Tyne and Wear HER(16819): Byker, Fossway, Brough Park - Details
Byker, Fossway, Brough Park
Racing Sports Site
Dates back to 1899 when it was laid out as a racecourse for trotting (horse-drawn buggies). Between 1912 and 1914 Newcastle City FC played here. Between 1917 until 1951 professional foot races took place. Greyhound racing began in June 1928 and continues to this day. This is only surviving greyhound stadium in Newcastle (there were four). Speedway began in May 1929. From 1936-38 Newcastle's rugby league team was based here (then moved to White City). After the War show jumping, stunt shows and midget car racing (an American idea from 1933) took place. On Easter Monday 1952 there was an England versus Scotland midget car race. A photo taken in the late 1940s or early 1950s shows a donkey derby at Brough Park. The dog track was turfed until the 1960s when sand replaced it. There was a main stand on the home straight and terrace covers around the bensds and on the opposite straight. A Tote board was located at one end. Crowds of between 5 and 10,000 were common in the boom years. These days crowds are smaller and spectators are confined to the main stand and paddock in front. Greyhound racing takes place on three nights and two afternoons a week. The greyhounds run on the narrower outer track which is covered with sand. Speedway takes place on Sunday nights between March and October. Speedway is staged on the inner circuit which is covered with cinders. Brough Park is the only speedway venue in Tyne and Wear. Newcastle Diamonds sppedway team appeared for the 1929-30 season. They reappeared 1938-39. Again 1945-51 and 1961-70, 1975 and 1994. In 1949 a team represented Newcastle under the name 'Magpies' but the name 'Diamonds' was reinstated after public protest. The first meeting of the current Diamonds era was March 1997. In Speedway, two riders from each team complete four laps of the track on 500cc bikes which have only one gear, one footrest, no rear suspension and no brakes. A typical race lasts less than a minute. An average speedway night at Brough Park will now attract about 600 people.
2010, Played in Tyne and Wear - Charting the heritage of people at play, p 23, 118-120