New Cross Stadium

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New Cross Stadium, Hornshay Street, Old Kent Road, in South East London was opened in the early 1900s as an athletic stadium but was mainly used for greyhound racing and speedway. The ground was adjacent to The Old Den,[1] the then home of Millwall F.C. and was used as a training ground by the club when they did not have facilities of their own. The track was often referred to as 'The Frying Pan'. It was built inside the greyhound track and had banking all the way round.[2] The stadium at time of demolition had a capacity of 26,000.[3]

Stadium today[edit]

The stadium was left derelict for several years until it was demolished in 1975 as part of a plan to redevelop the football ground, although those plans fell through. The site is now a public open space called Bridge House Meadows. Millwall F.C. have since moved to a new site north of the stadium, with houses now occupying the location of their old ground.

Stock Car History[edit]

The birthplace of oval track stock car racing in the UK and the first ever BriSCA Formula One Stock Car Racing took place at the New Cross Stadium, London on Good Friday, 16 April 1954. The final was won by car 11, Chevalier D'Orgeix. Racing continued here until 1956. Three meetings also took place in 1968 whilst Harringay was being revamped. During 1966 racing at the stadium was promoted by Spedeworth International and had its own team, the London Sparrows, who also had Wimbledon Stadium as its home track. The London Sparrows team included Del Stickings, Dave Pierce, Graham North, Johnny Melia, Ken Lambert, John O’Hagon, John Watts, Les Collins, Todd Sweeney and Harry Andrews.

Speedway History[edit]

The New Cross Lambs (1934–35), then the New Cross Tamers (1936) speedway teams raced there before the second world war. The New Cross Rangers speedway team rode at the venue from 1937 to 1963.[4][5]

On 28 August 1935, English rider Tom Farndon was involved in an accident with Lambs team mate Ron Johnson in a second half scratch race final. Farndon collided with Johnson which hurled him through the air and saw him land head first on the track (some reports say that he hit the outside fence before hitting the track). He died two days later on 30 August in Miller General Hospital in Greenwich, without regaining consciousness. Farndon had won the Star Riders' Championship (the forerunner to the Speedway World Championship) in 1933. He had also won the London Riders' Championship in 1934 and 1935 when a member of the Lambs.

In an era when death in speedway racing was generally accepted due to the relative lack of safety, Farndon was the only rider to die as a result of a crash at New Cross Stadium.

Filming site of the 1949 movie Maniacs on Wheels (also titled Once a Jolly Swagman) starring Dirk Bogarde as a speedway driver and Sid James as the team promoter.

External links[edit]

The New Cross club colours were a black Maltese cross on a burnt orange background. The significance of the cross was purely down to the 'Cross' in the team's name. The colours were brought with the team from Crystal Palace when promoter Fred Mockford transferred the whole operation.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 51°28′55″N 0°2′56″W / 51.48194°N 0.04889°W / 51.48194; -0.04889