Defunct Speedway Tracks

West Ham Speedway
Custom House Stadium, Prince Regents Lane, London.  Racing took place at the home of the "Hammers", between 1928 - 1972
Lokeren Road Disaster  Aub Lawson  Tommy Croombs  Hammer Honor Blackman  Early 1930s
Pre War Canada at West Ham  Leif "Basse" Hveem  Christer LofqvisWest Ham Badges 
Reg_Fearman's Photo Memorabilia_
Custom House's "Art Deco" Gateway.
Bombers Over Custom House
Courtesy of Reg Fearman
Courtesy of Reg Fearman

German Bombers over West Ham Stadium in 1940


Fred Pallett's Pictures
Courtesy of Fred Pallett
Courtesy of Fred Pallett

Jack Bishop 1928

Courtesy of The John Chaplin Collection


A great action shot.  This is Jack Bishop in 1928 power sliding his Harley Peashooter.  My site shows other riders wearing a similar white top over their leathers.


West Ham
Early 1930s
Tom Roe says: Good Evening John, I found these private photographs (5) recently at a football fair, I have no idea which track or what date.  The fair was in London. May be of some interest you.
Regards Tom,
You can just make out a rider partly obscured by the lamp standard to the left.
John says: At a guess I put the photographs as taken during the 1930s.  I do not recognise the track/stadium so if you can add anything please email me.  John
Steve Baker says: Hi John,  I have been looking at the web site, as I do regularly, and I reckon I know the track recently posted on name the rider 3 page. I believe it is Custom House, West Ham, pictured from around the first turn, showing the back straight stand, As you quite rightly say this was taken in the 30's, probably early 30's, as you can clearly see the football pitch on the infield where Thames Association FC played and they only existed for 2 seasons, 30/31 and 31/32. I have included another picture taken from a similar position in the 40's (see below) and although the configuration of the track has altered a little the end of the back straight stand is the same and also the perimeter fencing. The flag pole complete with flag on the gable end of the stand is also still there! All the best, Steve
Courtesy of Steve Baker 

Pre War Canadian Team At West Ham

Custom House, West Ham: Can you say what year this picture was taken and also name the riders John

Terry Stone says: This is Team Canada, Eric Chitty is pictured with his little girl. Can anyone say the year and name the other riders.  I guess it's a test of your memory of Canadian riders names:
Bryan Tungate says: This photo I was informed was a line-up posed by Johnnie Hoskins for a publicity stunt. It was taken early 1938 at the Custom House, West Ham, track but this is not the Canada team that rode at Norwich or Sheffield at the time. (At Norwich the Canada team included 2 riders from Northern England  in the 8 who represented them). Eric Chitty and his daughter are those on the left of the photo and this photo was included in an early edition of the Vintage Speedway Magazine

Reg Fearman says: Canadian Photo :-  West Ham 1937 Eric Chitty with Carol Ann on the machine. All sitting on their machines are L/R Goldie Restall, Bob Sparks, Jimmy Gibb, Eddie Barker, Elwood Stilwell, George Pepper, Bruce Venier. The two standing at the back without crash helmets on the left is Englishman Butch Williams who raced at Dagenham at that time and for the West Ham Hawks, after the war he was in the West Ham workshop as a mechanic with Alec Mosely as supervisor and was Malcolm Craven's mechanic in particular, the one on the right is unknown to me. Cheers, Reg

om Marriott says: Looking at a better resolution photo of this I believe Reg has the first two riders mixed up the first is not Restall but Sparks and the second rider is Restall not Sparks.


Canadian Side 1938

Reg Fearman says: This is the same Canadian team as the one on the Machines. L/R Back Row.  Goldie Restall, Eddie Barker, Bob Sparks, Elwood Stilwell, Bruce Venier. L/R Front Row.   George Pepper, Johnnie Hoskins, Eric Chitty with Carol Ann, Jimmy Gibb.


