Defunct Speedway Tracks

 


 
Bristol Speedway
(Knowle Stadium)
 
Knowle Greyhound and Speedway Stadium,  Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol operated off and on between 1928-1960.  The site was later redeveloped as housing.
 
Barry Fox says: By the way, I see you call it “Knowle Street” The former stadium was renamed “Whitchurch Park” in an effort to sound swanky.  Barry goes on to say: I'm writing from Canada.  Knowle Stadium was twenty paces from where I used to live as a boy.  I went to bed on Friday nights listening to the roar of the speedway bikes.  Our road was always blocked side to side by parked cars visiting.  Men used to knock on our door to see if they can park in our driveway.  My mum used to sell programs there for ten shillings an evening.  I remember on Saturday mornings going up to the offices and getting leftover copies of the “Broadsider.” (1949) I remember reading about Ken le Bretton (always called “the late great”)-- one of the last of the leg trailers. And who was Dump Oliver”?  I've got the name wrong but it's quite close to it. I think he was a leg trailer too.  I'll stop now.  But your site is marvellous.  Thank you.
 
John Jarvis says: Was never known as Bristol/Knowle Street, was sometimes called WELLS ROAD.
 

 
 
1928 Programme
 
 

 
 
Starting Gate Via
New Cross 1934
 
 
Most of the tracks in the UK spent some money on Starting Gates.  New Cross promoter Harry Mockford invented
the starting gate in 1934, Bristol Rider Harry Shepherd built it and all of the other tracks including Bristol followed suit.
So Bristol has a claim to fame.  The two Harry's Harry Shepherd and Mockford take a bow, your starting gates design has probably not changed a lot over the years

 
 
1930's Action Or Was It Later?
 
Picture courtesy of Bristol Bulldogs
 

Barry Fox says: Your site is even better than it was. It’s priceless! One small correction. Your first photo of the start of the race with houses behind at right angles to the track must have been taken in the late 40’s or early 50’s. I know this because the houses to the right of the 4 rows were council houses and were built when I was a kid. I remember playing in the foundations and then the in the buildings when the builders left at night.  Congratulations. Don’t forget, it’s not called Knowle Street. The stadium was on the Wells Road

John says:  Thank you for the praise Barry, I really appreciate it
 

 
 
Knowle Stadium in 1928. Today the fields are a housing estate, the main A38  `Wells Road` is in the distance

 
The same stadium but the year is 1948
 
 
The pits were at the first bend. Warming up the bikes is seen here out in the open.
 

 
 
Bristol Bulldogs 1936
 
 I have been sent pictures of Bristol riders wearing a star race jacket can anyone say how they come to be wearing a star?
 
 
Bert Spencer
 
 

 
 
Bill Rogers
 

 

 
 
Eric Collins
 
 

 
 
Bristol Bulldogs 1936

 
1936 Bristol Bulldogs wearing the Star race jackets?: Left to Right; Fred Leavis, Bill Roger, Ron Howes, Eric Collins, Ronnie Green (Promoter), Roy Dook, Mike Erskine, Ernie Evens, Henry Collins, Harry Shepherd
Can anyone help me with this? Bulldogs nickname Star emblem?
 
John Jarvis says:  Hi John, Was browsing your web site and may be able to help with some info.  You mention the Star emblem on the Pre war race jacket   This originated in 1936 when the Bristol team was formed from loaned riders from Wimbledon and New Cross.  They used Wimbledon's Star emblem and New Cross's orange and black colours.   The nickname "Bulldogs" was first used in August 1936, but they stuck to the orange and black star until the start of the 1947 season when the Bulldog head was used until 1960.  Thank you for an excellent website
 

 
 
Memories
 
Hello John, Have just found your web, really like it! I am 78 years old and I attended my first speedway meeting about 1947 at Wembley. The meeting was Wembley v West Ham. I remember that the track was black and it was just before the Olympic games of 1948.The next time I went back there the track was shale. During the war I was evacuated to Bristol, so as a schoolboy in London I became interested in the "Bulldogs."  I returned to Bristol during the school holidays and I was taken to see the "bulldogs", the match was a friendly with Wembley Lions. This was about 1948, I think that was the year that Bristol was promoted. Can you help me on the date? I remember some of the Bristol riders, Eric Salmon, Billy and Johny Hole, Roger Wise, I think, and Dick Bradley. In my first meeting at Wembley I remember, Bill Kitchen, Tommy Price, Bluey Wilkinson, Aub Lawson, and Eric Chitty.
Best Wishes and hope to hear from you soon,
Den Sullivan
 

 
 
Fred Leavis
 
 
Steve Baker has sent some info on Fred as follows below:-
 
Courtesy of Rob Bamford's book on Bristol Bulldogs
 

 
 
 
 
Courtesy of John Levitt
 
John Levitt says: Hi John (Skinner), I have forwarded yet another one of my late parent's speedway photographs for your perusal. It has no annotation on the back so I have had to determine who is in the photograph and when was it taken myself. Using the Speedway Researcher website and my own copies of various speedway annuals and books, in my view, I have determined that the photograph was taken on 9th July 1948 at the presentation of the riders at Bristol for the 2nd qualifying round of the British Riders' Championship.
 
