Chasewater Stadium – what do you recall?

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Chasewater Stadium never really took off. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

Thanks to a curious sale on eBay, I can now share exactly when Chasewater Trotting Track opened – it was Monday 16th August, 1971.

Seller bonsuivit is selling an advert apparently cut from a publication of some sort (!) advertising the opening of the stadium for trotting races every Monday and Friday – the advert can be yours for £3.25 including p&p. Er, yeah…

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The crap people try and flog on eBay. A seller is selling this advert from a 1971 publication. Fortunately, the picture is useful.

We’ve not found out much about this local curiosity over the years; demolished in the late 1990s to make way for the M6 Toll, Chasewater Stadium was derelict for years, and never really a commercial success. Built by local entrepreneur Oscar Johnson, it seems to have passed through several ownerships, and now the whole site is part of the Chasewater Heaths Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Some have said the stadium itself was secondhand, and purchased from North Wales, possibly Prestatyn. Can anyone clarify this?

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The track looking south just after construction. Note the stables, bottom right. Whitehorse Road is on the left, and Pool Road on the right. In 1977, the site would echo to the roar of motorbike engines. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

Several different approaches were tried over the years to make the place a success, including apparently greyhound races and a fondly remembered long track motorbike race in 1977, but sadly, nothing seemed to save it.

The stadium can be seen in the background to The Stymaster’s Chasewater home movie.

South of Chasewater dam and the M6 Toll, the outline of the track can still be seen on Google Earth to the east of Pool Road.

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The ghost of the track is still witnessed in the landscape – local kids often use it for impromptu bicycle races.

I get lots of searches for this stadium, but know little about it, so this great find sheds some light on a quite dim corner of Brownhills history.

If you have any memories of this, pictures or anything else to contribute, do comment here please, or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

This entry was posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, planning, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Chasewater Stadium – what do you recall?

  1. Clive says:

    There are some videos of the racing at the Trotting track on Youtube.
    I can remember going to a motorcycle show there back in the 1970s,

  2. John Anslow says:

    Just been speaking to brother Paul on the telephone and told him about this article. He chuckled and said that Oscar Johnson originally wanted to build the track at the Arboretum extension in Walsall. The Superintendent of Parks, Mr E. J. Winton, was, however, vehemently opposed to the proposal.

    Mr Johnson retaliated by accusing Mr Winton of having a personal interest in suppressing the development: “Yo doh want it theer cos that’s where yo tek yer fancy women!” he announced.

    The idea of such a respectable figure as E. J. Winton having “fancy women” was, said Paul, absolutely bizarre.

  3. Andrew Richards says:

    I remember the stadium from when I used to live on Watling Street in the 70’s and 80’s. I recall going to a party there for the Queen’s silver jubilee in 1977. My recollections are that George and Connie Seedhouse used to have connections there and he was able to get us in to the stadium to use the bar room for the party. After that I used to take my dog walks around there but it always seemed to be a white elephant.

  4. Pedro says:

    Greyhound Racing History seems to differ on the opening of the Raceway…

    “East of the village of Norton Canes on the west side of the Brownhills Road was the greyhound track of Norton Canes… The stadium was built by Charles Southall in 1974 and it did not take long before the track joined the NGRC permit scheme in 1975.

    Stephen Rea took over the lease at around the same time that a rival track came to fruition in 1980; the track was the Chasewater Raceway, a trotting track that also held greyhound racing and experimented with speedway and stock cars. Nevertheless Norton Canes continued to trade and in 1984 Stephen Rea sold the lease to John Preece a businessman with an engineering firm in Stourbridge. In 1985 Go Eddie Flat Cap won the Golden Crest for P Stanley. Attendances increased helped by the closure of the previously mentioned Chasewater and then the great Geoff DeMulder joined the track for a spell.

    http://www.greyhoundracinghistory.co.uk/nortoncanes.pdf

  5. Bill Breakwell says:

    My memories are not of the stadium as such,but of Oscar Johnson’s family home Wisemore
    House in Portland Street Walsall the house itself was Georgian and I used to call there twice
    a week , as at the time 1961 I worked for Brettall’s Butchers and my job was delivering the
    regular meat order riding a rather heavy carrier bike.
    The house itself had large grounds surrounding it,part of which was a trotting track and I would
    watch Mr Johnsons ponies being trained by his groom and jockey a small Welshman who who I
    think was called Mott.
    Mr Johnson himself I remember as being an imposing figure who always wore a large Fedora hat
    and as a 16yr old lad that house and grounds seemed as if a farm had been dropped in the middle
    of the factories and shops and just a few hundred yards fro Walsall town centre.

  6. Edwina. says:

    I can remember watching young men training the shackled horses (it was like a harness type thing that didn’t allow the horses to move in a natural gait) around the field that is now the Comprehensive playing field. I just remember thinking how absolutely cruel it was.

  7. Chris White says:

    As far as I know the Johnson family still lives in the area. I used to teach one of his grandsons in the 80s.

  8. My Mom worked there in the offices for a while in the 70s. I wish that I could ask her for her memories.

  9. Bonsuivit says:

    We are pleased you found the advert useful
    All the best
    Bonsuivit
    Themoonlightergroup

  10. Vinny says:

    Ivan Mauger, the world long track speedway champion was the main guest at the motorcycle show held here in 1975? He had been presented with a gkld plated speedway bike and this was on display. I was 8years old. I remember sitting upon that bike. My first schoolboy scrambles bike was also there. An Italjet. It was on the stand owned by Motorcycle Shop Tamworth. I sat with great pride upon that bike most of the show. Chasewater back then was a very shiny glass fronted building with superb view over the speedway track. Percy Tait was also there with a broken leg having crashed his Triumph Trident. He let me sign the pot on his leg. Sad to lose such a place.

  11. Malcolm Palmer says:

    I used to live on Whitehorse Road and find this article fascinating I think the ground the Stadium was built on was just waste with many deep holes, I was told dug in the 30’s by striking miners looking for coal. They certainly held water and were a great hunting ground for Newts. There was definitely the remains of a Pit Head on the other side of Pool Lane. I have no interest in Horses so only went to watch the trotting once where I met my old friend Freddy Butler whotalked me into putting ‘special bets’ on certain horses.
    Coincidentally ‘Vinny’ mentions Percy Tait visiting the Stadium which I was unaware of but he did present me with my first ever Scramble (motocross) trophy down by Worcester.
    I do know one of the final co-owners of the track who I know would not like to be named but he was ever grateful that the Toll Road destroyed the place ……..you can guess why!!

  12. D.hargreaves says:

    I remember as a special constable in the late 90s having to clear youths from the then derelict building and more than one occasion call the fire brigade to put out fire’s

  13. Rob says:

    Fascinating. I went there as a kid once aged 7ish! Now I walk my dog around the track!! Quite eerie. A fantastic article. Thank you.

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