Mexborough and Swinton Times January 13, 1928
Down on the Dogs
Wombwell Churches` Opposition to Greyhound Racing.
Council Supports Protest.
Is It Sport?
Something of a mass onslaught upon the proposed establishment of a grey hound racing track at Wombwell was made at the meeting of the Wombwell Urban Council on Tuesday.
The opposition was marked by fiery speeches, and several members of the Council expressed their determination to do all in their power to scotch the scheme. Eventually a vote was taken, and the Council agreed to support a protest of the Quarterly meeting of the Hoyland Primitive Methodist. Circuit.
The Clerk (Mr. P. M. Walker) reported receipt of letters of protest from the Wombwell Parish Church, the Wombwell Wesleyan Church, the Wombwell Congregational Church, the Wesleyan Reform Church (George Street), the Wombwell and District. Sunday School Union, the Wesleyan Reform Church (Mitchell Main), the Wesleyan Reform Church (Lundhill) and the Wombwell ‘Whitsuntide Committee.
The following letters were read:—
From the Wombwell Parish’ Church:—
” We members of- the Wombwell Parish Church view with grave concern the proposed intrusion into our town of ‘so-called greyhound racing with ‘all its attendant evils, and we most earnestly beg that our Urban District Council and all other public authorities will exercise to the full whatever powers they may possess to control, and if possible to avert this menace to the social and moral welfare of the township, feeling thus we do most strongly feel that far too many temptations of this character are already placed in the way of young people leaving of little children to divert them from the path of virtue and honesty, as well as our fellow men and women constantly being flagrantly imposed upon by unscrupulous agencies out to defraud and robbed them of their hard gotten and ill to be spared money.”
From the Wombwell Corps of the Salvation Army:
“We, the members and congregation of the Salvation Army, strongly urge the Wombwell Council to withhold their consent to the erection of a greyhound racing track in the town. It is our opinion that it will be a corrupting influence and a menace to the young people, and that the chief sufferers will be the women and children. As a church we herewith desire to record output.”
The council had rejected plans submitted by the Yorkshire Grail (Wombwell) Ltd, in respect of the proposed track in Station Road, but during discussion the surveyor (Mr W Quest) said the architect of the scheme since satisfied and all the points raised so far as the local bylaws were concerned. The Surveyor also stated in reply to Mr JW Mellor, that the area was not scheduled for housing and town planning
Mr J Hall: We don’t want greyhound racing down there, never mind houses.
Leader of the Opposition
Mr J Hall led the opposition. He said he was not opposed ground race as a sport. Those who knew him will give him credit for being a “sport,” but greyhound racing was not to be compared with cricket or football or horse-racing. He loved cricket and football and even horse-racing though he did not see much of it. Nor was he opposing the scheme because of the letter of protest sent in by the churches. At the same time he was protesting on moral grounds. One wondered whether there was not more money in Wombwell than some people gave the town credit for. Here they had shrewd men who were prepared to put down a greyhound racing track at a cost of £25,000, and if the architect could prepare a scheme that compiled with the by-laws it I was nearly impossible for the Council to disapprove. He opposed the scheme because he felt confident the town could not afford it. He assumed that the argument would be put up that there was no difference between greyhound racing and any other form of sport; it was not to be compared with horse-racing, whippet racing or any other racing. It was a flagrant and deliberate attempt to introduce gambling.
“If anyone can show me that the inception of this greyhound track is for any other purpose than gambling then I will immediately agree to the construction of it,”
Mr. Hall said not one of them could stand on their feet and say they were perfect, but they had a right as leading citizens to say that nothing should come into the town that would injure it morally and socially.
There was a time when men used to call at the public-house on the way home with their wages and stay until late at night. That time had gone by. The publicans, in their own interest, put a stop to it. In this scheme there was another attempt to deny families their full income.