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Harringay Stadium, site of
Green Lanes, Harringay, Borough of Haringey, North London, UK
associated engineer
George Alfred Julius
date  1927
era  Modern  |  category  Stadium/Arena/Pool  |  reference  TQ320881
Harringay Stadium, originally called Harringay Park, was built by politician Brigadier General Alfred Critchley and was used mainly for greyhound and speedway racing. It was demolished in 1987 and the site is now part of a supermarket car park.
Critchley (1890-1963) was managing director of the Greyhound Racing Association (formed in 1925), which bought White City Stadium for greyhound racing in 1927 and built Harringay Stadium in the same year. Critchley also built Harringay Arena nextdoor nine years later as a venue for ice hockey and boxing matches.
In Britain, greyhounds had been used for centuries in hare coursing. The new sport of greyhound racing, where dogs chased an artificial lure, originated in America and the first British venue was the Greyhound Racing Association’s track at Belle Vue in Manchester (1926).
The 9.3ha site of Harringay Stadium was a pottery during the 19th century, occupied by W.T. Williamson between 1880 and 1905. After that it was a spoil tip for the Piccadilly Line underground railway being built between Hammersmith and Finsbury Park (1906). The stadium itself cost some £35,000 to build and could accommodate up to 50,000 spectators — 3,000 people in the main north stand and the rest on terraces on the banked earth surrounding the track. More stands and a restaurant were added later.
Greyhound racing became a popular spectator sport, and the many urban tracks and evening meetings made it accessible to working people. The mechanical hare travelled along the outside lane of the circuit, with the dogs running on the inner lanes. Normally races at Harringay had six dogs, and the stadium provided kennelling and training facilities. In 1940 the prestigious greyhound Derby was run here.
Racing of others kinds also took place at the stadium — on a shale track inside the dog racing circuit. There were speedway motorbikes from 29th May 1928 to 16th September 1961, and stock cars between 1954 and 1979. Mac McDonnell from Dartford became the first stock car World Champion at Harringay on 24th June 1955.
A mechanical totalisator machine managed all the 'tote' bets, which were of three types — win, place and forecast. It comprised five devices linked together — ticketing machine, commutators, accumulator tables, odds calculators and the display drums. Each device was invented and patented by consulting engineer George Alfred Julius (1873-1946, knighted in 1929), who was a founder member of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, in 1919 and its fifth president in 1925.
The totalisator was installed in 1930 and refurbished in 1948, remaining in use until the stadium's closure. It was housed in a huge machine room on the first floor at the east end of the track, behind the timber wall of the display board. Direct current to power the machinery came from a mercury arc rectifier housed in a ground floor room directly below, with an adjacent workshop.
The popularity of dog racing began to decline in the 1960s and the last greyhound race took place on 25th September 1987. The Greyhound Racing Association sold the site to Sainsbury's in 1985 and the stadium closed two years later. Harringay Stadium Slopes, some open land south and east of the supermarket's car park, is the only reminder of the site’s former use.
Contractor: T.G. Simpson, London
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"Julius, Sir George Alfred (1873 - 1946)" by Arthur Corbett, in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol.9, pp.528-529, Melbourne University Press, 1983
www.eoas.info
www.gbgb.org.uk
www.museumoflondon.org.uk
www.runtrackdir.com
Location

Harringay Stadium, site of