Aberdeen - Recreation Grounds

Inches : AB10 1WE
The Recreation Grounds were built on reclaimed land at the Inches, when the River Dee was diverted to enable Aberdeen harbour to be expanded. The Recreation Grounds included a cycle racing track which was built around a football pitch on which Aberdeen FC played from 1885-6. The Grounds were centrally located and encouraged large crowds.

Six day bicycle races were very popular in the 1880's and the Recreation Grounds hosted no less than 16 six day races between 1880 and 1886. George Waller, the famous 6 day rider and record breaker, was a prolific winner at Aberdeen. For the six day races, a portable wooden track was used. There were no six day races at the Recreation grounds after 1886, so it is likely that the grounds were redeveloped after this date.

In June 1882, a 26 hour track race was held at the Recreation Grounds, the event is well described by the web site sixday.org.uk. The track was "very heavy on Saturday, and would be the better of a few hours rolling down to make it hard and level." The Aberdeen Journal notes that the track still has one or two nasty holes in it, which are somewhat dangerous to the riders unless they are very careful. The track was probably earth and measured 330 yards around. The 26 hour race was spread over 6 days and attracted 1,000 spectators, it was won by J Cleminson who rode 333 miles and 3 laps, the prize money was £40. As well as the 6 day race there were amateur races which included a 3 hour race won by A Dingwall who managed 36 miles and 11 laps. Twelve miles per hour for three hours was quite a feat as the bicycles that everybody used at that time were Penny farthing machines, or ordinaries.

The Recreation Grounds were only in use for a few years, the 1901 map shows that the site was completely redeveloped with industrial buildings. The site around Palmerston Road is now modern offices and commercial buildings.


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