Charlie Spinks



Tommy Croombs


Courtesy of Ken Bailey


Fred Pallett says: Tommy rode for the Hammers from 1930 to 1939, and again in 1947.


Mick Murphy
Courtesy of Ken Bailey
Fred Pallett says: Mick Murphy - The photo should probably appear in the West Ham section as, in Norman Jacobs’ book “Speedway in London”, a rider of that name appears in a West Ham team photo for 1936.

West Ham Badge 1930s

1936 Team
I only recognise Eric Chitty and Rol Stobbart.  Help please in naming this West Ham team and the year.  John
Terry Stone says West Ham 1936: Tommy Croombs, Eric Chitty, Broncho Dixon, Charlie Spinks, Tiger Stevenson, Johnnie Hoskins, Ken Brett, Bluey Wilkinson and Rol Stobart. Front: Arthur Atkinson, George Saunders, A young Ian Hoskins and Mick Murphy


Bluey Wilkinson



England v Australia

Courtesy of Tony Smith
Tony Smith says:  I'm hoping you can help me, I'm looking for this image taken in 1947 2nd test match between England and Australia, the riders are Max Grosskreutz (AUS), Ron Johnson (Aus), George Wilks (Eng) and Alec Statham (Eng).  England won the match 58 to 50, any pointer's to who may own the copyright, it's for a book and I'm trying to find the owner.  Many Thanks Tony Smith
John says: So can anyone stake a claim of ownership of this fine photo?  John

1947 Team
Courtesy of Michael Page
This photo is from 1947 and, left to right the people are, I believe: Unknown, Malcolm Craven, Cliff Watson, Unknown, Unknown, Cliff Parkinson, Eric Chitty (on bike), Howdy Byford, Unknown, Aub Lawson, Arthur Atkinson
Reg Fearman says: Stan Greatrex, Malcolm Craven, Cliff Watson, Bill Mathews, Benny King, Cliff Parkinson, Howdy Byford, Tommy Croombs, Aub, Akko.  Eric Chitty

Autograph Books With Strings Attached!

"Fishing for an autograph! Such a novelty I bet it happened no where else

Phil Bishop
Great photo, leg trailing in 1947.  The wheel size diameter  was reduced a few years after this photo was taken.  Can anyone supply some info re this image? John
John says: At a guess this photo is pre war, don't know who it is or the team/track can you help? John
Terry Stone says this leg trailer is Phil Bishop anyone care to guess the year.  What is very noticeable is the larger diameter wheels.  I believe they were 22 inch until the 1950's when 18 inch wheels became the rule.  Does anyone know the score as far as wheel sizes go?
Reg Fearman says: Phil Bishop it is at West Ham circa 1946/47.   Rear wheels - they were 22 inch post war and the tyre most favoured was the Leapahead of which Fred Mockford the New Cross promoter had the patent, the Leapahead walls would shred and cause a puncture which was common. To overcome this many riders would cut an old inner tube and wrap it around the inner tube so protecting it.  The other tyre in use was the John Bull but the rubber was very hard and the depth of tread much less.  I believe it was not until 1954 that the 19 inch wheel was introduced and the tyre everyone went for was the Dunlop Trials Universal, one would spend hours cutting slots in the tread and cutting the leading edge straight after a meeting for extra grip.  During this period at one time a narrow tyre was introduced with very little tread. I raced on it but have forgotten the detail as it was only in use for a short time
Reg has been in touch again re tyres and has supplied the following image which explains the tyre situation

 Howdy Byford

Team 1949
Courtesy of Michael Page
Howdy Byford, Cliff Watson, Aub Lawson, Unknown, Unknown, Wally Green, George Wilks, Malcolm
Reg Fearman says: Howdy, Cliff Watson, Aub, Kid Curtis, Frank Bettis, Wally Green, George Wilks, Malcolm Craven.
Fred Pallett says: Just a small item of information for you. In the West Ham section, there is a team photo with the heading that reads "West Ham team Late 40s Early 50s Year unknown". I can now tell you that the unknown year was 1949, because George Wilks is in the photo. At that time, he was actually a Wembley rider, but had been loaned to West Ham for just the 1949 season. He returned to Wembley the following season, 1950, as photos in the Wembley section prove.
John says: Thank you Fred.  I have changed the title above this photo to show "1949 West Ham Team"

