The great Romford and Harringay cheetah races! – Almost History

After living not that far from one of these dog tracks for over 10 years, I just now found out that, yes indeed, some promoters decided this was a great plan!

The industry faced a similar crunch in the 1930s, when the enthusiasm for going to the dogs was, in fact, going to the dogs. Promoters were faced with a glut of venues, including some recent purpose built stadia, and not enough punters to fill them. Novel entertainments were introduced including motocross, speedway, stock car racing and amateur athletics.

As exciting as these attractions were, surely none could compare with the spectacle unleashed on Londoners on 11 December 1937. It was a Saturday night and Romford Stadium was packed. It had rained heavily days running up to the event, making the going particularly heavy. The race card featured three additional races and there was palpable excitement in the air. The promoters had blended the best of greyhound racing, the zoo and the circus to develop the cheetah races.

Surely the speed, athletic grace and sheer exotic danger of the racing cheetahs would make this a winning proposition. The promoters had high hopes; they had invested heavily in the scheme and would stage races at both Romford and Harringay.

Spoiler: That worked out about as well as you might expect. Well worth a read for some of the details.

The Argus, reporting all the way from Melbourne, Australia, noted that: “Unlike the greyhound, a cheetah is attracted solely by the bait and cares nothing for racing glory”, before ruefully concluding that: “may be, however, that the racing spirit in the 12 cheetahs now in England has not yet been fully developed.”

After a few sessions, the spectacle of seeing big cats in the arena wore off and the spectators were left watching bored cheetahs wander around and even curl up for a nap. Whether cheetah racing stopped because it was no longer as interesting, because of pressure from rival greyhound stadia or complaints from locals afraid of the big cats in their backyard, it didn’t last beyond its first season.

Romford’s race promoter had got his publicity and big crowds and cheetah racing would be consigned to become one of the curios of sporting history. It is an arresting enough story to be dug out by local history enthusiasts and appear in occasional newspaper columns.

A little more info: Cheetah v Greyhound: Romford Dogs.

The animals were kept in the kennels at Romford, much to the consternation of people living nearby. Their handler, an Australian women, Ruby Henderson, tried to calm people by saying to the press “they (the cheetahs) are like overgrown cats”. She then added, in case the punters got too close, ‘ but while a cat has a lick like a small nutmeg grater, cheetahs have a lick like a barbed wire fence”

(Note: I am NOT endorsing greyhound racing, with or without big cats involved. Just sharing this for the local history curiosity factor.)

The great Romford and Harringay cheetah races! – Almost History










Rich people showers

reblogging for that gif

i’m sorry i couldn’t help myself 

Not gonna not reblog this….

The drawings are a necessary addition.

(Gargle shower and fireplace showers still best)

*muffled screams*

I had to

Ooh one time I got to use a rich people shower
Couldn’t get the rich ppl functions to work tho
I literally felt like I was stepping into a spaceship so these are accurate

I’m kind of aggravated that this is on the one day of the year with zero public transportation running here, at a location I just can’t get to without some kind of vehicle now.

Getting a minicab might be tricky too, but that may be possible. (Booking in advance might be a good idea, though.) Seems kind of excessive, but this is the first EX Raid Pass I have gotten. And I’m stubborn 🙄

Not quite stubborn enough to walk about 2 miles each way with the shape I’ve been in, however. Extra frustrating that this is even a problem now. Playing with worsening mobility problems hasn’t been great anyway, but I’m really feeling it tonight.

The Price Black Voters Paid to Defeat Roy Moore


The narrative around the Doug Jones vs. Roy Moore U.S. Senate race in the days leading up to yesterday’s election was that black people needed to vote at higher rates thannormal. African Americans typically do not turn out in large numbers for Alabama elections, especially in off-year races, goes the narrative, and hence Doug Jones needed an unusual surplus of black votes to win. However, as Vann Newkirk pointed out in The Atlantic, what’s left from this narrative is that part of why black voter turnout, or even black voter energy, has been low in past elections is because of Alabama’s long history of making it difficult for black people to vote.

