The Twentieth Century Society* is hoping to save the tote board building at Catford Greyhound Stadium by asking for the unique building to be listed. The greyhounds stopped running at the popular venue in November 2003 and the site was bought by a developer for a large housing scheme.
The stadium opened on 30 July 1932 and was one of the most popular and picturesque tracks in the country with more than 6,000 people visiting the venue in its 1950s heyday. The Tote board building is a three-story structure and was built the same year as the track opened. It contains a large board for displaying the fluctuating prices or odds of the greyhounds. The board faces the racing track and forms part of the south face of the building. Viewed from behind it resembles a residential building and backs into Ladywell Park to the north of the Stadium. It was built to house the machinery which operated and illuminated the Tote board itself.
Cordula Zeidler, Caseworker at the Society said: “While the rest of the stadium has been extensively refurbished in the past and lost most of the original 1930s features, the Tote board building remains largely intact.
“The elegant building façade facing Ladywell Park to the north is a successful design, featuring elegant metal frame windows and a beautifully detailed brick and render exterior. The interior of the building still features the 1930s electro-mechanical machinery that used to operate the board. It is a fascination relic and an interesting example of twentieth century archaeology.
“We hope that it can be listed and then incorporated in the future housing development. It could offer a truly fascinating taste of the site’s past which is important to Catford as well as the history of greyhound racing in the UK.”
There are 31 greyhound stadia in Britain represented by the British Greyhound Racing Board. Many used to have similar Tote buildings but most have been severely altered or demolished.
BGRB Chairman, Lord Lipsey of Tooting Bec said: “I did love the stadium at Catford and it was a very sad day for me when it closed. It would be super if this piece of greyhound sporting history can be saved forever. Greyhound racing is growing again with new tracks at Coventry and another planned in Scotland but we have to remember the past too.”
For more information /pictures or to arrange interviews please contact Cordula Zeidler, 20th Century Society 0207 2503857 (cordula.zeidler(at)c20society.org.uk) or Emma Johns, BGRB, 07903 665614 (emma.johns(at)bgrb.org.uk)