Remembering White City: But a stone's throw from Old Trafford a White City once stood

Lost Tracks RSS / / 21 February 2008 / 3 Comments

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Darrell Williams tells all about the forgotten White City track in Manchester

While the name White City is synonymous with the sport's most prestigious track in London, there was also a second White City in Manchester. Located in the Trafford part of the city, and therefore close to both Manchester United's ground and the home of Lancashire County Cricket club, the track staged greyhound racing from 1930 until 1982.

Nowadays White City is a retail park, and apart from the famous white gateway in Chester Road close to the junction with Trafford Road there are few clues about the area's long history. It probably won't surprise you that the stadium used for greyhounds also staged other sports with speedway 'first in' just after the stadium was built in 1928. Later a six lane cinder athletics track was added in 1953 - unusually it was 2/9th of a mile round rather than the standard 1/4 mile -with Stock Car racing also a feature from 1972.

But the history of White City goes back much further, with its original use as a botanical garden dating back to1827 when the original white gateway was built. The gardens remained a feature until the early 20th century when the land was sold and an amusement park, one of the most advanced and innovative of its time, was opened before the stadium was erected ahead of its opening in July 1928.

In terms of greyhound racing, White City always lived in the shadow of its neighbour Belle Vue, the first track to stage greyhound racing in this country, and was often known as its 'junior'. The circuit was 450 yards with wide well banked turns and an inside Sumner hare with racing latterly taking place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons with a BAGS contract in place.

The most important race staged at White City was the Manchester Cup, held in March over 485m, with 1975 winner Myrtown, runner-up in the previous year's Derby, for local handler Eddie Moore one of its most noteworthy winners. Other major events staged included the Mancunian Cup, run over 670m in September, plus the Cock o'the North, nowadays run at Belle Vue, staged over the same trip in October and won in 1970 by the Harry Bamford handled Forward King, who had also won the 1968 St Leger.

Probably the greatest greyhound to be trained at White City however was Wild Woolley, trained by Jack Rimmer, who turned over the highly regarded Future Cutlet to win the 1932 Derby; he would later finish third in the next two Derbies in addition to winning the inaugural Gold Collar at Catford.

White City stadium closed in 1982 and was demolished in the late 1980s.

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Comments (3)

  1. Norma Rowley | 09 October 2008

    Sad day when White City Manchester closed it's doors

    It always brings a tear to my eyes when I past the old place these days.

    I will never forget the night Myrtown broke the clock, great days and lots of great memories.

    Thanks Darrell..

  2. AdrianAuthor Profile Page | 28 August 2011

    I could not beleave it when my Dad got a training contract for White City Manchester. We had trained for 7 years for Preston Dog track but I remember the first time we went through those large white gates with the no. 1 greyhound sign flashing across the top! I thought this is what the pearly gates of heaven must look like! I was head lad for my Dad and Nigel Saunders was head lad for his Dad. The trainers were Hurt, Humphries, Sanders and Saunders. Our Parade Girl Jackie became my girlfreind and the same with Nigel. I remember the Boxing day racing when the track was packed! And the stock car racing (The noise those cars made) I just wish we could wind back time.

  3. Dave Williamson | 01 February 2012

    No we cant rewind the clock but i will always remember catching the number 53 bus passing through Brooks Bar and then onto white city in the early sixties,Graded dogs quickly come to mind
    from around 1963,Happy Days they will never return.

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