 West Ham Team
Year Unknown
Courtesy of Michael Page
Team from 50's?: Unknown, Bert Roger, Jack Young, Unknown,
Tiger Stevenson, Wally Green (??), Pat Clark (??), Malcolm Craven,
Reg Fearman says: Standing Jack Young, Tiger Stevenson, Pat Clarke  Ron Butcher, Bert Roger, Don Lawson, Wally Green, Malcolm Craven, Gerry Hussey.
Courtesy of Colin Greenwell

Gerry Hussey

West Ham Badges
1930s Year Unknown 1937 1946 
1954  Year Unknown  Year Unknown  
Year Unknown  Year Unknown   1965
  The badge on the left commemorates 60 years.  However West Ham closed its doors in 1972 so what does the badge actually commemorate? John
Niall Strudwick says: Left, My West Ham badge from the 1965 season where the Hammers won everything going!

What Is The Year of the Badge Shown Below
Richard Lack says: Hello John, Please find attached photographs of a West Ham Hammers Speedway badge that belonged to my late father. Perhaps you could accurately date the badge for me, my father was born 1921, so I reckon the badge is of mid 30's era.  Hope this is of interest to you?
John says:  I think this lapel badge could be as old as 1937 but I am not a West Ham fan.  The rear of the badge says "Birmingham Medal"  If I am wrong about it being from 1937 perhaps you can email me with further information? John

Reg Fearman's Photo Memorabilia
I have had lots of contact and pics/items from Reg Fearman over the 13 years (as at 2018) that I have been doing the Defunct Speedway website.  Reg has to his credit, despite his now advanced years, been in touch again with some pictures of his first love: West Ham Speedway, his pics and comments of the "Ammers," follow below.
'OME Of The 'APPY 'AMMERS   1928 - 1972
 Jessups Truck For A Grader               
Don't Know These Chaps, I Would Think Pre War?
1948 Team 
Courtesy of Reg Fearman 
Reg says: Stan Greatrex Craven Watson Bill Mathews Benny King Cliff Parkinson Byford Tommy Croombs Lawson Arthur Atkinson with Eric Chitty on machine.
John says:  Reg never calls a bike "a bike", they are always "machines" to him
1949 Team  
Courtesy of Reg Fearman  
Aub Lawson Fred Kid Curtis Wally Green Cliff Watson Reg Fearman (taken at Harringay note the crowd) 1949 Frank Bettis George Wilks on loan from Wembley (Eric Chitty had a broken leg) Malcolm Craven Howdy Byford Trevor Davies
West Ham
Test Match
Courtesy of Reg Fearman   
Aub Lawson Jack Parker Vic Duggan 1947
West Ham Entrance
Courtesy of Reg Fearman
Courtesy of Reg Fearman    
England v Australia
1947 or 1948?
Courtesy of Reg Fearman
Reg says: Max Groskreutz Ron Johnson Alec Statham George Wilks.  Just look at that Test Match crowd at West Ham 1947-48 ?

Annual Outing
Courtesy of Reg Fearman

Jack Young
Picture TR5:  Can you name this West Ham rider sporting a golden/silver helmet? John
Reg Fearman says: Jack Young Golden Helmet


