Leeds - Holbeck Recreation Grounds

Cleveleys Avenue : LS11 0AH
Holbeck Recreation Grounds was used for sports from the 1870's. Bicycle races started in at Holbeck 1878 on a gravel track of 5 laps to the mile.

The first annual Holbeck Cricket Club Athletic Sports took place on June 8th 1878 at the ground and Leeds Athletic Club held their annual sports there on June 15th 1878 with one and two miles open bicycle races. There was a match bicycle race between Farley of Armlet and Stockdale of Beaton Hill on June 18th 1879.

The Leeds Athletic Club held their eleventh annual sports on June 12th 1880 with ‘spectators numbering probably about 7,000 or 8,000' and there were three bicycle races including a 5 miles scratch race. Leeds Crescent Bicycle Club held a mid-week two miles handicap race on July 20th 1880.

1881 was a busy year at Holbeck, the Leeds Imperial BC held evening races, there was a Grand Fete and Gala with bicycle races in August and the Leeds Crescent BC held their annual sports. The Crescent had a 1 mile handicap and 10 miles scratch races for club members and a 2 miles open handicap race. There was suspicion of ‘roping' (throwing a race for financial reasons) in one or two events.

The Beeston Temperance Society athletic festival took place in July 22nd 1882 and there were one and two miles bicycle handicap races. The athletics meeting attracted 300 competitors but the attendance was poor at 2,000 spectators.

At the Leeds Harehills CC 4th annual athletics festival on August 16th 1884, the ‘cracks' RH English of North Shields and J Lees of Clay Cross were riding. The meeting included the one mile tricycle championship of Yorkshire. First prize for the 2 miles race was a ‘Club' Racer, to be made to the order of the winner, by the Coventry Machinists' Company.

The Holbeck Pitt Club* held an athletics meeting on July 17th 1886 to raise money for their new premises. As well as running races there were two bicycle races over two and three miles.

Bicycle racing at Holbeck seemed to have stopped by 1890. Holbeck Recreation Ground was built over around 1897, with housing, and there are eight streets with names starting ‘Recreation' which still exists.

* There were once 47 Pitt Clubs in the UK, which were formed ‘to do honour to the name and memory of Mr William Pitt, to uphold in general the political principles for which he stood.' Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister from 1759 to 1806. There are still four Pitt Clubs in existence.


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