Tuesday, 19 April 2011

How to win at greyhound racing - go for a Swift Gin

The joys of The Brown Sign Way not only come in the sheer quantity of brown-signed attractions across Britain but also in their variety. There are 93 different types of attraction and facility that get their own symbol on brown signs, for example:

Birds of Prey

Motor Museum


Historic Dockyard/Naval Attraction

Of course there are attractions that don't fit into any of the 93 categories and these either get their own unique symbol (like Jodrell Bank Observatory and the Millennium Dome) or don't have a symbol and have just text on their sign. There are a few niche categories, like heavy horse and brass rubbing centres that get their own symbol and as much as you might think there aren't really enough of them to warrant having their own symbol I like the idea that they're important and British enough to be included.

An attraction that doesn't have it's own symbol but really should (and what a brilliant symbol it would be) are greyhound stadiums, so when Perry Barr dog track in Birmingham signed themselves up to my website it inspired me to research the history of greyhound racing in Britain. The first ever official greyhound races were held at Manchester's Belle Vue Stadium after an American enthusiast brought over the concept (which emerged from coursing) in 1926. By 1927 there were over 40 dog tracks across the UK and the sport proved very popular, especially with the urban working classes. It enjoyed it's peak in popularity just after WWII but as with many sports and leisure activities at the time visitor numbers began to wane in the 1960s, probably due to the ease and affordability of travel and the shifting trends in how people spent their leisure time.