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The stadium situated in the area of Shepherd’s Bush and called White City was originally built to house the 1908 Olympics, it was called White City because to the white, bright, ferro-concrete buildings that formed the complex. Following the Olympics the buildings fell into disuse until a General Alfred Cecil Critchley purchased the lease from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to allow Greyhound Racing to take place, which it did in the June of 1927.

The following year 1928 dirt-track racing took place at this venue on 19th May, promoted by A J Hunting and under the management of International Speedway Limited, a crowd of 6.000 spectators watched as Lady Strathspey cut the ribbon and declared the track open. The performance of the eventual winner of the Golden Helmet. Frank Arthur, was said to have been scintillating.

Joining the Southern League in 1929 all boded well for speedway at the track but that hope was to be short lived as the venue was to be closed to speedway at the end of that season when on the 4th October Vic Huxley brought this period of speedway racing to a close when he won the Silver Sash.

Twenty four years later ‘speedway’ returned to White City stadium when on the 20th of May 1953 as part of The Cavalcade of Sports when a group of speedway riders made an appearance, Jack Young, Aub Lawson, Bill Kitchen, Freddie Williams, Jeff Lloyd and Split Waterman, who riding Vespas (scooters) to avoid damage to the athletics track, gave entertainment in the form of a mini meeting consisting of two heats with three riders in each followed by a final that was won by Jack Young, the riders gave their services free as the programme of events organised by the Sunday Pictorial was staged for the benefit of the St John Ambulance Brigade. Speedway continued to make a once a year appearance in these Cavalcade of Sports events until 1958, all followed the original three race formula. There was a gap in such activity for a couple of years resuming again for one year in 1961 this time promoted by the Daily Mirror.

A further speedway drought followed ending when in 1976 Danny Dunton promoted speedway at White City entering a team in the British League, the team known as the Rebels, the management of a company called Oxspeed Limited. It proved very difficult to attract enough spectators to make the use of this prestige venue viable and the attempt to run a speedway team from White City was abandoned after three years at the end of the 1978 season.

This was not however the end of speedway as the site was used to stage nine more high-status speedway events; in 1979 there were three of these meetings held, the first in July was the Commonwealth Final won by Michael Lee, the second in August, Inter-Continental Final also won by Michael Lee and then in September the World Team Cup Final that was won by New Zealand. Just one meeting was held in each of the next two years, 1980 the Inter-Continental Final won by Chris Morton and in 1981 the Overseas Final was won by Dave Jessup.

Three meeting again in 1982 - Overseas Final winner Dave Jessup - World Team Cup Final won by the USA and in September the Embassy British Open was won by Dennis Sigalos and then in 1983 just the one meeting was held the Inter-Continental Final won this time by Hans Nielsen.

The last greyhound meeting was held in September 1984 and the once glorious White City was demolished.

London’s White City

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Thanks to John Jarvis for his permission to use data from his book ‘Homes of British Speedway’
 and John Somerville for the photograph.