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Cricket, Rugby, Greyhound, Stock Car, Speedway, Boxing

Clarence Road Ground

54.687739, -1.212199

Hartlepool

Opened:

1881

Closed:

1996

Redeveloped

Condition:

Home Teams/Clubs:

Last Updated:

23 May 2023

West Hartlepool CC, West Hartlepool RFC

HER Description

NEHL - The ground at Clarence Road was first established in 1881, when West Hartlepool CC moved from a ground at Burn Road where they placed from 1855 as well as for a short time at Foggy Furze. During this time, the club played in the Durham Senior League and the North Yorkshire and South Durham League. They won the A Division Championship in 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1908 and 1913 which is two years after they left this ground. It was a decade of domination alongside Guisborough.

The ground can be seen in this form on the 1890s maps. A pavilion was constructed in the north west corner of the ground but had disappeared when it became a rugby.

At this stage the ground was operated by West Hartlepool RFC. They formed in 1911 so appears they took over the ground upon formation. In their first year they played Hartlepool Rovers, Newcastle RGS, Harrogate, Rockcliff (Whitley Bay), Ryton etc and entered for the Durham Senior Cup. The ground in the 1910s featured one stand on the west side of the pitch. They continued here until the 1970s, ground sharing with the Hartlepool Greyhound Racing Company Ltd.

The Greyhound track was constructed around the rugby ground in 1938. The first meeting was held on 14th September 1938, with an attendance of 4000 and the winner being a Greyhound called Arran Beg. It came at a bad time as suspension of races for the war was necessary. The ground suffered considerable bomb damage in 1940 after air raids presumably targeting the docks and industry around it. It demolished the main stand and offices, and sadly killing two night watchmen on duty. It was revamped and put back into revenue earning soon after the war.

While Rugby and Greyhound racing continued, other sports such as Boxing took place here. Brian London fought here in 1957.

The Rugby club faced considerable financial difficulties in the mid 60s, and were eventually evicted in the 70s. This resulted in the Greyhound racing becoming the only revenue stream available for the ground. Alternatives were sought and stock car racing commenced in September 1975. It was a success, and both sports continued in liaison, of course on alternate days.

The stadium was put up for sale in 1985 after a financial downturn. It also failed a council inspection in the 1990s which saw sections of the ground closed to spectators. Capacity was forcibly reduced to 4000. To garner new income speedway racing was help which failed after noise levels went beyond regulatory requirement. Stock car racing ended in 1995, and the final Greyhound meeting was staged in September 1996.

Demolition came in the same year due to the threat of vandalism. It stood idle and was used for fairs and circus' until Morrisons was housed here. There is no trace.

Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey, 1897

'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

Clarence Road in 1994, a couple of years before closure. Source: Hartlepool Museums

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'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

Bomb damage in 1940 which caused huge damage to the main stand and surrounding buildings. Source: Hartlepool Museum

Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

HER information as described above is reproduced under the basis the resource is free of charge for education use. It is not altered unless there are grammatical errors. 

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