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New Cross Stadium

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New Cross Stadium
LocationOld Kent Road, South East London
Openedearly 1900s
Closed3 April 1969

New Cross Stadium, Hornshay Street, Old Kent Road, in South East London was opened in the early 1900s as an athletic stadium but was mainly used for greyhound racing and speedway. The ground was adjacent to The Old Den,[1] the then home of Millwall F.C. and was used as a training ground by the club when they did not have facilities of their own. The track was often referred to as 'The Frying Pan'. It was built inside the greyhound track and had banking all the way round.[2] At the time of its closure in 1969 the stadium had a capacity of 26,000.[3] The stadium was demolished in 1975.

Stock car racing

The birth of oval track stock car racing in the UK and the first ever BriSCA Formula One Stock Car Racing took place at the New Cross Stadium, London on Good Friday, 16 April 1954. The final was won by car 11, Chevalier D'Orgeix. Racing continued here until 1956. Three meetings also took place in 1968 whilst Harringay was being revamped.

During 1966 racing at the stadium was promoted by Spedeworth International and had its own team, the London Sparrows, who also had Wimbledon Stadium as its home track. The London Sparrows team included Del Stickings, Dave Pierce, Graham North, Johnny Melia, Ken Lambert, John O’Hagon, John Watts, Les Collins, Todd Sweeney and Harry Andrews.


The New Cross Lambs (1934–35), then the New Cross Tamers (1936) speedway teams raced there before the second world war. The New Cross Rangers speedway team rode at the venue from 1937 to 1963.[4][5] The New Cross club colours were a black Maltese cross on a burnt orange background. The significance of the cross was purely down to the 'Cross' in the team's name. The colours were brought with the team from Crystal Palace when promoter Fred Mockford transferred the whole operation.

On 28 August 1935, English rider Tom Farndon was involved in an accident with Lambs team mate Ron Johnson in a second half scratch race final. Farndon collided with Johnson which hurled him through the air and saw him land head first on the track (some reports say that he hit the outside fence before hitting the track). He died two days later on 30 August in Miller General Hospital in Greenwich, without regaining consciousness. Farndon had won the Star Riders' Championship (the forerunner to the Speedway World Championship) in 1933. He had also won the London Riders' Championship in 1934 and 1935 when a member of the Lambs.

In an era when death in speedway racing was generally accepted due to the relative lack of safety, Farndon was the only rider to die as a result of a crash at New Cross Stadium.

Filming site of the 1949 film Once a Jolly Swagman (released as Maniacs on Wheels in the US) starring Dirk Bogarde as a speedway rider and Sid James as the team promoter.

Greyhound racing

The greyhound track was constructed and had opened by June 1933, it was small compared to the average London track and the racing was initially independent (unaffiliated to a governing body). The track was a very tight circumference of 354 yards with a surface of peat, short straights of 86 yards and heavily banked bends. The stadium could accommodate 25,000 people.[6]

Before the start of the war the stadium became fully licensed with the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) with the first meeting under rules taking place in January 1938. The Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) also took a controlling interest during 1938.[7] Early trainers included Albert Bedford, John 'Jack' Kennedy’, Bill Smith and Harry Spoor. In 1939 the track introduced the Berkeley Cup over 415 yards as their principal event and it soon became a prominent race on the open race circuit.[6]

After the war Totalisator turnover figures peaked at £3,095,736.[8] The healthy bank balance of the New Cross Greyhounds Ltd Company and the GRA allowed the construction of three new covered stands, two on the home straight and one on the back straight. Restaurant buffet bars, tea buffet bars and licensed bars were to be found in all three enclosures.[6]

In 1946 a new competition called the Greenwich Cup was introduced at the track. The hare system used was a 'Sumner' and the kennel facilities for the New Cross trainers were situated at nearby Silwood Street within ten minutes walking distance of the track.[9]

