Page 14 - DLNoct2016-1011
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By 1893 Catford Cycling Club races were being held at the Herne Hill
Velodrome which had opened a couple of years earlier, and with as many as
13,000 watching (9) thoughts seemed to turn to trying to get an equivalent
closer to home. The races at Herne Hill may well have had the ‘furiously’ riding
George Lacy Hillier, officiating at them. – Running Past covered his career a
few months ago,

During 1894 funding was secured to obtain both the land and construct at
Catford ‘the largest track in Europe, the surface was of special cement
designed to give a perfectly smooth running plane whilst allowing the newly
invented pneumatic tyres perfect adhesion.’ It had with seating for 1,000
spectators, plus standing room for many thousands more.

Building was well underway by November 1894 (10) and almost complete by
January 1895 (11). The prospectus for it described it as ‘a new sports resort’
with Blackheath Harriers to make it their headquarters. The opening
ceremony was planned for May 4 1895 (12), although this ended up being
delayed a couple of weeks (13).

The new stadium was opened by Lord Kinnaird, President of the Football
Association, on May 18 (14) with a full programme in rather rainy conditions
with 10,000 spectators – the races included a victory for Birmingham’s F W
Chinn in the Quarter Mile
scratch race .

There were a couple of line
drawings of the new
track and the inaugural
meeting in the Picture
Post, with what was
presumably meant to be
Crystal Palace in the
background (16).

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