The rise of greyhound racing in Britain, 1926–45
The politics of discrimination
in Going to the dogs
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Mechanical greyhound racing in Britain grew rapidly and was toasted in 1927 by the hit song ‘Everybody’s Going to the Dogs’. Yet from the start it became a major political battleground between the churches and the National Anti-Gambling League, on the one hand, and by the greyhound racing interests, on the other, over the legitimacy of the sport. It was further ravaged by internecine conflict between the National Greyhound Racing Society tracks, geared towards regulating the sport and making it safe for the public, and the smaller flapping tracks, whose prime interest was to survive by opening as often as possible. This internal conflict made the sport vulnerable to the broader attacks of the anti-gamblers, in the country and in Parliament. These can be seen in the political battles over municipal control of the tracks, Sunday closing, and the closure of the tote between 1932 and 1934. In the end, greyhound racing was always vulnerable, but survived, undergoing further challenges during the Second World War.

Going to the dogs

A history of greyhound racing in Britain, 1926–2017

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