Trainer Jack Tallantire joined the track in 1952 and Joe Pickering experienced great success that included a double English/Scottish Grand National win by Prince Lawrence in 1954 and 1955. Pickering also lifted the Trafalgar Cup with Our Tim II. A third major competition called the Ben Truman Stakes was introduced in 1962 when the training ranks consisted of Norman Chambers, Sanders, John Shevlin, Smith and Charlie Smoothy.[9]

John Field arrived as the new Racing Manager in the 1960s and in August 1968 the usual racing schedule of Thursday and Saturday nights was altered after the introduction of Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service (BAGS) fixtures when the Stamford Bridge closed to greyhound racing.[9]


The BAGS racing lasted less than one year when the stadium closed with relatively little notice on the 3 April 1969 after issues over the lease with landowners British Rail.[10]

The stadium was left derelict for several years until it was demolished in 1975 as part of a plan to redevelop the football ground, although those plans fell through. The site is now a public open space called Bridge House Meadows. Millwall F.C. have since moved to a new site north of the stadium, with houses now occupying the location of their old ground.


Greenwich Cup

Berkeley Cup

Year Winner Trainer Time SP
1939 Return Fare II Arthur Jonas (Stamford Bridge) 25.11 5-2
1941 Ballynennan Moon Sidney Orton (Wimbledon) 30.07 13-8f
1943 Wavecrest II Tom Johnston Sr. (Private) 30.23 3-1
1946 Winsome Seal Gordon Nicholson (Catford) 24.39 1-5f
1947 Latest Selection Lilah Shennan (Private) 24.85 7-1
1948 Jacks Arrow Stanley Biss (Clapton) 24.37 100-8
1949 Buzzing Afterwards Alf Turner (Catford) 24.13 5-1
1950 Derrycrussan Tom Smith (Clapton) 24.22 4-9f
1951 Pluckanes Belle Jack Harvey (Wembley) 24.10 5-1
1952 Kale Seed Gunner Smith (Private) 24.12 5-2
1953 Home Luck Stan Martin (Wimbledon) 23.68 1-6f
1954 Baby Joe Harry Spoor (New Cross) 24.08 8-1
1955 Rosey Coaldust Paddy McEvoy (Private) 24.08 8-1
1956 Rosey Coaldust Paddy McEvoy (Private) 24.24 2-1jf
1957 Charming Style Henry Parsons (Crayford) 24.26 7-4f
1958 Town Prince Leslie Reynolds (Wembley) 23.97 11-10f
1959 Sporting Magger Dal Hawkesley (West Ham) 24.43 100-7
1960 Victory Streak John Shevlin (New Cross) 23.80 2-1
1961 Wonder Blue Ernie Butler (Private) 23.64
1962 Greenane Boulevarde Dennis Hannafin (Wimbledon) 24.48
1963 Greenane Boulevarde Dennis Hannafin (Wimbledon) 23.99
1964 Tralong Jet John Shevlin (New Cross) 24.54 4-1
1965 Mimi II I.M.Regan (Private) 34.80
1966 Fawn Poacher Ernie Butler (Private) 34.90
1967 Big Rocket Henry Parsons (Crayford) 35.34
1968 Local View John Shevlin (New Cross) 35.22

(415 yards)

