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Football, Greyhound

Murray Park

54.873305, -1.690599

Stanley

Opened:

1910

Closed:

1994

Redeveloped

Condition:

Home Teams/Clubs:

Last Updated:

5 Oct 2023

Stanley United FC (?)

HER Description

NEHL - Murray Park originated as a football ground, presumably for Stanley United Football Club, around the 1900s. Previous to this, the land was open farmland before the extensive terraces encroached between west and east Stanley.

The ground was first known as Joicey's Square after the small settlement that developed here. The ground is not shown on 1890s maps but appeared by that surveyed in 1915. It had a small rectangular pavilion on the north end, though it appears the entrance was in the south west corner. The site was landscaped given the steep slope from Shield Row.

Stanley United Football Club were the predominant team in the 1910s, having been formed at the beginning of the decade. They participated in the Northern League throughout their history, and participated in the FA Cup proper in the 1954-55 season. They lost 5-3 to Crook Town.

The ground was adapted for Greyhound Racing use before the Second World War, latching onto the fever generated by the sport at the time. Given its popularity almost 5000 racegoers witnessed the first dog, Beatrice Mary, win on 26th August 1937. It was at first a flapping track, meaning it wasn't affiliated with any overseeing body. It gained a solid reputation as one of the best tracks in the area.

Changes came after the war when it switched to racing under NGRC (National Greyhound Racing Club) rules in 1949. However, the benefits gained by doing so were not realised and reverted back to flapping in 1954. Racing continued for the next couple of decades.

The ground suffered a devastating fire in the May of 1972, destroying all its main buildings while also claiming the lives of the security guard and his dog. As a result of this the stadium was sold to John Conroy, who rebuilt the site and changed its name to Murray Park. It was previously called The Stanley Stadium.

Given its rebuild, it became one of the most modern dog tracks in the region. It included newly sanded track and brand new buildings. In trend with the national decline, the Stanley track saw attendances drop. As a result of this, it was eventually sold to developers. The last meeting was on 29/10/1994.

It was fast demolished, and a housing estate covered over the site by the early 2000s. There is no trace of the track except the name which was given to the new development

Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey, 1967

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

Murray Park around the 1950s/60s. Unknown original source.

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

Satellite imagery from the 1940s. The Stanley Stadium can be seen in the centre of the shot. Source: Google Earth

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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