Macclesfield - Victoria Grounds

Victoria Road : SK10 3JE
The Victoria Athletic Grounds were about three quarters of a mile from the centre of Macclesfield. The exact location is not clear, although it was reported to be in the Hurdsfield area to the East of the town. It is possible that it was located where Victoria Park now is, but the park did not open until 1894.

The first bicycle race on the Victoria Athletic Grounds was at the Macclesfield Liberal Clubs' sports meeting on October 2nd 1883. The event included a 1 mile bicycle handicap race which was won by local rider T Swanwick in 3 min 59.5 sec. The grounds had a cinder track reported variously as 4⅓ or 4½ laps to the mile.

The Athletic Grounds hosted several sports meetings on the cinder track over the next five years. The quality of the cinder track was described as loose and poor. The Macclesfield Wakes (works holidays) were held quite late in September/October and this often saw a sports meeting with bicycle races.

Macclesfield Liberal Clubs held a grand athletic festival at the Victoria Athletic Grounds on July 19th 1884, which included a 1 mile bicycle handicap race. This was won by A Kenyan of Broughton in 3 min 49.4 sec.

The Macclesfield Infirmary Sports on July 25th 1885 attracted 3,000 spectators and there were 1 and 2 mile bicycle handicap races. The Athletic News, reporting on the event commented "We cannot say much in praise of the circular track, which, covered with large loose cinders, is at present a long way removed from being a model path."

The Macclesfield Friendly Societies held a sports meeting on August 1st 1885 with 1 and 2 miles bicycle handicap races. On June 12th 1886, Macclesfield Volunteer Fire Brigade athletics meeting had a crowd of 1200 to watch the 1 and 3 miles bicycle handicap races. The track was described as "Much improved from last year, although loose in places."

For the Macclesfield Athletics Festival on October 5th 1886, "The bicycle races will be run on the new cinder track" and 2,000 spectators attended. Macclesfield Athletic Club held a meeting September 3rd 1887 with 1 and 2 miles bicycle handicap races, but it was poorly supported by cyclists. Macclesfield Cycling Club held its first monthly club race meeting on June 2nd 1888, there were three events; 2 and 5 miles bicycle races and a 100 yards running race.

The Athletic News in April 1891 reported that the Macclesfield Cycling Club was trying to reverse the declining popularity of sports in Macclesfield by holding a summer meeting. There is no record of any track racing in Macclesfield after 1888.


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