation race for the sports top greyhounds but only lasted until the start of the war. In 1937 the Springbok and GRA Stakes was inaugurated for novice hurdlers and stayers respectively. Early track trainers included Leslie Reynolds, William Dixon, Albert Jonas, Les Parry and Harry Buck. A greyhound called Brave Don was the first to be transported to Britain from Ireland by air. He came into the kennels of Leslie Reynolds following a flight from Dublin to Croydon.
A record 92,000 people attended the 1939 English Greyhound Derby and the tote turnover set new records of £14,341 for a single race and £114,780 for a meeting. Using historic inflation (2015) this equates to £7 million for one meeting.
White City was the first track to install a photo finish camera in 1945 and the sport remained a national pastime after the war with the annual tote turnover for White City in 1946 being £17,576,190 (2015 equivalent £661 million).
In 1946 Bahs Choice went undefeated through the Wood Lane Stakes and on 6 June 1946 in a Derby trial, he recorded 28.99 sec to become the first dog in the world to break 29sec over 525 yards. Quare Times broke the track record twice during the 1946 event which led to Major Brown organising a match race between the pair at White City on August Bank Holiday Monday. Quare Times won the race setting a new world record for the 550 yards. Also in 1946 another new event was introduced called the Longcross Cup.
In 1949, three new sea-food bars attract more than 4,000 customers on race nights and the track employs 14 part time staff to cope with the demand.
In December 1955 Spanish Battleship travelled to England for the first time for a special match race with Duet leader and Hi There at White City. Pigalle Wonder and Mile Bush Pride won the Derby during the 1950s and the Gimcrack (later called The Challenge) race was introduced in 1959 with the Oaks moving to sister track Harringay.
In 1964 trainer Randolph Singleton was transferred to White City from Belle Vue and the GRA extended its board by adding Major Percy Brown, John Cearns (son of W.J Cearns) and Charles Chandler Jr. to the directors. Arthur Aldridge former RM of Powderhall Stadium and Belle Vue was brought in as the new White City RM. Camira Flash owned by the Duke of Edinburgh won the Derby for White City for only the third time.
A story broke in 1969 that the GRA had granted an option to Stock Conversion and Investment Ltd to purchase greyhound racing’s premier track White City for redevelopment. The official line was that a new modern White City stadium would be built in the remaining four acres from the existing sixteen. A greyhound reporter called Neil Martin stated this move must spell death to all sport there in time – and in my opinion greyhound racing too Fellow reporter John Bower had a different view that it would create a wonderful new stadium, a view seemingly given substance by GRA announcing that the architects plans were already drawn up. The future of the stadium was unknown.
Patricias Hope won his second Derby and Sherrys Prince won his third consecutive Grand National victory in 1972, an added bonus for White City was the fact that his trainer Colin West had recently joined the track. West and the Cambridgeshire competition had transferred from the recently closed West Ham Stadium. In 1972 GRA Director of racing Major Percy Brown retired after 40 years in the sport, his replacement was the Arthur Aldridge. In 1975 the track switched to metres under the supervision of RM Bob Rowe.
During 1982 Bob Rowe relinquished his position to take up the role of chief racing manager of the GRA with John Collins brought in as the new RM. Also in 1982 trainer Joe Pickering (who joined the track in 1956) retired as did Colin West leaving White City two trainers short. They appointed Graham Mann and Frank Melville. Randy Singleton retired soon after.
The 1969 option to sell to Stock Conversion and Investment Ltd for redevelopment had almost been forgotten due to the fact that racing had continued for another 15 years but in 1984 the redevelopment plans went ahead without plans to build a new stadium. The final Derby took place in late June before the final meeting on 22 September 1984. Hastings Girl trained by Tommy Foster was the last winner and before the month had passed demolition teams had demolished the historic stadium.
The GRA, the company who introduced greyhound racing to Britain had sold the sports premier track which became a collection of BBC buildings.
