Hull (Boulevard) Greyhound Track
The Boulevard Stadium in Kingston-Upon-Hull had an Airlie Street entrance between Carrington Street and Glasgow Street.
Managed by the Associated Greyhound Racecourses Ltd the track opened on 2nd July 1927. It was the home of Hull City FC when the greyhounds moved in and also hosted important rugby league matches.
The track was one soon to be one of three greyhound stadiums operating in Hull after two more followed in the Boulevard’s footsteps. Within a year the Craven Park stadium opened and in 1934 the Craven Street track opened but the latter was short lived.
The football team moved out after finding a new home at Boothferry Park in August 1947 and the greyhound racing soon followed after coming to an end on 11th December 1948. Despite the Boulevard Stadium being considerably bigger than Craven Park the difference in popularity and tote turnover was significant.
In 1947 the tote turnover of Craven Park was £578,628 compared to the Boulevard’s paltry £23,263. The year previous taking advantage of limited activities following the end of the war Craven Park had surpassed the £1 million mark, a figure that the Boulevard could only dream off.
The stadium was left with just one tenant and remained the home of Hull FC better known as just Hull (the rugby league team); speedway arrived in 1970 and hosted the Hull Vikings until 1981.
As the years passed the ground became in need of investment that was not forthcoming, the ground had three stands and the most popular one the ‘Threepenny Stand’ (named after the original entry fee) closed in 1985 for safety reasons.
In 2003 Hull FC found a new ground at the KC Stadium joining up with the football team. However just as the stadium looked doomed greyhound racing returned to save the day. The greyhound operation had just finished at the New Craven Park and transferred to the Boulevard.
The track was quickly constructed with a circumference of 387 metres and distances of 270, 460, 655 and 845 metres.
Action got underway in December 2003 with Friday and Saturday night racing under the supervision of Racing Manager David Gray and General Manager Gary Ince the same team that was in charge at the New Craven Park.
After the council refused to extend the greyhound racing lease the stadium remained unused until 25th October 2007 when it re-opened again. Racing changed to Thursday and Saturday nights and the respected Mick Smith was brought in as Racing Manager. This was to prove a short stay of execution because on 27th June 2009 the stadium closed for good. The council has since announced that it will be demolished due to safety reasons despite efforts from Hull FC to use it as a training ground.
It will be interesting to see the bookmaker’s odds on the site turning into housing or Tesco in the near future rather than a leisure area for the locals!