Lincoln - Sincil Bank

Sinsil Bank : LN5 8LD Lincoln - Sincil Bank : Map credit National Library of Scotland Lincoln - Sincil Bank : Image credit The 100 Football Grounds Club
The first annual sports of Lincoln City FC were held on June 30th 1896 at Sincil Bank, the event was re-scheduled from Whit Monday. The races were; 1 mile novices, ½ and 1 mile amateurs, ½ and 1 mile professional. There was also a 2 miles handicap race for the Amateur Championship of Lincolnshire and of the 12 starters, top local man W Robinson won in 4 min 52.8 sec. Frank Shortland was the chief judge at the meeting and there were 3,000 spectators. There was another meeting on August 29th 1896 at which Tom Gascoyne* ‘the Chesterfield Flyer' was the main attraction.

The summer Lincoln Charity Sports meeting and the autumn meeting in late August, organised by Lincoln City FC, became annual events. The Lincoln Wheelers CC moved their meeting venue from Lindum cricket ground to the City Football ground for their September 4th 1902 meeting to decide the club championships. This annual Wednesday evening club event attracted 1,000 spectators in 1903.

Lincoln City FC built a new track which opened ar a meeting on July 4th 1903. The grass track was 5 laps to the mile around the pitch. The Lincolnshire Chronicle noted that the corners were ‘sharp'. The events at the meeting we're mainly aimed at local competitors. Unfortunately a local junior rider C Crane crashed in the mile handicap race and brought another rider down, after raising his hand in celebration at the finish.

By the mid-1900's there were two big meetings at Sincil Bank, the summer meeting, promoted by Lincoln FC, and the main autumn Lincoln Bicycle Sports' meeting, which was more popular and attracted 750 entries with 8,000 spectators in 1904.

In 1909 the Retford and Worksop Herald reported that several cases of betting at the autumn bicycle race meeting were brought before the magistrate's court.

The autumn meeting went from strength to strength up to the outbreak of WWI with entries up to 1,000 and crowds of over 10,000. The sports were run in August 1915 and open to military men stationed in Lincoln. The sports meetings were resumed in 1919 and organised by the Lincoln Wellington Athletic Club. In the 1920 event, the one mile open scratch race was won by Scunthorpe rider Albert ‘Lal' White, who won a silver medal in the 1920 Olympics.

The athletics and bicycle races meetings declined in the late 1920's but there was an attempted revival meeting in 1929 at which Albert White was again a winner, although the attendance was down to 4,000. The revival did not materialise and this was probably the last bicycle racing at Sincil Bank.

Sincil Bank has more recently hosted cricket, American football, athletics and rock concerts. Lincoln City still play at Sincil, the club sold the ground in 1982 for £225,000 because of debts, but the club bought it back again in 2000 for £175,000.

* Tom Gascoyne held world records for both 25 miles and the flying start quarter-mile. He held the English record for two miles on a tandem, and recorded an unpaced mile in 2 minutes 5 seconds.


Refs     : [291] [p]
Photos : The 100 Football Grounds Club
Maps    : National Library of Scotland