Eric Chitty Singing Sensation

Mike O Brien says: Dear John, a query, as a West Ham supporter in late 40s and early 50 I can recall? Eric Chitty singing on the mike during interval? Would this be correct or could it be some one else or a figment of my imagination. As I was only about 6 or 7 did I make it up. Also I have a West Ham badge. white city, which you would be most welcome to have. You've probably got those anyway regards Mike O Brien
Hi Mike, You will be correct in thinking Canadian Eric Chitty could be heard singing as well as riding at West Ham.  Eric did make a number of 78rpm records.  I know that Reg Fearman has at least two of Eric's discs.  As a rock n roll fan I doubt Eric's records would interest me but for people of the earlier era maybe Mr Chitty the vocalist, was cool!
Send me a scan of your badge and I will display it down the right hand side black border of this page. 
George Wallett says: Eric Chitty did make at least one record singing "When I grow too old to dream". He was also in the Wembley song that the fans used to sing - "Eric Chitty may be fine but give me Kitchen every the time."  Great web site JOHN , keep it going.  Regards George Wallett team manager Birmingham 1986.
John says: Hi George, thanks for adding to the "Eric Chitty singing sensation section".  You must be well proud of Birmingham's 2010 campaign.  The Brummies and my Newcastle have been great this year. Speedway needs characters like Eric.  I wish I had seen him race John . His bike has a metal piece on his right footrest.  This was to prevent the footrest from digging into the safety fence

Eric Chitty

Above photo of Ricky Chitty, courtesy of Brian Lincoln

Above photo courtesy of Bristol fan Ray Brunt


Ghostly Leathers

Mike O'Brien Says: Hi John, another bit of speedway trivia. Sad but true. My dad worked with a bloke called Ted Ayers. whose brother was fatally injured in a novices race at West Ham I think his name was Harry Ayers. Ted lived in Greenford and kept his brothers leathers hanging in his garage right up to the time he moved in 67. 

West Ham's Training Track

Courtesy of Robert Rogers

There was a small training track in the grounds of the stadium, it was very small track, so that the riders could train using a smaller close track, as apposed from West Ham vast open spaces, and hopefully the last photo shows, with Hammers Junior and Canterbury Crusader, Barry Crowson.


Cliff Watson 1948


The Hammers of 1949

West Ham v
New Cross

Courtesy of The John Chaplin Collection

West Ham v New Cross (On the outside is Ron Johnson, Aub Lawson and Tommy Coombs at the back on the white line)

West Ham 1949

Courtesy of Reg Fearman


1949 Team
Update: Phil Masters says: Stan Greatraux (Promoter), Wally Green, Malcolm Craven, Howdy Byford,
 Eric Chitty, Trevor Davies, Cliff Watson, Kid Curtis, George Wilks, Frank Bettis, Reg Fearman. On bike is Aub Lawson


West Ham 1950
West Ham 1950, can you name the team John
Terry Stone says: West Ham 1950, Reg Fearman, Aub Lawson, Wally Green, Howdy Byford, Kid Curtis,
? Atkinson and Lloyd Goffe
Reg Fearman says: It is Arthur Atkinson and Trevor Davies next to Lloyd Goffe with Eric Chitty on the machine.

Reg Fearman 1951
Reg Fearman says: Attached is a front page picture of the Speedway Star 1951 and I did not fall off! A shame I don't have the original.

John says:  I have cleaned up the photo a little

The Spectacular
Aub Lawson
Three Photos Courtesy of Reg Fearman, The spectacular Aub Lawson in 1947
Reg says: The three photos above are taken at West Ham in 1947 and the one other rider behind Aub is Wal Morton.  Aub used to go into the corner foot forward then at the apex drop his foot and leg behind. He turned foot forward a couple of seasons later when he realised it was faster and spent the winter in Australia perfecting his style.   Not a lot of people know that !!!
John says: Well now, loads of people know that Reg!  I must say these 3 photos look pre-war to me, but hey what do I know.  Aub must have been great to watch.

