Days Gone By: When greyhound racing was big business in Ipswich

Do you recognise any of these members of the kennels staff at the greyhound track in June 1987?

Do you recognise any of these members of the kennels staff at the greyhound track in June 1987?

Did you know there used to be a greyhound racing stadium on London Road in Ipswich?

Greyhound racing at the Suffolk Stadium, London Road, Ipswich, featured in Days Gone By recently.

Readers have identified some of those in the photographs. Opposite the stadium entrance was the Ipswich Arms public house and a landlady from the 1980s has sent me her memories of her time there and an amusing incident with the pub’s donkey, George.

I have found photographs in the EADT/Ipswich Star files of an evening at the Ipswich Arms in 1975 taken by staff photographer Jerry Turner.

The photographs capture a typical local pub from the period along with fashions and hair styles some would rather forget.


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The Ipswich Arms is one of hundreds of public houses closed in Suffolk in living memory. It can be traced back to at least 1837 when it was a small beerhouse on the edge of town. The original building was replaced and this closed in 1999 and was demolished. Close by was the Royal William, which also closed in 1999. A Lidl store is now on the site.

My dad and I raced greyhounds at Ipswich from about 1970 to when the stadium closed in 1988. We bred most of our greyhounds and all their names included “Stisted” as this is where we lived in Essex. We were fortunate to win the Ipswich Derby in 1984 with a greyhound called Ballyhea Spirit. He was bought from Ireland and was possibly one of the best greyhounds we ever had. The prize money was £2,000. It was a lot of money then.

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The dog handler included in the feature was Maureen Barrett. She worked in the kennels on race nights.

The two men featured are Dave Smith and George Calver who both trained and raced dogs. I think there were about five bookmakers at the track with P Cattermole being one of them.

Sharon Whiting, by email

Being a member of the age born too soon and having lived in and around the town for 78 years, I look forward to your weekly column of Days Gone By, to remind me of the town in the past. The issue with the greyhound track reminded me of that time in the town when lots of people owned and raced greyhounds.

A G Bloomfield, Kesgrave

Mrs Sibyl Double of Ipswich, has sent me her late husband Basil’s notes about greyhound racing in Bramford Road, Ipswich, in the early 1930s.

Basil said: “The hare was powered by an old car jacked up with a wheel replaced by a wooden reel. A bundle of rags was on the end of a rope on pulleys round the track. Two men pulled it back for the next race.”

My father raced greyhounds at Ipswich in the 1960s. All his dogs had “Charity” in their names. At one time my brother-in-law ran the hare from a box opposite the stand. I would help him by putting up the winning results.The first time I did it I got a call from the judge’s box telling me to look at the board. The results were all back to front!

Michael Bensley, Chattisham.

The bookie was my great grandfather, Phillip Cattermole, who was born in January 1904 and was from Thornham, near Eye. I remember that he was once held at gunpoint one evening and they stole his money and also his car.

As well as being a bookie he was also an Ipswich Harrier and used to run for Suffolk and was a county champion.

He won lots of medals from competitions, which we still have. He was made an honorary member of Ipswich Harriers.

He was also a bee keeper and produced Suffolk honey.

Justin Hammond, by email.

Do you have memories of your favourite public house now lost to history? Write to David Kindred, Days Gone By, Ipswich Star/EADT, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email info@kindred-spirit.co.uk

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