Godfather Of Legal Betting

“Clark Groves was born on the 14th May 1889. A naval officer, in WW1, he fought at the Battle of Jutland. After the war he worked as a fitter in Harland & Wolff before using his de-mob money to establish a bookmaking business here in 14 Manderson Street (since demolished), at the back of the Old Clock Bar. The bookie’s ‘Pitch’ was very like the ones seen in the TV series ‘Peaky Blinders!’ At this time, running a betting business was illegal. Clark, and a number of other bookmakers, founded the Turf Guardians Association and led a successful campaign to have their businesses legalised. Years later, a local bookie told Clark’s grandson that he and his colleagues owed their livelihoods to ‘Old Godfathers’ like Clark. Clark was a generous, popular man. He helped out many local people over the years, lending money for funerals, weddings and education costs. It’s said that he ‘married and buried them on the Newtownards Road!’ He died on 28th May 1957, just two weeks after his 68th birthday. His funeral was the biggest seen before or since in the area. The trolley buses to Dundonald Cemetery were full of people and those who couldn’t get on walked the length of Newtownards Road to be there. A measure of the man for sure. Clark Groves was the annual summer football tournament that was played at ‘The Hen Run,’ the home of Dundela FC. It was known as the Clark Groves Cup. – Stephen Beggs”

Connswater Street, Belfast

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Copyright © 2021 Extramural Activity
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X07829 X07830 heritage fund unsung people who built community in east belfast eastside partnership

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