Lost Sporting Places: White City Stadium, Glasgow

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White City Stadium was a major sporting facility located near to Bellahouston Park on the North side of Paisley Road and east of Helen Street, not far from Ibrox Stadium, home of Rangers. The stadium closed for speedway in 1968 and was later demolished in 1972 to make way for the M8 motorway and subsequently the large police station at Govan. The Stadium was predominantly used for greyhound racing and speedway, although the surviving evidence on film also reveals other uses, such as show jumping. Built in 1928 the grandstand stood on the south side adjacent to Paisley Road, with terracing all round the stadium. In the immediate postwar period the stadium was run by the Hoskins family from Australia. They reintroduced a speedway team in 1946 and Ian Hoskins named them the Glasgow Tigers, which he thought had a nice ring to it! The team wore red and white striped leathers, the idea taken from Sunderland, the team he had supported as a boy. Initially the Tigers had to compete all over the UK, Hoskins recounting in his memoir ‘The Birth of the Glasgow Tigers‘ the fact that he travelled 24,000 miles by the end of the first season in 1946. Speedway and greyhound racing thrived in Scotland for the first half of the 1950s, and Hoskins’ penchant for showmanship – his trademark of setting fire of his hat being one of his more dangerous stunts – attracted relatively large average crowds of 13,000. The stadium hosted international speedway competitions, and for a while created a number of local celebrities including Tommy Miller, known as ‘Atomic Tommy’ and the Australian rider Junior Bainbridge. In the 1960’s home grown talent Jim McMillan from Bearsden followed in the footsteps of his two uncles, the Templeton brothers, and wowed local fans going on to represent Scotland and the British Lions.  But the stadium always faced financial problems, chastened by the introduction of a 45% Entertainment Tax by the post-war Labour government, they were forced to diversify the use of the stadium including show jumping, which is captured in a Pathe Newsreel from 1947.

Show Jumping at White City Stadium

FILM LINK: British Pathe ‘Around Scotland (1947)

The film shows several sequences of horses going over jumps in front of a full main grandstand at White City Stadium. The commentator remarks how this is a new venture, set to become an annual event, with patronage from Lord Inverclyde, a descendant of  Sir George Burns owner of the Cunard Line.

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The film also reveals the landmark Totalisator boards (above) used by the greyhound bookmakers, which also showed the results from the speedway. By the late sixties the stadium was in disrepair, and the Tigers moved to Hampden Park, with the final greyhound race in 1972 before the bulldozers moved in to make way for the motorway.

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