Edinburgh - Powderhall Gardens

Powderhall Road : EH7 4HG Edinburgh - Powderhall  Gardens : Map credit Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps Edinburgh - Powderhall  Gardens : Image credit edinphoto.org.uk
The Powderhall grounds were built in 1869 and the new track held its first meeting on New Year's Day 1870. The grounds are where Eric Liddell, the Chariots of Fire Olympian, did his training in the 1920's.

The Sporting Life of December 11th 1869 describes the new track as 440 yards in extent, 17 feet wide, the whole track being dead level. Spectator accommodation was excellent as the ground sloped down towards the track on all sides, like an amphitheatre. There was a grandstand for 1,200 people. The grounds were built "as an arena for pedestrian and other sports."

The first bicycle racing at Powderhall was the Edinburgh Gymnastic Games meeting which was held on 31st July 1870 and included a one mile velocipede race. Velocipede racing was tagged on to two further athletics meetings that year on 20th August and 1st October.

Bicycle racing continued through the 1870's and the Edinburgh Amateur BC held their races here as did Midlothian BC who, in 1879, attracted "a large and fashionable assemblage of spectators."

The popularity of bicycle races at Powderhall increased through the 1880's. In 1880, John Keen had a 20 miles match race against W Phillips. The Scottish Bicycle Meet finished with bicycle races at Powderhall. In 1887 the East Scotland five miles championship was held there. In 1883 it was reported that Powderhall was the only cinder track in the East of Scotland.

The 1890's was the heyday decade for Powderhall, with bicycle race meetings almost every weekend. The Scottish Cycling Meet continued to finish there, hosting the 10 miles championship of Scotland. A 12 hour track race was held in 1894 won by JH Peterson with 236 miles, Linton retired due to fatigue. One of the competitor's bicycles was stolen and the two thieves were sentenced to 14 days imprisonment. Watson College CC, Edinburgh Central CC, Edinburgh University and Edinburgh Highland Games all hosted cycling events at Powderhall.

Racing continued to be popular through the 1900's with Scottish championship races and open race meetings, but events gradually reduced in frequency and Powderhall became even less popular in the 1920's. The Edinburgh Police held their sports there and in 1923, a crowd of 8,000 watched events which included one and five miles open bicycle races. This seems to be the last bicycle racing event at Powderhall as the stadium was used for greyhound racing from 1927.

The greyhound stadium closed in 1995 and was demolished for housing.


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Photos : edinphoto.org.uk
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