Perry Barr Stadium

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Perry Barr Stadium
Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium Bloye stag.jpg
Full name Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium
Location Aldridge Road, Perry Barr, Birmingham, England
Coordinates 52°31′11″N 1°53′56″W / 52.5196°N 1.8988°W / 52.5196; -1.8988Coordinates: 52°31′11″N 1°53′56″W / 52.5196°N 1.8988°W / 52.5196; -1.8988
Construction
Opened 27 July 1929 (1929-07-27)
Expanded 2007
Tenants
Stadium from Aldridge Road. There are extensions to either side of the original block.

Perry Barr Stadium (also known as Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium and previously as Alexander Sports Ground(s)[1]) is a stadium and racetrack on Aldridge Road in Perry Barr, Birmingham, England.

Opened in 1929, it was built for Birchfield Harriers, who left in 1977. It is now used for greyhound racing and speedway.

Birchfield Harriers[edit]

The stadium was originally constructed for an athletics club, Birchfield Harriers who held its opening ceremony on 27 July 1929,[1] having purchased the land on 11 November 1926.[1] The façade still carries their badge, a running stag, rendered in Art Deco style bas relief, carved in 1929 and attributed to William Bloye.[2] The site was formerly a rubbish tip, chiefly for fly ash from a local power station.[1]

Birchfield Cycling Club used the venue for cycle races, and, from the mid-1930s, the cycle track outside the running lanes was used by the Sunbac Speedway Club for dirt-track racing (speedway).[1] In the 1930s and 40s, Aston Villa Football Club's second and third teams trained at the stadium.[1]

Soon after the start of World War II, the stadium was requisitioned by the government and used by the Home Guard.[1] Later in the war it was used to accommodate Italian prisoners of war;[1] the last of these did not leave until January 1946[1] and the club only returned to the stadium the following month.[1] Shortly afterwards, the club hired out the stadium on Saturday evenings, to Birmingham Speedway. Floodlighting was installed to facilitate the latter,[1] and this allowed for the first floodlit athletics meeting ever held in the United Kingdom, in September 1948,[1] after the lights had been turned on near the end of an earlier meeting, which had overrun into dusk.[1] Floodlit horse jumping competitions were also held.[1]

On 29 May 1954 Diane Leather became the first woman to run a mile in less than 5 minutes, during the Midlands Women's AAA Championships at the ground.[3][4]

In 1977, their centenary year,[1] Birchfield Harriers moved to the newly built Alexander Stadium, nearby, [1] and the old venue was renamed "Perry Barr Stadium".

Greyhound Racing & Speedway[edit]

The stadium is now used for greyhound racing on Friday and Saturday night. The site was first used for Greyhound Racing in 1990, six years after the closure of the old Perry Barr stadium, across the A34, and known latterly as the Birchfield Ladbroke Stadium, which was demolished in 1984 to make way for the "One Stop Shopping Centre".

A major race called the Birmingham Cup was held at Perry Barr until 2009 and it also hosted the original classic race the Scurry Gold Cup from 2005-2008.

The stadium is also the home of the Birmingham Brummies speedway team. The shale track is 292 metres (319 yards) in length.

Location[edit]

The stadium is opposite the main Birmingham City University campus and close to (and served by) Perry Barr railway station. It sits in the fork of the A34 Walsall Road (to its West) and the A453 Aldridge Road. The River Tame flows northwards between the stadium and the A34.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Alexander, William O; Morgan, Wilfred (1988). The History of Birchfield Harriers 1877-1988. Birchfield Harriers. ISBN 0-9514082-0-8. 
  2. ^ Public Sculpture of Birmingham, George T. Noszlopy, Liverpool University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-85323-682-8
  3. ^ "Athletics photographic encyclopedia". Sporting-heroes.net. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  4. ^ The Independent (London) http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/athletics-50-years-ago-roger-bannister-became-a-sporting-legend-with-his-fourminute-mile-why-is-his-female-equivalent-just-seen-as-an-alsoran-560512.html |url= missing title (help). 

External links[edit]