John Levitt continues: The following is how I came to my conclusion:-With 6 riders wearing Team Racing Jackets namely West Ham, Wembley, Hastings, Belle Vue, Wimbledon and Newcastle this pointed to a meeting that involved individuals rather than teams. The Hastings rider helped to pinpoint the year as they only were around for 1948 and 1949. Looking at the records for British Riders' Championship for both years I was able to determine that only one Hastings rider appeared with 1st Division riders and this was Jock Grierson. This was in the 2nd Round of the 1948 British Riders' Championship and he appeared at three venues in that round, Birmingham on 26th June, Sheffield on 1st July and Bristol on 9th July. The 1949 Stenner's Annual (page 95) gives a complete listing of all the riders for that round so I was able to determine that the West Ham rider only appeared with the Hastings rider at Bristol. This then gave me a list of all the riders for that day. These being as follows:-
 
Jock Grierson - Hastings
Tommy Croombs - West Ham

Doug McLachlan - Birmingham

Louis Lawson - Belle Vue

Jack Hodgson - Middlesbrough

Freddie Williams - Wembley

Dick Harris - Wimbledon

Alec Grant - Newcastle

Norman Evans - Newcastle

Bert Spencer - Norwich

Phil Clarke - Norwich

Fred Tuck - Bristol

Roger Wise - Bristol

Billy Hole - Bristol

Jack Mountford - Bristol

Dick Geary - Fleetwood

Norman Hargreaves - Fleetwood
 
John Levitt concludes: Note that Dick Geary's details may be an error by the Annual as he is not shown as being involved in the details shown for the meeting in Bristol's records (according to the Speedway researcher website), his details are shown however in the Norwich meeting as shown in Norwich's records as shown (again on the Speedway researcher Website). Also Bristol's records indicate that the two reserves Cyril Quick and Johnny Hole (both Bristol) were used.
I also possess a book entitled "Speedway in Bristol" by Robert Bamford and John Jarvis. Its cover shows the start line which has similar light fittings to those in the photograph. On pages 202-203 it also gives a brief description of the meeting.
 
Looking at the photograph showing the two Newcastle riders side by side Alec Grant is on the left and Norman Evans is on the right.
 
I think that careful examination of the picture reveals that 17 riders are there however I can only identify 7 of them. I wonder if we will get the remaining 10 especially as three of them can only be seen by a shoulder or partial head or by their front wheel.
  Regards John Levitt
 
John Skinner says:  A great photo! As a Newcastle fan I can comfirm Alec (farmer) Grant left and Norman Evans are the two wearing the diamond race jackets.  Please email me if you can name any of the others in the photograph.  John
 

 
 
1949 Programme
 
 
 

 
 
Ray Brunt's Photographs (2)
 
 
 
Ray Brunt says: 2 photos from 1949 which was the time I began to watch Bristol Bulldogs at Knowle Stadium. Team photo, Bulldogs team, back row: Roger Wise, Fred Tuck, Billy Hole, Jack Mountford. Front row Johnny Hole, Eric Salmon, Peter Bartlett, Dick Bradley, Mike Beddoe.  Bottom photo: Peter Bartlett Bulldogs mascot.
 

 
 
Fred "Friar" Tuck
 
 
John says: Wendy Dalton sent me this image of an unknown Bristol rider.  She thinks the photo is from the late 1950s.  I need help to name this guy John
Col Greenwell says: Hi John, Name the Rider 2. Unknown Bristol Bulldog is Fred Tuck....His nickname...of course   "Friar". 
Col goes on to say Name......Henry George Frederick Tuck. Bradford 1946, 1947  Bristol 1947, 48, 49, 50.
Colin Jackson says: Hi John, I repaired televisions (thousands of them) for the "Friar" in Weston Super Mare in the 1980s. He was gettin on by then but very active. He sold s/h Televisions and Jaguars! He had a large place in Whitecroft Road and then a shop near the Railway Station. He had an old Jag which he drove & sold, then another and another each one better than the previous one. The last I remember was a White XJS V8. 

