History of Greyhounds | UK 20th century
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History of Greyhounds
UK 20th century


In 1925, Smith and Sawyer sold the rights to use their artificial lure in Britain to American businessman Charles A. Munn. In August 1925, together with Brigadier General Alfred Critchley, Major Lyne Dixson and Sir William Gentle, Munn established the Greyhound Racing Association.

GRA built the first British track solely for the purpose of greyhound racing in the Gorton area of Manchester. On the 24th July 1926, 1700 people arrived at the newly built Belle Vue Stadium to personally witness the first six greyhound races with seven dogs. The enthusiasm for greyhound racing was much bigger than the organisers expected since only one week later 16,000 spectators struggled past the track's entrance to see the races. As the races resumed after winter, it became a common sight that the stadium was filled to its capacity. By June 1927, Belle Vue was attracting nearly 70,000 greyhound spectators a week.

Greyhound stadiums mushroomed all over the country at an astonishing pace. Within two years, 68 greyhound tracks were either operating or under construction. In 1927, Greyhound Racing Association adopted the London White City stadium for the purpose of greyhound racing. Originally, the Great Stadium, which was demolished in 1985, was built for the London Olympics in 1908. It was also in 1927 that the first English Greyhound Derby were held in London. It is now the most prestigious event in the British greyhound racing world. In the late 1920s, the first greyhound racing tracks were set up in Australia and Ireland.

Until the 1960s and apart from the WW II period, "going to the dogs" was extremely popular form of spending free time in Britain, particularly because the postwar Britain was recovering from the physical and mental damage and was in a real need of entertainment. In the 70s, however, the spectators' attention was more on horse racing, which was additionally frequently broadcast on TV, and so the attendance at greyhound stadiums decreased by half. In the 80s, greyhound racing was once more on the uprise as new and luxurious stadia were built in Britain.

In 1979, the British Greyhound Racing Board was established with the aim to promote and elevate the greyhound racing industry, to improve the rules of racing as well as welfare of the greyhound. In 2009, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain took over the responsibilities and tasks of the British Greyhound Racing Board and of the National Greyhound Racing Club, and it is now responsible for the governance, regulation and management of the licensed greyhound racing in England, Scotland and Wales.

Today, there are 28 high-quality greyhound stadia with a licence in Britain. Furthermore, tracks in Sunderland, Nottingham, Kinsley, Great Yarmouth, Peterborough, Sheffield and Wolverhampton underwent modernisation.