The Clapton Stadium, also known as Millfields Road, was a football ground and greyhound racing stadium in the Lower Clapton area of London.
|Location||Clapton, London, England|
|Record attendance||37,615 (football)|
|Clapton Orient (1896–1930)|
Greyhound racing (1928–1974)
The stadium was originally named Whittles Athletic Ground and was mostly used for whippet racing. It was built on top of an old fireworks manufactory on the north side of Millfields Road.
In 1896 Clapton Orient moved to the site from Pond Land Bridge, after which it became known as Millfields Road. The football club began redeveloping the stadium, with large embankments built around the pitch using slag from an adjacent power station.
Clapton Orient were elected to the Second Division of the Football League in 1905, and the first Football League was played at the ground on 9 September 1905, with Orient beating Hull City 1–0 in front of 3,000 spectators. In 1906 the first covered spectator facility was provided, when a 2,000-seat grandstand was built. This stand was sold to Wimbledon to use at their Plough Lane ground in 1923, and was replaced by a 3,000-seat stand.
Orient set their record League attendance at the ground on 16 March 1929 when 37,615 saw them lose 3–2 to Tottenham Hotspur. However, the club were in financial trouble at the end of the 1920s and were forced to leave the ground, moving to the Lea Bridge Stadium. Their last match at the ground was a 4–1 win over Brighton on 3 May 1930 with 8,763 in attendance.
Pre-World War II
In 1927 the Clapton Stadium Syndicate became joint tenants, and major alterations were made to the ground to allow for greyhound racing, costing over £80,000. An oval track was installed around the football pitch, with covered concrete terracing laid on the three sides away from the main stand. The new layout was designed by Owen Williams, and the ground became London's fourth greyhound track, staging its first meeting on 7 April 1928.
In 1928 the track hosted a new race over 400 yards that gained classic status called the Scurry Gold Cup. In 1930 the stadium opened its first restaurant and the stands were renovated becoming covered stands. The first Managing Director was H.Garland Wells who was joint vice president of the National Greyhound Racing Society and the company were called Clapton Stadium Ltd and also owned Reading, and later South Shields and Warrington. Clapton was described as a small difficult course with short straights (76 yards) and easy bends on a circumference of 359 yards with the hare system being a 'Centre Scott Magee Silent'. The nearby training quarters at Claverhambury Farm in Waltham Abbey had two hundred acres of grassland in rural surroundings with six resident trainers and six ranges of kennels with each range having a five acre plot for exercising.
In 1934 the track was represented in the 1934 English Greyhound Derby final by Wild Woolley locally trained by Harry Woolner and Joe Coral (Gala Coral Group) was a bookmaker at the track before his Empire grew. A second Derby final appearance by arrived in the 1938 English Greyhound Derby after Demotic Mack finished fifth for trainer Charles Cross. The same greyhound then emulated the feat one year later finishing third this time.
In 1939 the greyhound track underwent improvements and a second restaurant was built.
The stadium closed for short periods during the war but was still able to race at other times. The appointment of trainer Stan Biss was a success, he trained greyhounds called Local Interprize and Rimmells Black. Local Interprize a black dog went onto win the Welsh Greyhound Derby, the Gold Collar twice, the Cesarewitch, Scurry Gold Cup and reached the English Derby final twice. Garland-Wells died in 1948 and the stadium established notable events called the Metropolitan Cup, National Sprint, London Cup & National Open Hurdles.
In 1952 Clapton appointed trainer Jimmy Jowett from Warrington and there was another Derby final appearance with the Tom Smith trained Paddys Dinner. In 1953 the Director of Racing was Eric Godfrey and the Racing Manager was Mr H.J Richardson and the six resident trainers were John Snowball, Arch Whitcher, Clare Orton, Jimmy Jowett, Gordon Nicholson and Tom Smith. Also in 1953 a new lighting system was installed.
The stadium won its first Derby crown in 1956 after the Paddy McEvoy trained Dunmore King prevailed and five years later Palms Printer won the Derby claiming a second win for Paddy McEvoy. Dromin Glory was voted 1962 Greyhound of the year and a third Derby title in 1963 went to the John Bassett trained Lucky Boy Boy. The Claverhambury Farm, in Waltham Cross, produced six Derby winners between 1956 and 1972, they were Dunmore King, Palms Printer, Lucy Boy Boy, Chittering Clapton, Faithful Hope and Patricias Hope.
During 1963 Clapton Stadiums Ltd scrapped evening starting times in an attempt to stop the bookmaker shops from being able to take advantage of their off course betting following the introduction of the Betting and Gaming Act 1960 and in the same year the track hosted Pinewood Studios as they shot scenes for a new film starring Rita Tushingham and Mike Sarne called Bethnal Green.
The company sold Slough Stadium to the Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) in 1966 and the Clapton shareholders contemplated a bid from GRA which included Clapton Stadium, two training sites with 180 acres and an interest in the West Ham site. The deal went ahead later that year. Clapton was the first track to install a closed-circuit television race patrol camera in 1967 that was able to replay the races to the public.