English Greyhound Derby
The Longcross Cup was a competition held from 1946 until the stadium closed.
|1946||Overtime||Woodrow – Hardwick Elsie||Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon)||32.03||7-2|
|1947||Highland Melody||Harry Spoor (New Cross)||32.50||10-11f|
|1948||Sheevaun||Bellas Prince – Honey Gale||Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon)||31.29||4-7f|
|1949||Sheevaun||Bellas Prince – Honey Gale||Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon)||31.08||4-11f|
|1950||Despot O'Leer||Bahs Choice – Baytown Nightingale||Leslie Reynolds (Wembley)||30.58||2-1|
|1951||Derryboy Blackbird||Mad Tanist – Swiss Miss||Stan Martin (Wimbledon)||31.00||11-8f|
|1952||Seal Astra||Astras Son – Atomic Seal||Tom Lightfoot (White City)||30.28||4-5f|
|1953||Oriel Olga||Slaney Record - Janet||Dal Hawkesley (West Ham)||30.60||7-2|
|1954||Lizette||Master Captain – Dorothy Ann||Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon)||31.32||8-11f|
|1955||Midnight Colonist||Humming Bee – Midnight Candle||Reg Bosley (Hackney)||31.99||6-1|
|1956||Yon Cassius||Mad Astley – Dusky Jewel||Ronnie Melville (Wembley)||30.82||6-5f|
|1957||Christmas Island||Shaggy Lad – Pair of Queens||T Harris (Private)||30.64||11-4|
|1958||Knock Hill Chieftain||Galtee Cleo – Coolkill Mistress||Stan Martin (Wimbledon)||30.55||4-6f|
|1959||Merville||The Grand Champion – Fleeting Ash||Ken Appleton (West Ham)||30.96||13-8f|
|1960||Prince of Speed||Prince of Bermuda – Seafield Biddy||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||30.44||100-8|
|1961||Workaway||The Grand Champion – Templenoe Fireaway||George Waterman (Wimbledon)||30.75|
|1962||Dainty Spark||Hi There – Wild Princess||Fred Taylor (White City)||30.38|
|1963||Lucky Joan II||Recorded Course - Astraea||John Bassett (Clapton)||30.64|
|1964||Failte Mal||Welcome Home - Moko||Bill Dash (Private)||30.62||11-4|
|1965||O'Leary||Solar Prince – Cracked Kate||Jim Hookway (Owlerton)||30.66|
|1966||Wonder Hill||Clopook – The Ivy Bar||G.Carrigill (Private)||31.03|
|1967||Monalee Champion||Crazy Parachute – Sheila At Last||Frank Conlon (Private)||29.82|
|1968||Switch Hitter ||Rocket Ship - Lannon Lass|
|1970||Tullyallen||Hi Frequency – Cremona Maid||Clare Orton (Wimbledon)||30.42|
|1971||Monas Flash||Forward Flash – Shee Mone||41.42|
|1972||Brookside Prince||Tell Nobody – Brookside Louise||Frank Melville (Harringay)||41.37||1-1f|
|1973||Commutering||Dusty Trail – No Mabel||Frank Melville (Harringay)||40.87||3-1|
|1974||Westpark Mustard||Newdown Heather – April Merry||Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley)||41.03||4-11f|
|1975||Westmead Bounty||Westmead County - Hacksaw||A J Mobley (Private)||42.23|
|1976||Sallys Cobbler||Cobbler – Pineapple Jam||John Bassett (Private)||40.85||5-4f|
|1977||Fly By Night||Moordyk Champion – Fly Snowdrop||Colin West (White City)||42.99||2-1|
|1978||Black Legend||Spectre II – Nora Again||Ted Dickson (Slough)||41.81|
|1979||Beaverwood Tony||Foreign Exchange – Handy High||Paddy Milligan (Private)||42.53|
|1980||Musical Lady||Sage – Cois Na Gorm||41.18|
|1981||Decoy Boom||Westmead County – Ka Boom||Joe Cobbold (Ipswich)||42.20|
|1982||Alfa My Son||Alfa Boy – Tough Jackie||Leon Steed - Cambridge||42.65|
|1983||The Italian Job||Cosmic Orbit – Stylish Dolores||Gunner Smith (Brighton)||41.26|
|1984||Kasama Trac||Butchers Trac- Lady Kasama||George Curtis (Brighton)||42.02|
1946-1970 (550 yards), 1971-1974 (725 yards), 1977-1984 (680 metres)
Wood Lane Stakes
The Wood Lane Stakes was a competition held from 1936 until the stadium closed.
