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Running Past has covered the early history of Blackheath (now and Bromley)
Harriers on the Heath; Catford Cycling Club’s origins are little later, not being
formed until 1886 – but within a decade or so it had become ‘probably the
foremost track racing club in Britain’, according to its official history at

In the early 1890s, while the area around Rushey Green was beginning to be
developed and from the 1893 Ordnance Survey map, building had reached a
nascent Laleham Road but no further east – the big development of this
area was to start a couple of year later by the sale of North Park farm to
form the Corbett Estate – on the eastern edge of the map. The track was
not there long enough to trouble the cartographers but was in the field to
the north west of Cockshed Farm.

Some of the early track meetings of the Catford Cycling club were held at
Paddington Recreation Ground – which had opened in the early 1880s, adding
the cycling track in 1888. By 1889, the club was getting large numbers of
entries for their main race day, the programme for which went on for 7 hours
(1) – their open mile novice handicap in that year attracted 143 entries (2)
and 464 in total (3). Racing was to continue the following year with meetings
in July (4) and August (5).

                                                              By 1892 the club was
                                                              getting crowds of 7,000
                                                              at Paddington Rec. (6)
                                                              and holding international
                                                              meetings with Dutch
                                                              cyclists there in
                                                              torrential rain (as
                                                              pictured below) (7)) in
                                                              the home fixture, along
                                                              with a return one in less
                                                              inclement conditions in
                                                              the Netherlands (8)

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