Isle of Man - Falcon Cliff Grounds - Douglas
Glencrutchery Road : IM2 4AU
Isle of Man - Falcon Cliff Grounds - Douglas : Image credit IOMToday Falcon Cliff was a hotel with large grounds and a popular sports arena. The first bicycle racing organised by the hotel was on Whit Monday 1877 on a track 7 laps to the mile. On September 5th the Ellan Vannin Bicycle Club held a bicycle festival and John Keen, on his first visit to the island, won the 10 miles handicap race off scratch from Walter Phillips, S Rawson and Bill Cann in 40 min 29 sec.

After a good start, racing continued into the 1880's but the Douglas Bicycle and Tricycle Club sports at the racecourse also seemed to be very popular.

In the late 1880's and 1890's the August Bank Holiday sports at Falcon Cliff became the most successful sports on the island. The August 12 & 13th 1885 meeting included the 10 miles scratch Championship Cup race and a 10 miles tandem tricycle handicap event. Some top riders of the day raced at the ground, including Palmer and W Ilston of Birmingham, the Sharp brothers of Wolverhampton, George Baker of Liverpool, Vogt of Scotland and Bert Harris of Leicester.

The Douglas Harriers had a running and bicycle racing meeting on August 6th 1890, where JE Young the Scottish champion won most of the events. In the one mile handicap race, riders on ‘pneumatics' were penalised by 30 yards. The meetings in the 1890's were well attended, 3,000 spectators being reported in 1893 and the grounds were reported as "exceedingly beautiful, being fringed with trees and flower-decked terraces, and the pleasant concomitants of music and refreshments, both of first-rate quality, are not despised by the amusement-loving public."

The Douglas Cycling Club and the IoM Cycling and Athletics Club held athletics festivals through the 1890's with several meetings throughout the summers. The opening of Belle Vue Gardens in Douglas must have affected the finances of bicycle racing at Falcon Cliff.

At the shareholders meeting of the Falcon Cliff Hotel and Pleasure Grounds Company in 1894 it was stated that the company had made a loss £413, which following the previous year's loss of £345.

The last athletics festival event of 1899 was on September 6th 1899 and this was the last ever cycle racing at Falcon Cliff. The grounds were not profitable and were sold for housing and in 1990 the hotel was restored as an office complex.

Refs     : [201] [p]
Photos : IOMToday