|1936||Shove Halfpenny||Town Treasure-Princess Karl||Jack Harvey (Wembley)|
|1937||Lewis of Waterhall||Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon)||30.41||6-1|
|1938||Demotic Mack||Beef Cutlet – Kaiti Hill||Charlie Cross (Clapton)||29.85||7-1|
|1939||Ballyjoker||Beef Cutlet – Jeanne of Waterhall||Sidney Orton (Wimbledon)||29.28||7-4|
|1946||Bahs Choice||Tokio – Chittering Duchess||Bob Burls (Wembley)||29.48||11-10f|
|1947||Dante II||Well Squared – Olives Idol||Wilf France Harringay)||29.92||2-1|
|1948||Priceless Border||Clonahard Border - Priceless Sandills||Leslie Reynolds (Wembley)||29.18||1-5f|
|1949||Behattan Marquis||Countryman - Behattan||Bob Burls (Wembley)|
|1950||Red Wind||Dysertmore Prince – Light Biddy||Fred Trevillion (Private)||29.38||5-6f|
|1951||Fancy Hero||Trabolgan Prince – Carriganea Lass||Jack Harvey (Wembley)||30.23||5-4f|
|1952||Seal Astra||Astras Son – Atomic Seal||Tom Lightfoot (White City)||29.15||4-9f|
|1953||Midnight Charlotte||Rimmells Black – Midnight Cradle||Stan Martin (Wimbledon)||29.80||100-6|
|1954||Home Luck||Trevs Cutter – Queens Wood||Frank Johnson (Private)||28.33||4-9f|
|1955||Coolkill Chieftain||Celtic Chief - Coolkill Darkie||Jack Harvey (Wembley)||29.26||8-1|
|1956||Duet Leader||Champion Prince - Derryluskin Lady||Tom Paddy Reilly (Walthamstow)||29.00||8-13f|
|1957||Racing Don||Jim Syder Jr. (Wembley)||29.27||7-1|
|1958||Beware Champ||The Grand Champion – Beware of Me||Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon)||28.93||4-1|
|1959||Pigalle Wonder||Champion Prince – Prairie Peg||Jim Syder Jr. (Wembley)||29.47||4-7f|
|1960||Long Story||Flash Jack – I'm Yours||Jim Syder Jr. (Private)||28.83||2-1|
|1961||Oregon Prince||Knock Hill Chieftain – Burleighs Fancy||Phil Rees Sr. (Private)||28.90|
|1962||Westpark||Hi There - Faoide||Tom Paddy Reilly (Walthamstow)||29.00|
|1963||Westpark||Hi There - Faoide||Tom Paddy Reilly (Walthamstow)||29.04|
|1964||Atomic Knockrour||Knockrour Again – Atomic Tulip||Jim Irving (Private)||29.01||100-8|
|1965||Booked Out||Knock Hill Chieftain – Direct Lead||Eric Adkins (Private)||29.90|
|1966||Morden Mist||Super Orange - Denver Hetty||Clare Orton (Wimbledon)||29.45|
|1967||Double Rock||Printer's Present – Dolores Daughter||Paddy Milligan (Private)||28.94|
|1968||Yellow Printer||Printer's Prince – Yellow Streak||John Bassett (Clapton)||28.91|
|1969||Avondhu Iron||Mad Era – Knock Rose||Paddy Milligan (Private)||29.16||7-1|
|1970||Tullyallen||Hi Frequency – Cremona Maid||Clare Orton (Wimbledon)||29.44||10-1|
|1971||Linmaree||Spectre II - Nevasca||Colin West (White City)||28.85|
|1972||After the Show||Dusty Trail – No Mabel||Jim Singleton Harringay)||29.24||11-4|
|1973||Skyhawk Monalee||Arkle – Little Play Girl||Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley)||29.05||8-15f|
|1974||Myrtown||Myross Again – Longstown Lassie||Eddie Moore (White City, Man)||28.68||8-11f|
|1975||Sampson Flash||Clomoney Jet – Eyre Pride||Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley)||29.98|
|1976||Princeley Moment||Motor Light – Star Expert||Wally Ginzel (Wembley)||29.41||13-2|
|1977||Swibo||Monalee Champion – Damsels Speck||Terry Dartnall (Reading)||30.17|
|1978||Instant Gambler||Itsachampion – Sabrina||Barbara Tompkins (Private)||30.42|
|1979||Our Rufus||Rail Ship – Geraldine Gold||John Coleman (Wembley)||30.02|
|1980||Jon Barrie||Clashing – Famous Heart||Ray Andrews (Leeds)||29.99|
|1981||Corrakelly Air||Supreme Fun – Quarry Streaker||Charlie Coyle (Private)||30.58||9-4|
|1982||Chimney Sweep||Violet Hall – Salubrious Lady||Ray Andrews (Belle Vue)||30.10||11-10f|
|1983||Aglish Poacher||Knockrour Slave – Aglish Pilgrim||Jerry Fisher (Reading)||29.43|
|1984||Game Ball||Sand Man – Stay In Business||Jerry Fisher (Reading)||29.74|
1936-1975 (525 yards), 1976-1984 (500 metres)
The White City
|1936||Safe Rock||Danielli-ABC||Fred Wilson (Rochester)||31.21||15-2|
|1937||Ballyhennessy Sandills||White Sandills – Soraca Deas||Sidney Orton (Wimbledon)||28.39||9-4jf|
|1938||Quarter Day||Lawyers Fee - House Keeper||Joe Harmon (Wimbledon)||29.58||2-1f|
1936 (550 yards), 1937 (500 yards), 1937 (525 yards)
The G.R.A (Greyhound Racing Association) Stakes was a competition held from 1937 until the stadium closed.
