Lincoln - Lindum Cricket Ground

Wragby Road : LN2 4PE Lincoln - Lindum Cricket Ground : Map credit National Library of Scotland
The Lindum Cricket ground was used by Lindum Cricket Club from 1861. Lindum Colonia was the Roman name for Lincoln. The first bicycle racing at Lindum was the first annual Lincoln Bicycle Club sports which were held on September 20th 1879 on a grass track of 5 laps to the mile. Top riders of the day appeared at the meeting, HL Cortis, the British champion and CA Palmer both entered but did not appear. The bicycle events were; one and two miles open handicap, one mile local handicap, five miles club handicap and a slow bicycle race. Total prize money for the event was £45 with a first prize of 10 guineas for the 2 miles handicap. The weather was ‘gloriously fine' there was a large attendance and the track was in ‘splendid condition'.

The second Lincoln BC annual sports were advertised in the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury of September 3rd 1880 "HL Cortis the Amateur Champion of England (who rides a 60 inch bicycle) IS COMING and will positively compete in the Open Events at these sports. Upwards of 200 other entries, including the most distinguished riders of the present day." Cortis did ride at the meeting and won the two miles handicap event and the first prize, which was a 54 inch semi-racing bicycle, by Carver of Nottingham, value £17. The crowd numbered 3,000.

The Lincoln BC sports in September increased its popularity, with 300 entries and 6,000 spectators in 1881 and the sports remained very popular throughout the 1880's. At the August 27th 1887 meeting H Syntner won the two miles scratch race for the Lincoln Cup in front of a crowd of 10,000 spectators. At the following year's meeting he won the cup again, so it became his own property. Lincoln BC were thanked for inviting people from the workhouse to their meeting.

By the mid-1880's Lincoln BC were organising both spring and autumn meetings at Lindum. At the Autumn 1889 meeting, H Synyer won the mile race and the Aerial rider JW Stocks* won the two miles event, with a crowd of 14,000. This meeting confirmed the annual event as one of the best in the country with 44 events and fields of up to 80 riders (in heats). The autumn meetings continued to draw very large crowds, but the spring meetings were much less successful.

The Lincoln Bicycle Club was not what it seems however and the Lincolnshire Echo of June 10th 1893 stated that the Lincoln BC had effectively been defunct for some time and a group were running events using the club name to obtain race permissions. Following accusations of betting, the club was permanently expelled from the Northern Counties Athletic Association in 1893 for not being a bona fide club.

Undeterred by not obtaining a licence from the NCU for their August 19th 1893 meeting the Lincoln BC ran a professional meeting with cash prizes. The occasion was a success with top riders such as Dick Howell, the English champion and J Medinger the European champion competing and 6,000 spectators watching. In the 2 miles event, Howell established a new professional grass track record of 5 min 50 sec.

The Lincoln BC annual autumn races continued through the late 1890's, still attracting large crowds of around 10,000 people. The autumn meetings were organised by Lincoln City Football Club and Lincolnshire Road Club. Lincoln Wheelers CC organised an evening club race meeting on August 22nd 1900, at which there were six bicycle events including the 1 mile club championship and a 1 mile race for married men.

Bicycle racing at Lindum cricket ground seemed to stop after 1900, probably due to the demise of the old Lincoln Bicycle Club professional events and the rising popularity of the Sincil Bank stadium.

* JW Stocks became the first rider to exceed 25 miles of riding in one hour in 1893. On the Crystal Palace track he broke all the paced cycle records from six to 32 miles inclusive. In one hour he cycled 32 miles 448 yards in 1897.


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