More Of
Aub Lawson
Courtesy of Anne Millward
Courtesy of Anne Millward
A Christmas card from Aub to Anne
Aub with Vic Duggan Aub with Pee Wee Cullum
Another Excellent Shot of Aub Lawson
Another excellent shot of Aub Lawson, this time leading Vic Duggan and England's Jack Parker.  Aub's leg trailing as he exits the bend

Ern Brecknell

Ern Brecknell 1940's/50's can you be more precise about the year? He was riding for Newcastle 1949-51 John


Don Lawson &
Reg Fearman
Courtesy of Reg Fearman
England v Australia At
West Ham

West Ham Early 1950s

Jack Young &
Kid Curtis
Courtesy of Reg Fearman

1952: Jack Young and Kid Curtis



Wally Green

Courtesy of Reg Fearman

Eric Chitty &
Wally Green
Courtesy of Reg Fearman

Basse Hveem 1953 
Leif "Basse" Hveem his Basse nickname, I believe translated into English as "Big Boy".
Hveem came to England to ride for West Ham 1953 to '56 he rode for the Hammers in the 1st division. Leif  is credited as being the first rider to lap a British track at more than 50mph

Wal Morton

Courtesy of Richard Austin


Malcolm Craven

Malcolm Craven anyone care to guess the year? John

Bryan Tungate says: I knew I had seen that photo of Malcolm Craven somewhere before. I have just been looking through Stenners 1947 and found inside the back page (page 128) an advert for Ovaltine which uses that photo with the words "I'm a great believer in Ovaltine" says Malcolm Craven, West Ham speedway star. I would guess from the Stenners date of 1947 the photo was took in 1946. I couldn't say if MC actually drunk the stuff or not but he goes on to say - "it ensures sound sleep". This is one of the things my dad used to say so Malcolm must have been right I suppose. My dad always said he was right as well anyhow.
All the best


Malcolm Craven 1954 In Gold Leathers

A pity the photo is in black and white, however the leathers were gold coloured!

Courtesy of Richard Austin

The helmet looks like it has seen better days.  In modern days a new helmet is required if the old one has been dropped on the ground


Jack Young


Courtesy of Richard Austin



Howdy Byford


Howdy Byford and again does anyone know the year John



Gerry Hussey Leading
Arthur Forrest



Reg Fearman 1949


George Barclay & Tony Clark
Courtesy of Robert Rogers

Gary Hay
Courtesy of Robert Rogers

Gary Hay who sadly was paralyzed following a crash in Australia


Sverre Harrfeldt 1964

Sverre Harrfeldt 1964...Great Hair Sverre!



Hurri - Ken McKinley

Courtesy of Reg Fearman

The Avenger

Courtesy of Terry Stone

John says: WSRA President Terry Stone has sent the above photo, showing the best looking rider ever to wear the Hammers colours!  I hope Terry will enlighten us but if you know the identity of the "rider" and the year, then please let me know! John
Bryan Horsnell says: Just been looking at your site and I can confirm that the West Ham picture is of :- Honor Blackman who made her name in The Avengers in the 1960's and was a real film, stage and TV star from the 1960's onwards. She still appears in films and TV plays to this day and will be 85 years 'young' later this year. My guess is that the picture, in her Hammers race jacket was taken around 1950. Regards, Bryan Horsnell (Member of the California Track Staff 1955 and 1956)
Terry Stone says: Yes it's Honor Blackman but can you name the film?
John says: I would guess that she was in "Once a Jolly Swagman".  Is that correct Terry?
Robert Rogers says: I seem to remember a copy of the Speedway Post back in the mid 1960`s showing a photo of if I remember rightly Honor actually in Action, being shown how to ride the West Ham track by Howdy Byford (?), I also seem to remember at the time saying she showed prospects of becoming a very good rider.
More of Honor Blackman
Courtesy of Reg Fearman
Reg says: At West Ham Speedway - publicity shot.
Speedway 1950 riders and Celeb - Howdy Byford and Aub Lawson with Honor Blackman born in West Ham in 1925 Actress as Pussy Galore I like that name!! in Goldfinger also in The Avengers. She passed on in 2020 aged 94 - Note the Tarmac start area.