I wondered what happened to him as I moved away in 1990.  Then the other day I found your website and the photo, but also his full name. I did not know he was a  speedway star.  I brought pushbike into work one day, he rode it by sitting on the handlebars and riding it backwards. he must have been 75 when he did that!  Thanks to your info I found  Henry (Fred) was born 16th October 1915 in West Ham and died in Bristol Jan 1993. A sadly missed friend, there was always a smile.  Regards, Colin Jackson, North Lincs 2017
 
Colin Jackson goes on to say:  I have found that Fred had a garage in Weston in the 50/60s. Fred Tuck Cars Ltd. He did own a Cooper F1.  You can find info on :-

Rear View Mirror


I do not know where the garage was but there was an "Atlantic Garage" just off the sea front and it could have been his
in 1960 ? just a guess.  Fred was a really lovable rogue and unlike Delboy in "Fools & Horses" Friar knew how to make money, he could sell his own grandmother!  Regards,  Colin
 

 
 
Bristol 1950s
Knowle Stadium
 
 
Programme Covers
 
1950 1954
 
 
 
John says: This photo shows how the Bristol people turned out in their thousands to watch their team in the 1950s but by 1960 the track was lost to speedway.  I have cropped and enlarged the section of the photo with the riders on to make naming the riders easier, see below: -
 
 
John says: I think the rider on the inside is wearing the winged wheel of the Harringay Racers.  It doesn't help much, does it? Please send me your comments on this photo by email John
 
Terry Stone says: The rider in white is Harringay's Vic Duggan and the rider on the white line could be Geoff Pymar as Geoff was partnered with Vic for a while.
 
John says: The riders in Red and Blue helmets must be Bristol riders so come on Bristol and Harringay fans. Your help is required. John
 
Reg Fearman says: Vic Duggan on the white line and in the middle either Jimmy Grant or Frank Dolan.
 
Lee Dunton says: Hi John,  Re the Bristol v Harringay photo,  after looking through many of my Harringay photo's and what with the handlebar clamps of the rider in white and the style  I  hazard a guess that it is my father Danny Dunton in white, he did indeed partner Vic Duggan for a great part of the time in 1949 & 1950, however, in this instance it looks to me that it's Split Waterman on the inside, of course I could be wrong

Neil Wise says: Hi John, I have now found the picture of the four riders riding into the first bend at Bristol`s Knowle Stadium. This picture was in the Western Daily Press on May 5th 2010.  In the picture from left to right is Roger Wise (red) (my father), J Hogson in White, Eric Salmon in Blue and M Davis in Y/B. This picture was given to me by Freddie Williams World Champion.
 
John Says: A Salmon sandwich springs to mind!  So that's it Neil has named all four riders. My thanks to everyone who has helped with this Bristol photo.  Good game isn't it?  Just when you think the riders are at last named someone begs to differ!  I am always pleased to chronicle a name the rider situation so here is the latest on this great photograph.
 
John Jarvis says: I see several attempts at captioning a picture from a Bristol v Harringay match.  It is in fact Heat 10 on 1-7-50   L/R Dick Bradley, Fred Pawson, Eric Salmon and Vic Duggan.
 

 
 
1952 Bristol Team
 
Courtesy of John Spoor
 
 
1954 Bristol
 
 

 
 
Bristol 1955
 
Courtesy of Graham Gleave
 

 
 
1959 Programme
 
 

 
 
1960 Bristol Bulldogs
 
 

 
 
1960 Ernie Baker
 
 

 
 
1960 Cliff Cox
 
 

 
 
First & Second Bends
 
 
Here's the first and second bend . (note the massive `totaliser` board for greyhound race betting) .This is the `marching out` procession - before the racing - also note how housing has crept up to the track over the years......This is 1960,  weeks before closure and demolition.

 
1960- Demolition of Knowle Stadium.  The track is still visible despite bulldozer activity
 

 
 
Dick Bradley & Roger Wise
On The Grass
 

Courtesy of Ted Hearn

 

 
 
Laurel & Hardy

 
Laurel and Hardy who were special mystery guests at a Bristol v. Wigan cup match on 18th  July  1947 in front of a 12,000 crowd. The duo became keen supporters of the Bristol side.


 
 
Syd Or Sid Farndon
 

Can anyone help with the following: -
Sir, just been looking at your website with great interest.
I have been told, that my father raced for BB in 1936, any chance of you telling me if that is true and that there is a photo in the book The Birth of the Bulldogs. My fathers name was Syd (maybe spelt it Sid) Farndon. My uncle was Tom Farndon.
 
