Manchester - Moston Park Grounds Chadderton

Mough Lane : OL9 9PT
The recreation grounds at Moston Park were developed by publican James Taylor in 1875 and marketed as a professional running enclosure*. The cinder track was 732 yards and railed, it was opened on September 4th 1875. There was a covered grandstand, capable of holding five or six hundred people, together with changing rooms for competitors under the grandstand and adjoining the bar.

The Athletic News of March 25th 1876 carried a report of the first annual field day of the recently formed Zephyr Bicycle Club. "The weather, though fine, was extremely cold, and no doubt had a great effect upon the attendance of spectators, who mustered between six and seven hundred. Owing to the recent wet weather the course, a broad cinder track some ten yards wide and 732 yards in circumference, was rather heavy going, particularly so along the far side of the course, where the ground rises considerably near the pond, but the straight run home, about 230 yards from the bend to the finish, was in capital condition for bicycling." The bicycle races were a Club one mile race, a novices one mile race which attracted twenty starters, a three miles open race and a 10 miles scratch race "for the captaincy of the club". As all bicycles were penny farthings at this time, the report mentions the wheel sizes of the winners; the novice winner rode a 54 inch and the second placed man a 50 inch, whilst the three miles winner rode "a new 48-inch machine by Keen."

In the same newspaper it was reported that the Manchester Athletic Club were to run a sports event at Moston Park on April 22nd 1876 which would include a two mile bicycle race. There seemed to be several events from 1876 onwards that attracted healthy fields and good crowds.

On the 30th June 1880 Athletic News reported on a One Mile Handicap race confined to members of the Manchester Southern Club and commented that "The track was somewhat loose in places."

On 9th October 1880, Athletic News reported on a "One Mile Handicap at Moston Park, Manchester... The local ‘crack' F Clarke...won easily from scratch in 3min 14½sec.". The following year Clarke was still winning and at the October 3rd meet, the "Northern Champion" again won the one mile handicap, this time in 2min 58.6sec. The report comments when considering Clarke's time that "the Moston Park track...is a lot slower than such paths as Lower Aston grounds, Birmingham, Molineaux grounds, Wolverhampton, or Surbiton grounds, London". In July 1881 there was an inter-club race with the Southern and North Manchester clubs.

Bicycle racing at Moston Park seems to have been short lived and although walking and running races were held in the early 1880's, bicycle racing stopped after 1881. Moston Park went into liquidation in 1880, it was taken over by Tommy Hayes, a local enterprising proprietor and celebrity, but in 1883 the venue was advertised for sale and demolished in 1885.

* WikiVisually describes Moston Park:

Moston Park was a late 19th-century sports and recreation ground situated off Mough Lane and Owler Lane. St Georges's Square now stands in this area. It was owned by a James Taylor and was used for horse racing, dog racing, wrestling, rabbit coursing and other events and was popular with Manchester residents due to its close proximity to Moston railway station.

A hotel and occasional public house, The Railway Hotel, served the park. The hotel was located on the corner of Owler Lane and what is now Hollinwood Avenue. The park and hotel were not universally popular in the district. In 1878, when opposing the application for a beer licence for The Railway Hotel, the rector of Moston, the Rev Thomas Wostencroft, stated that 'Frequenters of Moston Park were a rough lot and it was not fit for any female or even for respectable men to travel in third class carriages on the railway from Moston when there was anything special going on at the grounds kept by Mr Taylor. It was feared that, if he got his way, Moston Park would become like Belle Vue'.


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