Ben Truman Stakes

Year Winner Breeding Trainer Time SP
1962 Greenane Boulevarde Champion Prince – Lady Item Dennis Hannafin (Wimbledon) 34.86
1963 Riobally Chum Riobally Shaun – Ivys Torment B.Saunders (New Cross) 34.94
1964 Little Baytown Baytown Drone - Little Puss G A Harding (Private) 34.64 11-8f
1965 Feakles Foot Feakles Luck – Oxgrove Dinkie Ernie Butler (Private) 35.36
1966 Galtymore Fire The Grand Fire – Nancys Twilight Norman Chambers (New Cross) 35.02
1967 Wattlehurst Riot Wattlehurst Rocket – Charity Ball Sid Ryall (Private) 35.10
1969 Meanus Donal Movealong Donal – Todays Best Wilf France (Harringay) 4.69 5-2jf
1970 Sing The Song Lovely Chieftain – Much Obliged Tim Forster (Harringay) 34.43 2-1
1971 Pepper Joe Shanes Legacy – Kirbys Turn Charlie Coyle (Private) 35.34 1-2f
1972 Ramdeen Stuart Sallys Story – Any Streak Norman Oliver (Brough Park) 35.03 11-8f
1973 Case Money Booked Out – Jamboree Ted Parker (Harringay) 35.44 1-4f
1974 Gay Kathy Monalee Champion – Kals Kathy Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley) 35.30 2-1
1975 Portlairge Tipp Spectre – Hack It Tipp Mike Smith (Catford) 36.42 4-1
1976 Kings Comet Cobbler – Robins Silver Mike Smith (Catford) 35.30 4-9f
1977 Glenvale Prince Empty Pride – April Lee Terry Duggan (Romford) 35.18 2-1
1978 Quakerfield Fun Supreme Fun - Menace Stan Gudgin (Harringay) 35.30 28-1
1979 Quest For Gold Faction Fighter – Noble Lynn John Cox (Slough) 36.00 7-2
1980 Dans Arrow Itsachampion – Ivy Hall Sally Pat Mullins (Cambridge) 35.11 2-5f
1981 Metalina Gaily Noble – Double Disaster Jim Sherry (Reading) 35.82 20-1
1982 Coomlogane Style Satori Style – Mountleader Inca John Horsfall (Catford) 34.90 6-4
1983 Double Handful Glin Fane – Solieado Arthur Hitch (Oxford) 46.51 9-2
1984 Lakefield Blue Xmas Holiday – Sheila Alone Kenny Linzell (Walthamstow) 46.26 7-1
1985 Rosewood Girl Sail On II – Leafy Glade Kenny Linzell (Walthamstow) 45.98 5-1
1986 Lamalighter Brief Candle – Andreas Blue Jenny March (Peterborough) 46.37 7-1
1987 Winsor Way McKays Way – Lady Sunday Fred Wiseman (Milton Keynes) 46.37 4-5f

(1962-67 New Cross), (1969–70 Charlton), (1971-87 Catford)

Track records

Greyhound Time Date
415 Bantown Banner 24.02 31.05.1938
415 Floating Dingy 23.92 13.07.1946
415 Home Luck 23.48 13.04.1954
550 Prince Norroy 32.26 25.10.1941
550 Tuturama 31.26 1963
600 Kinauld Demonstrator 35.17 26.07.1938
600 Shadowlands Delight 35.02 06.09.1947
600 Gambling Dick 34.95 09.1951
600 Silent Leader 34.50 27.08.1964
770 The Black Freak 46.12 11.1958
770 Magic Brooklyn =46.12 12.1959
770 Buckwheat 45.38 26.10.1963
880 Ray-O-Vitol 52.62 02.06.1962
415 H Knockbrack Flyer 24.82 06.04.1938
415 H Vintners Cup 24.16 13.04.1957
600 H Mira Chara 36.57 24.08.1939
600 H Mazel Tov 36.22 11.1958
600 H R.S.II 35.47 01.09.1962


  1. ^ Aerial photo of New Cross Stadium and The Den from 1962
  2. ^ Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
  3. ^
  4. ^ Jacobs, N. Speedway in London, ISBN 0-7524-2221-9
  5. ^, New Cross Speedway
  6. ^ a b c Tarter, P Howard (1949). Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd. p. 63.
  7. ^ ""Greyhound Racing Association Trust." Times, 1 Feb. 1938". The Times Digital Archive.
  8. ^ Particulars of Licensed tracks, table 1 Licensed Dog Racecourses. Licensing Authorities. 1946.
  9. ^ a b c Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  10. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. p. 419. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.

Coordinates: 51°28′55″N 0°2′56″W / 51.48194°N 0.04889°W / 51.48194; -0.04889

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New Cross Stadium
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