London - Fulham Star Grounds

Star Road : W14 9QA London - Fulham Star Grounds : Image credit Wiki Commons
The Star Running Grounds at North End, Fulham were set up by Mr Fox for running and pedestrian races in 1869. The Grounds were probably on Star Road near the junction with North End Road*.

Bell's Life of March 30th 1870 advertised the Good Friday and Easter Monday sports at the Star Running Grounds to include "a bicycle race of one mile (all to go from scratch)." There seemed to have been several match races at the Star Grounds, for example on July 16th Walter Linley and John Johnson had a two miles match race for £10 a side. "Both rode first rate machines, with India rubber tires, and the diameter of the wheels were exactly the same (40 in)." Lilley won in 8 min 38 sec. In November there was an odd match in which Jackson rode a tricycle 50 miles against John Keen on a bicycle riding 52 ½ miles with extra weight added to his machine. Not unexpectedly, Keen won the race. A busy 1870 was brought to a close with a Boxing Day meet.

After such a stellar opening year, 1871 saw a dramatic drop in the number of bicycle race meets at the Star Grounds, possibly because of the rising popularity of Lille Bridge. In 1872 and 1873 there were bicycle v runner matches and in June 1875 there was a match race over 5 miles for £10. In 1876 the width of the track was increased and the corners rounded, making a lap 364 yards. There was little bicycle racing activity in 1876. On January 2nd 1877, a 25 miles match race between David Stanton and Thuillett was held.

All bicycle racing at the Star Grounds seems to have stopped after 1877. The area around Star Road was developed for housing from the late 1870's which may have marked the end of Star Grounds.

* The publication Fulham Old and New (extract follows) is a little ambiguous on the location of the Star Ground, which could be the old Brick Field on Star Road or just across North End Road. Star Road was previously known as Old Greyhound Road.

Just beyond the Hermitage on a site now occupied by coal wharfs was a house called Walnut Tree cottage. The site of the Walnut Tree cottage became a brick field. Afterwards it was used as a paddock in connection with Cambridge Lodge opposite. About 1870 the land was taken by a person named Fox, who established here the Star Running Grounds. On Mr Fox's death, his nephew, Mr Daniel Edwards, conducted the Grounds in partnership with Mr David Broad. About 1879 the land was acquired by the Midland Railway Company as coal wharves.


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Photos : Wiki Commons