Can you help? email me John

 
Here's a picture of Syd from the 1930's but wearing New Cross Colours.  Still awaiting help on Syd  John
 
John Jarvis says: In case nobody has replied to your query, I can confirm that Syd Farndon rode for Bristol in 1936 but only the once.  He appeared in the very first match Bristol rode in 1936 at Nottingham on 28 April.  His contribution was only 1 point but this was enough to give Bristol a victory by 34 - 33.  The picture I used in the publication Birth of the Bulldogs was the one which now appears on the website i.e. in a New Cross race jacket.  Syd never appeared again for Bristol but at least he does hold the distinction of appearing in the Bristol Bulldogs first ever match.
Best wishes.
 

 
Richard Austin has sent me the above programme scans.  What excellent artwork
 

 
 
Knowle Stadium Now

Photos from Chris Wallett:
 


 

Chris Wallett says: I have been out and about again looking for those lost speedways.  Went to visit the site of the original Bristol speedway in Knowle. Your old photos on the site are amazing in that the area was countryside originally but is now just a suburb of Bristol with nothing but houses for miles around. There is absolutely no evidence of there ever being a stadium here but one ironic twist is as you can see from my pictures the road which runs through where the centre green of the track was is called Long Eaton Drive. I would love there to be some sort of weird connection or that one of the town planners was a speedway fan but I guess we will never know. The last picture is taken from Petherton Road looking back to where the track would have been but the area is so different you can’t even picture the stadium.
Hope you can put the pics on the site.
Chris Wallett

Thanks Chris and yes I have put your pics on the site
 

Barry Fox  says:  I looked at your site from Canada. What a discovery.

There is one other link with the stadium in Long Eaton Drive. The link is the short slope of L E Drive. That slope exactly corresponds with the banking on the fourth (or the second half of the second) bend where spectators stood. It was the cheaper end.  As the houses were being built I hoped they’d name the roads after speedway teams. But only Long Eaton. My mother used to sell programmes there in about 1949.


 

Now living in Australia, Tony Sprague says: Hi I was just surfing the net and looked up Bulldog speedway, and was please to see they might make a come back, best of luck with every thing.

I met my wife at the speedway, as you can see from the above program which we still have and we celebrate it more than our wedding anniversary, we also named our production company after the Bulldogs, see our company logo below:

 
John says: so Tony that old programme is worth a fortune to you and your wife. A good story and good luck with the production company.  Bristol may just make a comeback and I cannot see any promoter calling a Bristol team anything else but the "Bristol Bulldogs", it rolls off the tongue.
 

 

 
Visit Bristol's comeback petition  Bring Back Bristol Speedway Petition
Comeback Site Bristol Website


 
Always looking for more from Knowle Street email if you can help John
 


The contents of the site are and should not be reproduced elsewhere for financial gain. The contributors to this site gave the pictures and information on that understanding.  If anyone has any issue or objections to any items on the site please e-mail and I will amend or remove the item.  Where possible credit has been given to the owner of each item.


Home
Contact Me
A-Z of Tracks
Name The Rider Part 1
Name The Rider Part 2
Name The Rider Part 3
Miscellaneous 1
Miscellaneous 2
Miscellaneous 3
Miscellaneous 4
Miscellaneous 5
Miscellaneous 6
Miscellaneous 7
Reg Fearman 1
Reg Fearman 2
Reg Fearman 3
Reg Fearman 4
Reg Fearman 5
Reg Fearman 6
Reg Fearman 7
Reg Fearman 8
Reg Fearman  Autobiography 2014
Eric Williams
Bob Andrews
Ivan Mauger 1
Ivan Mauger 2
Ivans 2010 Book
Dave Gifford Page
R Spencer Oliver Photos
Helen Jobson Photos
John Chaplin Photos
Ivan Stevenson Photos
John Hyam Page 1
John Hyam Page 2
John Hyam Page 3
John Hyam Page 4
Tony Webb Photos
Jim Henry Page 1 1928
Jim Henry Page 2 1929
Jim Henry Page 3 1930
Jim Henry Page 4 1931
Jim Henry Page 5 1932
Graham Gleave Page
Norman Jacobs Page 1
Bill Fletcher Photos
Peter Orpwood
Veterans
Oval Track Racing
Pre Speedway
Cigarette Cards
World Championship
Books
Bikes 1
Bikes 2
Bikes 3
Bikes 4
Bikes 5
Bikes 6
Bikes 7
Bikes 8
Links



Copyright 2005 John Skinner. All rights reserved.   Advertisers welcome on this site. email for the price.