|1937||Maidens Delight||Maidens Boy – Springfield Sal||Jim Syder Sr. (Wembley)||42.03||11-10f|
|1939||Gretas Rosary||Mick The Miller - Greta Ranee||Eddie Wright Harringay)||41.70||11-8f|
|1946||Coynes Castle||Castledown Lad – Unequalled Lady||Ken Newham (Warrington)||40.53||5-2|
|1949||Alvaston Muir||Model Dasher – Alvaston Heather Blue||Stan Martin (Wimbledon)||42.10||7-4f|
|1950||Nervous Paddy||Paddy The Champion – Elusive Bess||L M Hiscock (Stamford Bridge)||41.09||3-1|
|1952||Pass On Express||Tom Lightfoot (White City)||45.85||8-11f|
|1953||Border Lad||Wally Hancox (Hall Green)||47.10||7-1|
|1954||Sundown Silver Stream||Sandown Champion- Knight Shade||Jim Syder Jr. (Wembley)||46.16||6-1|
|1955||Oriel Olga||Slaney Record - Janet||Dal Hawkesley (West Ham)||46.32||1-4f|
|1956||Speir Bhean||Maddest Neighbour - My Dreamland||Jack Harvey (Wembley)||45.86||7-4|
|1957||Rathmore Rainbow||April Tanist – Rathmore Tutsy||I H Morse Harringay)||46.60||2-7f|
|1958||Holystone Mischief||Holystone Lifelong – Elphin Girl||Jimmy Purnell (Private)||46.97||11-4|
|1959||Noras Jewel||Imperial Dancer – Noras Birthday||Jack Harvey (Wembley)||46.25||7-2|
|1960||Chinese Rose||The Grand Champion – Rose Confection||Tim Forster Harringay)||45.48||100-8|
|1961||The Cherry Tree||Cheeky Tippy – Clonbrick Rose||Harry Tasker (Private)||50.09|
|1962||The Cherry Tree||Cheeky Tippy – Clonbrick Rose||Harry Tasker (Private)||50.79|
|1963||Hillstride||Knockhill Chieftain – Miss Lorraine||Tom Perry (Private)||51.52||2-9f|
|1964||Ballymotey Boy||Solar Prince – July Flower||Dal Hawkesley (West Ham)||51.50|
|1965||Boothroyden Flash||Crazy Parachute – Knockmullagh Lady||Harry Bamford (Private)||51.86|
|1966||Ballyloo Hind||Hi There – Craan Majestic||Sid Ryall (Private)||50.42|
|1967||Come on Dolores||Knock Hill Chieftain – Sultry Peach||Ernie Gaskin Sr. (Private)||50.30|
|1968||Poor Mick||Crazy Parachute - Dearnside||Randy Singleton (White City)||50.42||9-2|
|1969||Farma Zora||Mad Era – Rorys Sally||Phil Rees Sr. (Wimbledon)||51.04||11-4|
|1970||Hiver Whitenose||Crazy Society – Hiver Swanky||Jim Morgan (Private)||50.85|
|1972||The Marchioness||Faithful Hope – Trojan Silver||Reg Young (Private)||51.37||4-6f|
|1973||Balliniska Gun||Russian Gun - Parlando||Arthur Hancock (Brighton)||45.09||25-1|
|1974||Westpark Mustard||Newdown Heather – April Merry||Tommy Johnston Jr. (Wembley)||44.73||1-5f|
|1975||Westmead Bounty||Westmead County – Hack Saw||A J Mobley (Private)||45.86|
|1977||Montreen||Moordyke Spot – Avondale||Harry Bamford (Belle Vue)||44.68||7-4|
|1981||Decoy Boom||Westmead County – Ka Boom||Joe Cobbold (Ipswich)|
|1982||Paradise Lost||Paradise Spectre – Gerards Sally||George Curtis (Brighton)||44.67||9-2|
1937-50 (725 yards), 1938 & 1940-45 (not held), 1952-60 & 1973-1975 (800 yards), 1961-72 (880 yards) 1976-1982 (730 metres)
The Gimcrack was renamed The Challenge in 1967 and was a competition held from 1959 until 1972.
