Dinnington - Colliery Institute

Laughton Road : S25 2PP Dinnington - Colliery Institute : Image credit Dinnington Heritage website - Cycling Dinnington - Colliery Institute : Image credit Dinnington Heritage website - Cycling
Dinnington colliery opened in 1905 and the village population grew from 300 to 5,000. The mining company built an Institute with a concert room, billiards room, reading room, smoking room etc. and there were cricket and football pitches, a bowling green and a cycle track. A cycling club was formed at the colliery called Dinnington Colliery Institute Cycling Club, which was later re-formed as Dinnington Road & Path Cycling Club or Dinnington CC for short.

The Dinnington Colliery track was banked red shale and the opening event was the Dinnington Colliery Institute Cycling Club sports meeting on July 19th 1913. The track was one of the best in the region. The bicycle events at the sports were an open handicap race over half a mile and a five miles race for the Deacon Cup. The Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported that two men were fined for betting at the sports.

The Dinnington Colliery sports became a well established annual event on Whit Mondays. At the 1914 sports there were five bicycle races including the NCU (S York's & N Derbs) one mile championship which was won by T Neal of Mexborough who received the Muir Wilson 50 guinea shield. Albert White of Scunthorpe, who went on to win an Olympic silver medal, rode at the meeting. There were 5,000 spectators.

The colliery sports stopped in 1914 but were revived in 1924 with a meeting on July 5th. Of the three bicycle events, the main attraction was a 10 lap pursuit race between Harry Wyld* and F Thornley of Rotherham, Wyld won by half a lap. The sports continued to be popular and in 1932 they hosted the NCU local area half mile championship and the club team pursuit championship.

In 1937, the sports were held in connection with the Dinnington Hospital Week. There was an Australian pursuit race, the 5 miles club championship of the Sheffield Regent CC and an inter-club race between the Sheffield Unity CC and Dinnington CC.

The Yorkshire Post of July 5th 1948 reported on the previous Saturday Dinnington sports "L Wilson (Leeds St Christopher's) won the 754 yard scratch cycle race at Dinnington Institute sports on Saturday beating J Atkinson (Dinnington) the National five miles champion by one foot, further behind were GR Porter (Leeds Kirkgate) and the National sprint champion Alan Banister (Manchester Wheelers)."

A report in the Sheffield Star Green ‘un for the 1949 sports mentions that the track was grass and very dusty after a dry spell. This could have been a mistake.

At the Colliery sports on July 5th 1952, the cycle races were 440 and 880 yards mens handicap and a 750 yards scratch race, which was won by W Jarvis of the Dinnington. The sports were held again on July 4th 1953 with cycling and running events. The 440 yards handicap race was notable for a spectacular high speed crash involving five riders. Most riders were local with the home club Dinnington having strong representation.

With the decline of the pit, Dinnington CC was eventually disbanded in 1955. The club was re-formed in 1960 by Joe Marsh senior, continuing the club's tradition of track racing. After the demise of the sports meeting at the beginning of 1970, the club gradually grew away from the Colliery Institute. Most of the riders now raced at all disciplines so the name was changed in 1973 to Dinnington Racing Club.

The Dinnington Heritage website records the 1966 Dinnington Sports and Gala and comments "The track was red ash and was sprayed the week before with a hardening liquid and then rolled which made the surface almost like tarmac."

It is likely that that there was no more racing at Dinnington after the 1960's. The Colliery Institute was run down and the site was eventually re-developed as the Dinnington Resource Centre and Community Library.

* FH (Harry) Wyld was one of the famous Wyld brothers. Harry won five NCU national championships and he won also bronze medals in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games. The four Wyld brothers Harry, Lew, Percy and Ronald won three consecutive National track team pursuit championships. On the road, Harry also held more than 30 British paced and un-paced records.

Dinnington - Colliery Institute : Image credit Dinnington Heritage website - Cycling Dinnington - Colliery Institute : Image credit Dinnington Heritage website - Cycling
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Photos : Dinnington Heritage website - Cycling