Liverpool - Kensington Fields

Hall Lane : L7 8TT Liverpool - Kensington Fields : Map credit National Library of Scotland
Kensington Fields was the last green space left in the Edge Hill area by 1880 and there was strong public support for saving the area as a public park. The Liverpool Athletic Club Limited was formed in spring 1880 and presumably rented Kensington Fields as its new ground. The site was on Hall Lane with the entrance on Edge Lane, opposite Towerlands Street. The Athletic Club laid down a cinder cycle track and the ground had a capacity 10,000.

The first Athletic Club meeting on the new track was on Saturday and Easter Monday 1880, which included one and two miles bicycle handicap races. Liverpool Athletic Club was very active for the next five years in promoting athletics meetings at the ground and nearly every event at Kensington Fields was organised by the club. There were further meetings in 1880 at Whit Saturday and Monday with two bicycle races and a summer meeting on July 3rd

The Liverpool Daily Post reported on a 25 miles match race, organised by Liverpool Athletic Club on April 2nd 1881, between "John Keen (Champion of England) and David Stanton (Champion of America), Stanton receiving 2½ minutes start."

Further meeting in 1881 were at Easter Saturday, June 4th and September 17th and 24th with one mile novices handicap and two miles open handicap. The Anfielder recorded a sports meeting of the Liverpool Athletic Club in 1881, at Hall Lane. The report reads "At the 1881 Sports of the Liverpool Athletic Club, at Hall Lane, several Anfielders were in the saddle in the 2 Miles Handicap, namely : M. J. Whitty, R. W. Drake, and Dave Bell, all rode from 150 yds., together with' that famous Manchester pothunter, T. A. Edge. This was long before that worthy exchanged short triumphs for ‘prolonged agony', of which he became the chief exponent. (Acid tasting was a later sensation.) The virtual scratch men were H. B. Johnson of Liverpool, W. H. Smith of Prescot, and S. A. Sayce of Rock Ferry. (These were not Anfielder's but had other virtues)."

Easter, Whit and summer sports continued to be organised by the Athletic Club, with a mixture of running and bicycle races, with more running than cycling. The Anfield BC organised bicycle races there and occasionally other organisations such as the Park Lane Station Porters athletic club had meetings.

1885 was the last year that Kensington Fields was used for athletics and cycling and there at least seven meeting there. Probably the last bicycle racing at Kensington was the Anfield BC sports on June 26th 1885, the races were a 1 mile safety, a 1 mile professional race won by J West, ‘the one-legged champion', a 1 mile tricycle handicap and a 2 miles bicycle handicap. The attendance was reported as one thousand.

In September 1885, Liverpool Corporation advertised Kensington Fields for sale in 81 lots for house building, probably in the area that is now Battenburg Street.

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