This is, after all, the state that has produced some of the most innovative ways to suppress the vote throughout the 20th century, compelling the civil rights andvoting rights movements into existence. It’s an identity that Roy Moore and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill have sounded eager to continue. Black voters exceeded voter turnout expectations and played a huge role in electing Jones, but they had to overcome several handicaps at the polls, as did many voters in general, to do that yesterday:

Black get-out-the-vote efforts were compromised: As law scholar Richard Pildes explains at Election Law Blog, one of the most instrumental organizations for black political participation in the state is the Alabama Democratic Conference [ADC]. Since 1960, the ADC has not only helped to protect the voting rights of the state’s African American residents, but it also helped get them to the polls during elections. But its efforts were crippled this year thanks to a new state law that forbids political organizations from making financial donations to other political groups, which is how the ADC earned much of its revenue. Writes Pildes:

Given the economic position of many blacks in Alabama, the ADC charges membership dues of only $15/year, and less than half its financial resources traditionally came from these dues. More than half its financing for things like GOTV efforts came from organizations representing teachers and trial lawyers, which shared ADC’s political aims. When Alabama banned political groups from providing financial support to other political groups, it cut off nearly half the money ADC received for its GOTV efforts.

Police checks at the polls: The Daily Beast reported seeing police set up near polling locations to check people for warrants in Montgomery, Alabama, one of the state’s urban centers where black voters helped send Jones to victory. There is a long history of this specific kind of police badge-sponsored voter intimidation in Alabama (and other states) to frighten black voters away from the polls.  

Faulty voting equipment: Also out of Montgomery, there were reports of long lines caused, in part, by voting machines that broke down throughout the day. Secretary of State Merrill also failed to deploy an adequate number of polling officials and resources based on his belief that there would be extremely low voter turnout. He was wrong. Studies have shown that African Americans disproportionately have to wait longer to vote, mainly because of understaffed polling locations in black precincts.

Voter ID: While some federal and state courts have declared voter ID laws racially discriminatory, as have most studies, Alabama has been determined to move forward with a voter ID law, regardless. This state’s version of the law is particularly problematic because it was unfurled right as State Secretary John Merrill announced the closures of voter ID centers in several counties throughout the Black Belt. The closures are the subject of both a federal lawsuit, which goes to trial in February, and a U.S. Department of Transportation civil rights investigation, because the law makes it difficult for African Americans to get IDs and driver’s licenses. There were no shortage of voter ID problems in yesterday’s election, with poll workers questioning the validity of some voters’ IDs when not rejecting them outright. Alabama’s voter ID law was enabled by the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act. That case was filed on behalf of Shelby County, Alabama—the same county where black voters turned out yesterday in droves to help Jones win, almost as if it was revenge.

(Leah Hubbard)

Ballot confusion: There were complaints that the ballot’s design was confusing given that it gave the voter the option to vote either straight-ticket, which casts a blanket vote for all the people running in a particular party, or for the individual candidate. There was no need for this given that there was only one candidate representing each party in this special election: Doug Jones for Democrats; Roy Moore for Republicans. Some voters were told that if they voted for both party and for a candidate from a different party that their vote wouldn’t count.

(Alabama Secretary of State)

State Secretary Merrill’s response to the complaints about the ballot confusion was less than clarifying:

Votes cast indicating a voters [sic] party preference will cast a ballot for the party nominee representing that party unless the voter also selects a candidate on the ballot. In the event that a voter marks the ballot for a candidate, that voter mark supersedes any other option marked by the voter. This voter action does not cause an over-vote of the ballot nor does it interfere with the voters [sic] ballot being counted.

Inactive voter list: When people fail to return mailers that verify their address to the state secretary’s office, they are placed on an “inactive voter” list. Appearing on this list does not disqualify a person from voting—they are able to cast a ballot and verify their voter eligibility by showing some form of ID. Thousands of Alabamians were added to this inactive list (some erroneously) earlier this year, and some were told yesterday that they could not vote because of this, according to Pema Levy at Mother Jones.

While, these problems happened everywhere, they were most prevalent in cities where the largest pockets of black voters were concentrated. Cities also were a key voting demographic for Jones’ victory, favoring Jones by a 71 percent margin.

Voter suppression is still a problem, though. While the turnout for black voters was far higher than for prior races, there still is no way to quantify who was not able to vote because of the election-day problems and new laws. Black voters helped Jones win despite voter suppression, not because they were spared from it.

via CityLab | All Articles

The Price Black Voters Paid to Defeat Roy Moore