West Ham Team 1964


West Ham v Vargana
28th July 1964
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop

West Ham v Norwich
2nd June 1964
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop
This match programme shows the better rider's handicaps


West Ham Team 1965

More 1965
West Ham
1965 Badge
1965 Team
1965 Programmes
West Ham v Coventry
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop


West Ham Team 1966


West Ham v Wimbledon
28th March 1967
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop


Malcolm Simmons


Malcolm remains as one of England's Greatest ever riders



Bengt Jannson


Ray Cresp

Ray Cresp with what appear to be 2 rubber bands at the top of his forks.



West Ham Team 1969

Tony Clarke

West Ham v Coatbridge
West Ham v Kings Lynn
1969 Double Header
1st Meeting WH v Coatbridge
2nd  Meeting WH v Kings Lynn

Gary Hay
Gary was left paralyzed after a track crash in Australia

Lokeren Road Disaster
If anyone has a photograph of Malcolm Carmichael, I would like a copy to include here with the rest  John
Steve Rushbrook says:  I have a photo (see above) of Mal Carmichael, the young Australian who was killed in the Lokeren Disaster. I have cropped The photo ( for your information - it won't interest the viewers!) originally included my mother and father. My father was involved at West Ham and knew Mal - we all went for a day out at Burnham-on-Crouch, which is where this picture was taken, just a couple of weeks before he died. A lovely bloke, too.

Sverre Harrfeldt 1970

West Ham v Hackney
23rd June 1970 
Most Programme and Badge scans are courtesy of Wattie Dunlop 
Christer Lofqvist
Courtesy of John Spoor

West Ham Bombers
Courtesy of Graham Gleave
The Hammers became the Bombers in 1972 which sadly was the end of the West Ham era and the track was lost to speedway for ever.  London once boasted lots of tracks but one by one they closed down, never to reappear.


First and Last Programmes


Courtesy of Robert.Rogers

Eric Chitty and Reg Fearman coming out of the pits gate

Martin Green says: Hi John, I did a little research last night into when the West Ham photo featuring the scoreboard may have been taken. The Race Results board depicts a heat result from 4th July 1950 when West Ham met Belle Vue in a National League match which ended in a 46-38 victory to the Hammers. Heat 12 was the heat in question won by (W)Louis Lawson followed by (R)Wally Green, (Y)Henry Long and (B)Trevor Davies in a time of 81.4. The next heat saw Dent Oliver win over Eric Chitty and Reg Fearman, whom as you mention, we see exiting the pits.
Thanks for a great interesting website,
Martin Green, Sheffield

John Says; Thank you Martin.  I set out to make the website interesting and with help such as yours, it is!


Of The Custom House Site


Courtesy of Robert.Rogers

The Old Pits Area (If you compare it with the old picture, the pits is face on, this view is side on, but if you marry them up using the lamp Column and the pit light column you are more our less dead on), now a part of a housing estate, called Hoskins Close, named after the man him self John S Hoskins.

Courtesy of Robert.Rogers


Courtesy of Robert.Rogers


The old main gate area, now called Young Road, named after our Australian World Champion, Jack Young.


Map sent by Reg Fearman


West Ham Riders Re-union
I recognise: Terry Stone, George Barclay, Dingle Brown, Wally Green and Reg Fearman.  If you can name them all send me an email
Can anyone add any names? John
Terry Stone says in the front row are: Mike Wood, Wally Green, Reg Fearman, Alf Hagon and John Guilfoyle.
Phil Masters has been in touch, he says: The riders are left to right, back row : Ted Ede,
Terry Stone, George Barclay, Dingle Brown, Stan Stevens. Front row: ?  Jack Geran, Reg Fearman, ?  ?

The Black Lion Plaistow
West Ham Reunion

Tom O'Conner Vic Gooden Howdy Byford Wally Green Archie Windmill.



If you have any photographs, programmes or badges and can scan them I would like to hear from you so 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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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
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Ivans 2010 Book
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R Spencer Oliver Photos
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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
Jim Henry Page 6 1933-57
Graham Gleave Page
Argentine Tour 1929/30
Les Drury Page
Norman Jacobs Page 1
Bill Fletcher Photos
Peter Orpwood
Oval Track Racing
Pre Speedway
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