|1959||Miss Cheerful||Cheerful Chariot – Miss Mink||Dave Geggus (Walthamstow)||29.33||100-30|
|1960||Wheatfield Countess||Our Viscount – Wheatfield Satellite||Stan Martin (Wimbledon)||29.88||100-30|
|1961||The Grand Canal||Champion Prince – The Grand Duchess||Paddy Dunphy (Ireland)||29.30|
|1962||Dromin Glory||Hi There – Dromin Jet||John Bassett (Clapton)||29.19|
|1963||Fairys Chum||Knockhill Chieftain – Fairy Julia||Bob Burls (Wembley)||29.15|
|1964||Hack Up Chieftain||Knockhill Chieftain – Bunclody Queen||Randy Singleton (White City)||29.36||9-1|
|1965||Clonmannon Flash||Prairie Flash - Dainty Sister||Jim Hookway (Owlerton)||29.37|
|1966||Dusty Trail||Printers Present - Dolores Daughter||Paddy Milligan (Private)||29.12|
|1967||Shady Parachute||Crazy Parachute – Shady Contempera||Phil Rees Sr. (Wimbledon)||28.94|
|1969||Kilbelin Style||Prairie Flash – Clomoney Grand||Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley)||29.07||10-11f|
|1970||Linmaree||Spectre - Nevasca||Les Parry (White City)||29.02|
|1972||Priory Hi||Maryville Hi - Miss Hi Land||Pen Andrews (Private)||29.04||7-2|
- 1959-72 (525 yards)
|525y||Mick the Miller||29.82||16.07.1929||Derby heats, world record|
|525y||Ryland R||29.69||16.07.1931||Derby heats|
|525y||Future Cutlet||29.62||07.1932||Derby heats|
|525y||Wattle Bark||29.36||06.1937||Derby heats|
|525y||Shove Halfpenny||29.36||19.06.1937||Derby semi-finals|
|525y||Wattle Bark||29.26||26.06.1937||Derby final|
|525y||Quare Times||28.95||06.1946||Derby heats, world record|
|525y||Quare Times||28.82||29.06.1946||Derby consolation, world record|
|525y||Priceless Border||28.64||06.1948||Derby heats|
|525y||Pauls Fun ||28.64||19.06.1954||Derby semi-finals|
|525y||Kilcaskin Kern||28.63||06.1958||Derby heats|
|525y||Mile Bush Pride||28.60||06.1958||Derby semi finals|
|525y||Pigalle Wonder||28.44||21.06.1958||Derby semi finals|
|525y||Yellow Printer||28.30||03.06.1968||Derby heats, world record|
|525y||Super Rory||28.26||17.06.1972||Derby semi-finals|
|550y||Quare Times||30.38||05.08.1946||Match v Bahs Choice|
|700y||Mick The Moocher||40.68||30.03.1935|
|725y||Cash For Dan||40.16||28.06.1969|
|880y||The Cherry Tree||49.99||17.03.1962|
|880y||Cash For Dan ||49.44||16.10.1969||TV Trophy final|
|1025y||Rozels Blue Girl||59.52||27.06.1964|
|525yH||Barrowside||29.43||07.05.1955||Grand National final|
|268m||Travara Rock ||15.67||1981|
|500m||Sallys Cobbler||29.31||06.1975||Derby heats|
|500m||Slippery Slave||29.26||06.1975||Derby Heats|
|500m||Myrtown||29.23||21.06.1975||Derby semi finals|
|500m||Glen Rock||29.16||1977||World record|
|500m||Balliniska Band||29.16||25.06.1977||Derby final|
|500m||Parkdown Jet ||29.09||20.06.1981||Derby semi-finals|
|500m||Hay Maker Mack||28.95||25.06.1983|
|680m||Brampton Badger ||40.80||27.06.1981|
|730m||Fair Reward ||43.93||27.06.1981|
|730m||Westown Adam ||59.81||1981||=track record|
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