Salford (Albion) Greyhound Track
The residents of Salford had a large horse racecourse on their doorstep in the Charlestown Ward known as the Manchester Racecourse or Castle Irwell. This course had been in existence since around 1850 and the passion for racing led to a greyhound track starting life in 1928, not long after the introduction of oval racing to the UK.
The track known as the Albion Greyhound Racecourse was squashed into a piece of land adjacent to the River Irwell and the two bridges crossing it to the north and south formed part of the Cromwell and Gerald Roads’ These roads were linked to the Seaford Road that ran alongside the east side of the track.
The first meeting was organised for 7th April 1928 with Speedway arriving just four months later. The greyhound track was described as a good galloping track, 456 yards in circumference with a long run-up to the first bend.
There are very little records appertaining to Salford greyhounds and the lack of names on the past winners lists points towards a track that concentrated mainly on supplying the greyhounds for their own track only. However there is one name that can be found and this was Italian Printer who claimed the Northern Flat title in 1938 at nearby Belle Vue when trained by Thomas Callighan.
The track was relatively popular and business peaked in 1946 like many other tracks and actually topped a £2 million tote turnover.
The large circumference allowed sweeping bends that were very lightly banked but unusually it had been converted to grass from sand after the war. This is very unusual because all tracks were grass before converting to sand decades later. This is the first case indicating a track that actually had sand before converted to grass. The hare was an ‘Outside Metro-Vickers Mono-rail’ and the distances consisted of 300, 450, 518 & 700 yards.
Similar to other tracks there was a stand on either side of the track with a tote buildings situated on both sides of each stand. The paddock and racing kennels laid on the fourth bend and the 140 resident kennels stretched the entire back straight not too far from the river bank. The Racing Manager for many years from the early fifties until the end of the sixties was J R Mallinson.
A casino was added to the plot of land on the north side of the track, it would eventually be relocated north of Cromwell Road on land that was previously the Castle Irwell racecourse which closed in 1963. The Salford public fell out of love with racing due to the availability of many other pastimes and just over a decade after the horse racecourse closure came the end for the Albion Racecourse.
The Tuesday and Friday evening racing ended on Friday 30th July 1976 and the land today belongs to a housing estate, a small reminder is one of the roads with the name Greyhound Drive (2° 16′ 19.159″W 53° 29′ 50.941″N).