At the end of March I have convinced Andy (who is the Senior Curator at Abbey Pumping Station) and his daughter Verity to visit the site with me and attempt to do a first sweep clear-up of anything obvious that needs moving quickly. Verity provided photo-documentation for the days work and also grafted until we were all ready to collapse!
Our efforts were tremndous but the vine weed seemed to be growing as quick as we were clearing!
The remaining roof boards are gathered up and tagged. All iron girders appear to be present and in good condition so these are also tagged and gathered for transit and storage.
Having removed the roof pieces we can see the buried side section of the upper deck which once carried an advert for Leicester Greyhound Racing at Blackbird Road. We decide this is the next item that needs digging out and realise that 3 of us is only just enough people to lift the heavy oak panel! Will the advert still be intact?
The side panel is lifted and to our delight the advert is largely still legible. This advert will be recreated one day and so we photo-document every inch of it. It contains a painting of several greyhounds leaping and reads “Greyhound Racing at Leicester, Blackbird Road Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 pm”.
The Blackbird Road site (which was actually on Parker Drive just off Blackbird Road) later became the Speedway Track as well as dogs and greyhounds; it was eventually turned into a small housing estate in the early 1980’s. One of our group members is an international speedway judge and takes a shine to discovering this advert panel is still legible!
A number of interesting painted signs become apparent to us as we explore the lower saloon and we discover a Notice to Passengers and a No Smoking sign – smoking was only permitted upstairs! Fortunately none of us smoke – good job as the upstairs is a no go area right now!
Many thanks again to Andy and Verity for a hard days work!