Trelai Park (Ely Racecourse)

Ely Racecourse was opened on 30th May 1855 by the Cardiff Race Club. It became an important racing venue - including hosting the Welsh Grand National - and remained so until the late 1930s.[1]

In 1931 Cardiff Council bought the racecourse from the Cardiff Race Club for approximately £25,000. It was reported that the Race Club was being disbanded in favour of developing Chepstow as the racing centre for Wales.[2] Racing was allowed to continue for several years, while the Council's plans were under discussion. In April 1937 the Parks Committee assumed responsibility for the racecourse until it was required for other purposes, and the Committee recorded that agreement was needed with the Race Club regarding the duration of its use of the ground for racing, so that a scheme for use of the whole ground could be developed.[3]

The Grandstand, Ely Racecourse c.1898

The grandstand, Ely Racecourse c.1898[4]

Whitchurch Free Library

From a cigarette card

Whitchurch Free Library

During the 1939-45 World War parts of the racecourse were requisitioned by military authorities.[5] After the war plans were brought forward to develop the racecourse site for recreation and sport. Meanwhile international events such as international sheep dog trials were held there and the racecourse grandstand was dismantled and re-erected in a new location.[6]

In 1959 the Parks Director reported the former racecourse grandstand to be in a very dilapidated condition and serving no useful purpose, and the Parks Committee agreed to invite tenders for its demolition.[7] The Committee accepted a tender of £93 for the demolition of the grandstand in 1961.[8]

Sources of Information

  1. People's Collection Wales Ely Racecourse
  2. Houses to be built on Ely Racecourse? Western Daily Press, Bristol, Tuesday February 3rd 1931, page 4
  3. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 11th May 1937
  4. Photograph from Cardiff Library Local Studies Collection, date c.1898
  5. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 6th February 1940
  6. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 11th March 1947
  7. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 26th October 1959
  8. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 10th July 1961