Whilst doing some filing recently I came across a copy of Stock Car - The Magazine for the Sport (April 1968 edition), which contains this magnificent image of the main grandstand and terraced paddock at a defunct speedway venue - Nelson's Seedhill Stadium.
The shot was taken at Nelson's opening stock car meeting in the autumn of 1967. Stock Car magazine (I was news editor - I needed the money) had a local correspondent, Barry Grindrod, who I believe also reported on Nelson Admirals speedway team. Barry had written a special feature for the April 68 edition, reporting that the four stock car meetings promoted by Mike Parker the previous year had attracted around 40,000 spectators.
I visited Seedhill in 1969 to report on the Admirals v Long Eaton Rangers British League Division Two match, which proved to be an incident-packed 38-38 draw. Speedway at Seedhill sadly failed to attract crowds anywhere near the size of those which (initially at least) watched the dreaded stox.
The main stand at Seedhill as illustrated in the photograph held 2,000 people, so the number of people visible in the shot is probably around 4,000.
Nelson FC were members of the Football League from 1921 to 1931 and in the 1922-23 season won the old Third Division North championship, to gain promotion to Division Two (now the Championship).
There were several other news items in the April 68 edition which were also of interest to speedway fans. The magazine's main news story concerned the demolition of the home straight grandstand at Coventry's Brandon Stadium in January of that year and its replacement by the present structure. The magazine reported that the new structure, with 1,000 seats, catering and hospitality facilities and a totalisator hall (greyhound racing had been transferred from Lythalls Lane, Coventry to Brandon), had cost £37,000.
I also wrote a diary piece on a visit I had paid to Shelbourne Park in Dublin, reporting that 'the weeds are sprouting on the former speedway track'. Speedway was to be staged at Shelbourne at a later date, and the stadium still flourishes as Ireland's premier greyhound track.
This article was first published on 22nd December 2013
"I certainly remember Nelson stadium. In 1968 I went to support Belle Vue Colts at the venue. At that time the Aces second string were riding high, unbeaten and ultimately won the title that year. Travelling confidently we then found that the track was a little (?) different to what we had been used to seeing at Hyde Road! It was many years ago but I can still see the bricks sticking up on the corners now, and the away riders were suitably subdued as a result. Colts went down by 14 points, only Taffy Owen able to cope with the conditions.........he scored 13 pts from 5 rides."
"Excellent article on a long gone track. Do we know when stox were last heard @ Nelson Seed Hill Stadium?"
"Part of the ground occupied by Nelson Stadium has still not been built on to this day. What is more amazing is that the riders numbers painted on the boundary wall can still be clearly seen 40 years after the last meeting."
"Jack, there was no bricks sticking out on the turns. it was concrete that was laid to stop the stockcars from chewing up the track. this is what you saw. The shale just would not (stick) to the concrete, we tried and tried but with no joy. The Nelson track-fence used to get a lot of bad reports. there also was other tracks in the second division that also got bad reports but the home team riders just got on with the job. My late father Derek was the manager under Mike Parker promotions at Nelson. he made his money from the stockcars. but speedway lasted 3 years then they moved to Bradford. Stockcars (helldrivers) still raced there for a few more years but the stadium had to go for the new motorway, the land at this moment is still there empty just the pits wall and the red brick wall down the back straight still remain. The riders numbers on the wall is just about the item left to say that the Nelson Admirals speedway had raced there."
"The last Stock car meeting held at Nelson was 26/10/79."
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