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VIRGINIA PARK, CAERPHILLY

Site Details



NPRN 417126

Map Reference ST18NE

Grid Reference ST1576687749

Unitary (Local) Authority Caerphilly

Old County Glamorgan

Community Caerphilly

Type of Site DOG RACING TRACK, RACING CIRCUIT, RUGBY PITCH, SPORTS GROUND

Broad Class RECREATIONAL

Period Post Medieval, 20th Century, 19th Century

Site Description Virginia Park, Caerphilly, is the home ground of Caerphilly Rugby Football Club and has been in continual use for sporting purposes since the foundation of the club in 1887. A wide variety of sport has been played at the ground including team sports such as rugby and soccer and a diverse range of racing events including powderhall, speedway and greyhound racing. Much as its near neighbour, Taff Vale Park (NPRN: 412837) it was used for the fifteen-man footballing code before developing into a multi-purpose arena in the second quarter of the twentieth century.

The site is clearly marked on the 3rd revision, 25'' O/S map of 1920 and is identified as Virginia Park (Athletic Ground). Its impressive development in the 1920s and 1930s is readily apparent on the 4th revision, 25 '' O/S map of 1937. By this time, the ground had been in use for professional foot races (powderhall), greyhound racing and speedway and had the oval shape of a racing circuit. Powderhall races transferred to Virginia Park from Taff Vale Park in Pontypridd in 1930 and the greyhound track opened the following year. A large grandstand had also been constructed to the rear of Victoria Hall.

Sporting activity in the South Wales Valleys faced extraordinary difficulties during the Depression and many grounds fell into disuse (such was the case in Tredegar) or were municipalised (as with Taff Vale Park). Virginia Park limped through the decade and gained a new use during the war as a storage depot from the local fire brigade and as a recreational venue for garrisoned American GIs.

The post-war period saw the revival of Virginia Park as a rugby ground and this has remained is primary purpose ever since. In more recent years, the site has expanded to include a golf course, soccer fields, and additional playing fields for rugby football. The construction of Caerphilly Leisure Centre in the late-1970s confirmed Virginia Park's status as the town's most important venue for sport.

Daryl Leeworthy, RCAHMW, 27 June 2012.