The GRA and in particular the GRA Property Trust were actively selling prime areas of land to developers and there was uncertainty surrounding the track and it was dealt a blow when in 1968 all of the greyhounds were relocated to the Northaw Kennels from the Clapton kennels at Claverhambury Farm. Despite the sale of the kennels trainers Adam Jackson and Paddy Keane both secured Derby wins with Chittering Clapton and Faithful Hope respectively. A sixth Derby crown was won by the track when a greyhound with superstar status called Patricias Hope won 1972 English Greyhound Derby.
In 1969 the GRA sold the track to what was effectively a redevelopment company. The sale of the popular track caused much upset regardless of the fact that there were no immediate plans for closing. On 1 January 1974 the stadium closed and was later demolished making way for the Millfields housing estate in the early 1980s.
In the early 1930s the stadium was used as a major venue for boxing and also used for baseball.
Greyhound racing competitions
Scurry Gold Cup
|1928||Black Dot||Robert Linney (Clapton)||35.37|
|1929||Harry Hawker||Griffin (Clapton)||34.40|
|1930||Bewitching Eve||R Cooper (Clapton)||33.82|
|1931||Damaris||Paddy Quigley (West Ham)||33.47|
|1932||Waltz Chain||Arthur Doc Callanan (Wembley)||33.12|
|1933||Leap Year Rover||PJ Higgins (Clapton)||33.57|
|1934||Master Sam||Garretty (Private)||32.85|
|1935||Shed Labourer||Dal Hawkesley (Catford)||32.43|
|1936||Final Record||Stanley Biss (West Ham)||32.83|
|1937||Kemp||Harry Woolner (Catford)||32.83||4-1|
|1938||Islingham Prince||Johnny Bullock (Catford)||32.71||100-8|
|1939||Noble Man Junior (dead-heat)||Jimmy Jowett (Private)||32.79||5-2|
|1939||On The Strait (dead-heat)||Miss B Byles (Private)||32.79||10-1|
|1940||Congleton Tiger (dead-heat)||Arch Whitcher (Clapton)||22.70||9-2|
|1940||Trev's Transport (dead-heat)||Johnny Bullock (West Ham)||22.70||7-2|
|1941||Rochester Clipper||Miss Olive Motchman (Park Royal)||32.74||100-7|
|1942||Jamboree Reveller||Charlie Ashley Harringay)||32.70||7-2|
|1943||Ballynennan Moon||Sidney Orton (Wimbledon)||32.41||10-11f|
|1944||Midnight Parade||Sidney Orton (Wimbledon)||32.94||3-1|
|1945||Ferry Dancer||Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon)||32.75||100-7|
|1946||Trev's Fashion||Fred Trevillion (Private)||32.57||5-2|
|1947||Lovely Auburn||Stanley Biss (Clapton)||32.90||5-4f|
|1948||Northam Star||Leslie Reynolds (Wembley)||32.56||6-4f|
|1949||Kilbelin Iris||Stanley Biss (Clapton)||32.49||5-1|
|1950||April Song||S Tanner (Private)||33.01||10-1|
|1951||Aerial Mail||Bob Burls (Wembley)||32.63||5-2|
|1952||Kind Comrade||Noreen Collin (Walthamstow)||32.73||2-1|
|1953||Rolling Mike||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||32.18||4-6f|
|1954||Daring Friendship||Arch Whitcher (Clapton)||32.47||8-1|
|1955||The Grand Champagne||Jack Harvey (Wembley)||32.15||9-2|
|1956||Glenriver||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||32.35||2-1f|
|1957||Kays Imperial||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||32.04||5-4f|
|1958||Nons Bing||W Brown (Private)||32.52||5-2|
|1959||Glittering Copper||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||32.18||9-4|
|1960||Rockfield Flash (dead-heat)||Frank Sanderson (Private)||33.53||13-2|
|1960||Noonans Rhapsody (dead-heat)||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||33.53||4-1|
|1961||Utellme||Clare Orton (Wimbledon)||33.19|
|1962||Walk Right||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||33.65|
|1965||Geddys Empress||Bill Kelly (Clapton)||33.17|
|1966||Rebeccas Pet (dead-heat)||Eric Adkins (Private)||33.55|
|1966||Scaragh Walsh (dead-heat)||John Bassett (Private)||33.55|
|1967||Larrys Charm||Bill Kelly (Clapton)||33.30|
|1968||Winning Hope||Paddy Keane (Clapton)||33.21|
|1969||Shanes Concord||Arthur Hancock (Brighton)||33.54||10-1|
|1970||Camira Prince||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||33.58|
|1930||Dark Midnight||Foster (Clapton)||33.26|
