Northumberland - Seghill
Main Street South : NE23 7SD
Northumberland - Seghill : Map credit National Library of Scotland The first bicycle race at Seghill was on April 17th 1880, it was held in connection with the Election Festival.** A two hour bicycle handicap was held "on a track (ten laps to the mile) which had been laid out in one of the squares." The event was won by Ralph Younger of Seghill, aged 15 years, who managed 31 miles, including a 4 miles start.

There was a match race on April 30th 1880, between Jeremiah Cleminson of Cramlington and Edward Brown of Seghill, for a small stake. The Morpeth Herald of May 8th 1880 reported "such a deep hold has bicycling taken on all classes in the colliery districts that by the time for starting there would be the greater part of a thousand people at the ground." The challenge was to cover the most distance over two hours on a circular track, 11 laps to the mile. Cleminson ran out the winner with 30 miles and 4 laps, he rode a Northumberland no.1 model, made by Brothers Dury of Burradon,.

There was a bicycle contest on May 22nd 1880, organised by Mr T Younger of the Blake Arms, Seghill. A course of 12 laps to the mile had been staked off for a two hour handicap race with prizes totalling £3. There were twelve entries, divided into three heats, the event was concluded the following Saturday.

The Seghill gala and sports were held on July 24th 1880 in a field near Seghill railway station, which was lent by the colliery. The most popular event by far was a one hour bicycle contest on a track 10 laps to the mile for a prize of £5 10s, this event attracted seven riders. The Seghill Flower Show, held on August 21st 1880, featured bicycle racing, again with a one hour race on a 10 laps to the mile course. The event was won by H Symington, who was to become a long distance champion rider and was very active in promoting bicycle club sport in Seghill.

After the hectic first year of racing, things quietened down, perhaps because Seghill only had grass racing tracks and there were other cinder tracks in the area. In 1881, at the Oddfellows gala, there was a thirty minutes race. At the Working Men's Reading Room sports in 1882, there was a two miles bicycle handicap race with eight heats, won by W Parkes off scratch. At the 1882 Seghill Flower show there was another thirty minutes race won by J Parkes for £1.

At the Seghill Floral sports on September 28th 1884, there was a five miles professional handicap race for £5 was won by JW Lamb from Newcastle off scratch. In spite of the boisterous weather, there was a good attendance, but the organisers lost money because the wind ripped open the large marquee.

The 1887 Seghill Flower show included a one mile bicycle handicap race and this was probably the last bicycle race to be held in Seghill.

The location of the tracks used in Seghill is not known, but a field lent the colliery was often acknowledged. The grass tracks that racing took place on seem to have been very small, often ten laps to the mile. There is a reference to a bicycle club in the village from 1889, called Seghill Bicycle Club, or sometimes the Seghill Blake Bicycling Club, after the Blake Arms in the village. The last mention of the club in the press was when they held their annual supper on November 23rd 1889, at the Blake Arms, Seghill and 41 sat down to eat.

** There was a general election, held from 31 March to 27 April 1880 and the Liberals, led by Gladstone, secured one of their largest-ever majorities, leaving the Conservatives, led by Disraeli a distant second.

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