July 23, 2024


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100 years of Craven Park – a brief history of Hull KR’s stadium


2022 marks an entire century since Hull KR first moved into the original Craven Park ground.

100 years ago, Hull Kingston Rovers moved from Craven Street in East Hull to their new ground, located on a site behind the tram and bus depot on Holderness Road.

The new site cost a total of £18,281, with Hull KR playing their first game there on September 2, 1922. We take a look back at the past 100 years of Craven Park to see how much has changed.

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Following a solid six years of rugby at Craven Park, in 1928, a company called Entertainments Hull Ltd brought greyhound racing to the stadium to rival the operation at Hull FC’s Boulevard Stadium. In 1929, the ground staged an Ashes (rugby league) series test, with Australia defeating Great Britain 31–8 in front of 20,000 fans.

As part of the 1936/37 Rugby League Championship, Wales beat England 17 – 14 at Craven Park on February 1, 1936.

The old Craven Park as seen from above
The old Craven Park as seen from above

With the greyhound racing boom well underway in 1938, a new company called Hull Stadium Ltd bought Craven Park from Hull Kingston Rovers. The rugby team secured a 21-year lease in the £10,750 sale.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the stadium opened a restaurant and four buffet bars for the public. Greyhound racing was held on Thursday and Saturday nights.

Then, in 1975, the stadium was bought back by Hull Kingston Rovers.

The old Craven Park on Holderness Road
The old Craven Park on Holderness Road

After 14 more years at the original Craven Park, Hull KR faced substantial debt and the ground was sold to developers in 1989. Hull KR’s final match was played there on April 9.

The old Craven Park has since been demolished and the site on Holderness Road is now home to a Morrisons. For the past 33 years, Hull KR have been based in the new Craven Park on Preston Road in East Hull.

The first match at the new ground was played against Trafford Borough in front of a full capacity 8,500 crowd. Rovers launched their new era in style and were crowned Division Two champions that season.

Craven Park has welcomed funfairs over the years
Craven Park has welcomed funfairs over the years

In 2006, substantial renovations were made to both the stands and the pitch as Hull KR set their sights on a return to the top flight of English rugby league. This was followed by more redevelopments, including the lease purchase of a temporary seated north stand which replaced the inadequate south terrace for away fans.

Hull KR’s second season in the Super League in 2008 coincided with work beginning on the extension of the standing terraced East Stand. This extension increased the capacity of the stand by 1,120, bringing its overall capacity to 4,750.

Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell face off at Craven Park
Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell face off at Craven Park

In 2015, Craven Park hosted the ‘Rumble on the Humber’, a boxing match that pitted Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell against local rival Tommy Coyle. After ten rounds, Campbell beat Coyle in front of a crowd of around 15,000 people.

In a weird and wonderful twist, Craven Park hosted the first ever Championship fixture of the Quidditch Premier League in 2017, supplying East Hull with a bit of magic. The winners of this Harry Potter inspired, 8-team tournament were the West Midlands Revolution.

A new attendance record was set at Craven Park in 2018, when 12,090 spectators attended the stadium to watch Hull FC beat Hull KR in a Good Friday derby.

Little Mix performed at Craven Park in 2018
Little Mix performed at Craven Park in 2018

Also in 2018, pop superstars Little Mix performed at Craven Park in front of 20,000 people as part of their Summer Hits Tour.

From 1922 to 2022, the first 100 years of Craven Park have been nothing if not eventful! Who knows how the next 100 years will turn out?


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