|1931||Smart Fashion||Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon)||33.46|
|1932||Luvetts Double||Albert Bedford (Catford)||33.03|
|1933||Queen of the Suir||Stanley Biss (West Ham)||32.78|
|1934||Lynton II||Arthur Doc Callanan (Wembley)||32.66|
|1935||Border Mutton||Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon)||32.48|
|1936||Westley Bridge||Jack Harvey Harringay)||32.53|
|1937||Demotic Mack||Charles Cross (Clapton)||32.61|
|1938||Royal Devil||Les Parry (White City)||32.57|
|1939||Jill Of Waterhall||Leslie Reynolds (Wembley)||32.69|
|1941||Rahinskey Champion||Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon)||32.43|
|1942||Victory Welcomed||Jack Sherry (Catford)||32.69|
|1943||Ballykildare||Sidney Orton (Wimbledon)||32.40|
|1944||Blackwater Cutlet||Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon)||32.43|
|1945||Another Farewell||Dal Hawkesley (West Ham)||32.34|
|1946||Netties Ranger||Charles Cross (Clapton)||33.70|
|1947||Monarone||Stanley Biss (Clapton)||33.05|
|1948||Cleofilius||Stanley Biss (Clapton)||32.55|
|1949||Jubilee Olive||Leslie Reynolds (Wembley)||23.30|
|1950||Denver Air||Stanley Biss (Private)||23.40|
|1951||Swanee Beg||Norman Merchant (Private)||23.40|
|1952||Hectic Birthday||Ronnie Melville (Wembley)||22.96|
|1953||Snow White Brown||Henry Parsons (Crayford)||22.93|
National Open Hurdles
|1928||Rather Cheerful||Parsons Harringay)||37.36|
|1929||More Serap||Parsons Harringay)||34.79|
|1930||Fleeting Fashion||Stan Martin (Private)||34.84|
|1931||Glean A Cruim||R Cooper (Clapton)||34.64|
|1932||Avonvale||Charles Cross (Clapton)||34.29|
|1933||Scallywag II||Claude Champion (Wimbledon)||34.09|
|1934||Scallywag II||Claude Champion (Catford)||33.61|
|1935||Tubberona Prince||Les Parry (White City)||33.42|
|1936||Master Flyer||Jerry Hannafin (Wimbledon)||33.84|
|1937||Carstown Boy||Leslie Reynolds (White City)||34.06|
|1938||Juvenile Classic||Joe Harmon (Wimbledon)||33.07|
|1939||Juvenile Classic||Joe Harmon (Wimbledon)||33.63|
|1948||Wild Wave||Dave Barker (Catford)||33.77|
|1949||Ross Abbey||Clare Orton (Coventry)||33.19|
|1950||Sprightly Peter||Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon)||33.13|
|1951||Sprightly Peter||Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon)||33.27|
|1952||Castleknock Seal||Jerry Hannafin (Wimbledon)||32.99|
|1953||Spanish Rosetree||Jerry Hannafin (Wimbledon)||32.89|
|1946||King Silver||Crowley (Clapton)||23.82|
|1948||Greenane Pine||Stanley Biss (Clapton)||24.39|
|1949||Keepers Serenade||Archie Whitcher (Clapton)||23.77|
|1950||Jackies Gift||Boswell (Clapton)||23.37|
|1951||Kilcoman Rover||Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon)||24.06|
|1952||Pluckanes Bell||Paddy Mullins (Portsmouth)||23.45|
|1953||Rolling Mike||Jimmy Jowett (Clapton)||23.65|
|400||Creamery Border||23.31||5 August 1933||Scurry Gold Cup Final & National Record|
|400||Rimmells Black||23.11||26 July 1947||Scurry Gold Cup Final|
|400||Rolling Mike||22.77||25 July 1953||Scurry Gold Cup Final|
|400||Gorey Airways||22.48||23 July 1960||Scurry Gold Cup Final|
|400||Cranog Bet||22.41||11 July 1964|
|400||Foyle Tonic||22.37||July 1968||Scurry Gold Cup heats|
|400||Don't Gambol||22.29||8 July 1971|
|550||Wild Woolley||February 1934||World record|
|550||Blackwater Cutlet||31 August 1944|
|550||Rolling Mike||31.99||15 August 1953|
|550||Prince Chancer||31.76||23 September 1954|
|575||Geddys Empress||32.82||7 June 1965|
|575||Sues Fancy||32.67||1 June 1967|
|575||Yellow Printer||=32.67||13 July 1968|
|760||Priceless Spot||44.60||3 October 1953|
|760||Lucky Hi There||43.88||25 June 1964|
|909||Carmen Star||53.80||25 June 1964|
|934||St Pancras Sharon||55.75||23 July 1960|
|934||Movealong Margo||55.20||13 July 1968|
|400H||Ruddy Caution||23.53||8 August 1953|
|400H||Change That||23.08||6 August 1960|
|503H||Fodda Champion||32.55||23 March 1957|
|550H||Abbots End Monk||32.68||4 July 1953|
|550H||Change That||32.41||20 August 1960|
|575H||Prince Lawrence||34.67||11 November 1954|
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