Defunct Speedway Tracks


 
 
Crystal Palace Speedway
 
Crystal Palace Exhibition Grounds, Sydenham, South London, 1928 to 1940
 
 
Courtesy Norman Jacobs
 

 
 
Courtesy of John Chaplin
 

 
Courtesy Norman Jacobs
 

 
Courtesy Norman Jacobs
 
Novel views of  a neat looking Crystal Palace.  The British Stadiums staging speedway in the first half of the 20th century would all have been fairly new venues, whereas in the later half of the century many of the now old stadiums had fallen into a state of decay.
 

 
 
Triss Sharp
 
Courtesy Ted Hearn
 

 
 
Crystal Palace
 
7th September 1929
 
Courtesy of Graham Gleave
 

 
 
Crystal Palace 1931
 
 
1931 Team Tom Farndon, Alf Sawford, Skid Pitcher, Joe Francis, Harry Shepherd, F E Mockford (managing director), Triss Sharp, Roger Frogley, Nobby Key, Ron Johnson
 
Phil Lancaster says: Hi John:  I have just been on to your site showing old pictures of Crystal Palace, in the team photo of 1931 the mascot sitting in the front holding the cup was my Dad, Arthur Lancaster who was born in 1918. and would have been 13 years old at that time. That picture was on the wall in his office when we had a guest house in Westgate, I still have the original card with my Dad's signature on it. Thank you for rekindling the memory. Regards
 

 
 
Les Gregory 1932
 
 

 
 
Norman Jacob's Photographs
 
 
Tommy Hall
 
 
 
Wally Lloyd
 
 
 
Alan Reeve
 
 
Not much tread on Alan's back wheel!
 
 
Joe Francis
 
 
 
Roger Frogley
 
 
 
Clem Mitchell
 
 
 
Jack Barrett
 
 
 
George Lovick
 
 
 
Buster Frogley
 
 
 
Steve Pullen
 
 
 
Gordon Baxter
 
 
 
Walter Harris
 
 
 
Arthur Willimott
 
 
 
Bryan Donkin
 
 

 
Courtesy of Niall Strudwick
 

 
 
The Palace 1932
 
Courtesy of Niall Strudwick
 

 
 
Crystal Palace v Wembley
1932
 
Courtesy John Skinner
 
The Speedway News was a very collectable 30 odd paged speedway magazine pre-dating the Speedway Star.  I have 7 issues from 1932.  If you would like to buy them please send me an email so we can discuss.  John
 

 
 
Courtesy of Niall Strudwick
 
John says: This poor quality picture is 'never the less' one of the best photos on my website
 

 
 
Crystal Palace v
Wimbledon
1933
 
 
 

 
 
Crystal Palace 1933
 
 

 
 
Special Match Race
 
 
The above picture shows, I think, Tom Farndon on the left and Norman Evans. possibly 1931.  Not Norman Evans See below
 
 
This blow up shows a star on the track staffs jersey and Tom Farndon appears to be the home rider  So what's the track, year and teams?  John
 
Keith Green has been in touch he says: Hi John, The photo you have on your website of Tom Farndon and Pansy Evans? is wrong. It's Tom and Fred Mockford his promoter taken at Crystal Palace in 1933 as a publicity stunt. I have the original photo as I am a Tom Farndon fan and collect all his programmes, by the way Tom gave his promoter 3 laps start
 
John says: Thanks Keith (it did look like Norman Evans)
 
Keith has been back in touch adding: -Did some research last night and the picture in question appeared in speedway news edition on 13.10.1933 so the picture and race took place on the 7th Oct 1933.The caption says it is Tom and Fred Mockford  Regarding the track staff jerseys John I've checked 1931/1933 Crystal Palace and the riders had the same star on their bibs. The only explanation I can think of is the Crystal Palace stars had 6 prongs on the star and Wimbledon had 5.
 

 
 
Keith Harvey
 
Courtesy of John Hyam
 
Keith Harvey, captain of Crystal Palace in 1939.
 

 
 
War Time Meetings
 
By John Hyam
 
TWO war time speedway meetings took place at Crystal Palace in 1940, the last time racing took place there.
 
On Easter Sunday, March 25, Arthur Atkinson (West Ham) won the Holiday Cup, heading Colin Watson (West Ham) and Keith Harvey (Norwich) in a top scorers final. The known points scorers (each had three qualifying rides) were: Harvey 9, Phil Bishop (West Ham) 7, Watson 7, Atkinson 6, Wally Lloyd (Harringay) 6. Other starters were Harold 'Tiger' Stevenson (West Ham) and Arch Windmill (Hackney). In heat two, Harvey set the meeting's fastest time and a new track record of 79.8 seconds.
 
In the programme notes, spectators were advised: "In the event of an air raid warning, all visitors living within five minutes walk are advised to go home." They were also told that air raid shelters were provided "under the centre steps."
 
On May 13, another Holiday Cup meeting was held. This was over 12 heats with two semi-finals and a final. The qualifying scorers were: Phil 'Tiger' Hart (Hackney) 9, Archie Windmill (Hackney) 8, Bill Longley (New Cross) 7, Ron Johnson (New Cross) 6, Mick Mitchell (Crystal Palace) 5, Charlie Page (Hackney) 5, Fred 'Friar' Tuck 5,  Ken Brett (West Ham) 4, George Craig (Bristol) 4, Ron Howes (West Ham) 3, Bob Hall 2, George Gower (Crystal Palace) 2, Vic Weir (Norwich) 2, Les Trim (Crystal Palace) 1, Alex Gray (Wimbledon) 1, Keith Harvey (Crystal Palace) 0. FINAL: Hart, Windmill, Tuck, Johnson (no finish).
 
Programme changes were Langley (not Longley) for Charlie Appleby (Crystal Palace),  Page replaced Wally Lloyd (Harringay), Gower replaced Jeff Lloyd (Newcastle).
 
The 'South London Press' (May 15 1940) reported that New Cross and Australia star Ron Johnson was leading the final by five yards when he ground to a halt with a puncture. This let Phil 'Tiger' Hart clear to win by two lengths from Arch Windmill. An early posting lists Fred 'Friar' Tuck as the other finalist - it would be interesting to know if he finished the race".
 
There remains one major query on the qualifying scorers which were not given in the South London Press. I t concerns Bill Longley who on a scribbled list of scorers is actually given as LANGLEY. Indications are that it could not have been Longley as West Ham were staging a meeting at the same time and Longley was racing there. One possibility is that as Phil Hart was at Crystal Palace,  it have been his pal the Australian rider Steve Langton? Who knows? More importantly - will we ever know?
 

 
 
National Sports Centre
 
The following athletics track photos show the very fine athletics facility built on the site of the old speedway track, another great venue is lost forever to speedway.
 
Courtesy of Niall Strudwick
 
Courtesy of Niall Strudwick
 
Courtesy of Niall Strudwick
 
John Hyam says: The last three photos sent by Niall Strudwick are, of course, the present National Sports Centre which is on the site of the great old speedway track. I live fairly close by, and whenever I look at the athletics virtually always get a mental feedback 'the home of the old Palace speedway track.' Such is nostalgia I guess?
 
John Skinner says:  Please stop the tearful nostalgia cos I am filling up!
 

 

If you can scan any pictures, programmes or badges for the Crystal Palace page, send me an email 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.


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