Liverpool - Edge Hill
Woodcroft Park : L15 0EE
Liverpool - Edge Hill : Image credit Bygone Liverpool website Bicycle racing first took place at Woodcroft Park on August 1st 1891 at a meeting organised by the Wavertree Oddfellows, using a grass track. The bicycle events were one and two miles bicycle races and a one mile roadster race. The August Bank Holiday Oddfellows sports became a popular local attraction at Woodcroft for the next few years.

Liverpool Caledonian Football Club took out a five year lease, costing £25 per annum, on 6½ acre ground at Woodcroft Park. The Caledonians were an ambitious football club and they created a large, bowl-shaped stadium that was one of the best in Liverpool, the stadium had a capacity of 30,000 spectators and included a cinder bicycle track and two stands, one of which was covered. The Athletic News of April 18th 1892 announced "The Liverpool Caledonian FC, whose grounds are situated close to Wavertree Station, have laid down a capital cinder track in their enclosure." The track was a quarter mile around.

The exact location of the ground was not known until recently, as it does not appear on maps because the ground only existed for a few years. The Bygone Liverpool history group have identified the ground location as Lawrence Road and Bagot Street.

Caledonian FC organised the opening meeting of the new cinder track which was held on May 21st 1892 and 4,000 spectators attended. The bicycle events at the opening meeting were half and three miles handicap races and a one mile scratch race

In June 1892, a limited company, called Liverpool Caledonians, was set up to take over the stadium. The company attempted to raise £5,000 capital, but attendance at the Caledonians matches was poor and the financial backers quickly withdrew their support and the company was wound up in 1892 with debts of £540. The Liverpool Mercury of December 22nd 1892 carried a front page notice announcing "CALEDONIAN FOOTBALL CLUB LIMITED - in liquidation. The Liquidator is prepared to receive Offers for his INTEREST in the LAND and ERECTIONS at Woodcroft Park, Wavertree. Offers to be sent in not later than the 28th instant."

The ground continued in use as the home of the Liverpool Old Boys rugby team and hosted occasional cricket matches and athletics events. The Everton BC held an evening ten miles sealed handicap club race on September 2nd 1893 at the ground, the fastest rider was EH Ainsworth timed at 29 min 30 sec.

The 14th annual Wavertree Oddfellows sports were held at August Bank Holiday 1897 at "the Old Boy's Football Ground, Woodcroft Park." As well as athletics events there were three bicycle handicap races, the half mile was won by J Lawrence of Manchester Wheelers, the one mile by F Molineux of Cheadle and the three miles race by JH Carruthers of Liverpool. These were probably the last bicycle races to be held at Woodcroft.

The Liverpool Daily Post of March 21st 1898 carried an advertisement for an auction of all the timber at the football ground in "Woodcroft Park, Bagot Street". Soon after this the Park was developed for terraced housing, which is still there.

Purity Brand Confectionery Works was built on land which was the entrance area of the stadium site around 1900 by Jonathan Edmondson & Co, Colville Street, Wavertree. Edmonton's seemed to have been in business from 1905 and were bought in 1927 by Clarnico.

Refs     : [149] [551] [575] [576] [p]
Photos : Bygone Liverpool website