Scarborough - Recreation Ground
Victoria Park Avenue : YO12 7TR
Scarborough - Recreation Ground : Map credit National Library of Scotland A new three acre football ground and cycle track was constructed on land owned by Mr JW Woodall, on a site next door to the Scarborough Cricket Club. The cinder cycle track was four laps to the mile, 20 feet wide and banked to 3 feet. Scarborough Cricket Club took out a five year lease on the ground.

The first meeting at the Scarborough Recreation Ground was on 7th July 1888, when Scarborough Cycling Club ran their club championship races over one, five, ten and fifteen miles, with gold medals for each winner. There was a further Scarborough CC club race meeting on August 7th 1888 with handicap races over half, one, three and five miles, there was a trick riding competition and a cup for the "best and neatest turn-out of rider and machine."

Scarborough CC held a 2 day athletic sports meeting at the Recreation Ground on 21st and 24th September 1888, with the intention of it becoming an annual event. On the first day, the main event was the five miles scratch race for the Smirthwaite Cup, which was won by H Mason in 17m 30s. The one mile roadster open handicap race was limited to machines over 35lbs (16kg) in weight! The meeting was very well supported on the second day and attracted 200 competitors for the one, two and three miles bicycle handicap races and the foot races. HH Sansom of Nottingham competed at the meeting, Sansom was third in 1894 Bordeaux-Paris race.

The Scarborough CC annual sports continued into the 1890s and a Whit Monday meeting was promoted with four bicycle racing including the Licenced Victuallers' Plate. At the 1893 Whit Monday Scarborough CC meeting, the attendance was 5,000.

A new concrete track was built at the ground in 1894, the track was banked to six and a half feet and covered with McQuones** patent surface and measured four laps to the mile, with a width of 21 to 24 feet. The first meeting on the new track was the Scarborough CC sports on Whit Monday 1894 and consisted of two running events and four bicycle races. The attendance at the event was the biggest on record and was estimated at 6,000.

The North of England Cyclists' Meet was held for the first time at Scarborough in 1895 at North Bay with 52 bell tents for campers and a large mess marquee, a machine tent, refreshment tent and a barbers tent. Staying at the camp cost 10s 6d per day, including three meals. There was a two day race meeting associated with the Meet, which was held at the Recreation Ground on August 5th 1895.

The North of England Cyclists' Meet was held at Scarborough again in July 1896 with racing at the Recreation Ground. Attendance at the ground was disappointing, probably because the organisers doubled the admission fee to one shilling. The meeting included a one mile bicycle handicap race "open to fishermen fishing out of the port of Scarborough ".

In May 1897 the Recreation Ground was sold to a building company, but football and sports continued at the ground for another year with a rental agreement. The Whit Monday sports were not organised by Scarborough CC owing to their "depressed financial position", but an athletics meeting was held and included two local bicycle handicap races, a one mile solo race and a one mile team race.

The Cycling Carnival and August Bank Holiday sports meetings that were held in 1897 attracted large crowds, up to 5,000 people. Eventually, the football club moved to a new home at Seamer Road in 1898 and the Recreation Ground was developed for housing in the area around the present Victoria Park Avenue.

** Mr JO McQuone invented and patented a non-slip brown concrete surface, which was used for bicycle tracks. The new track surface was demonstrated at the Stanley Show in 1894. In addition to the track at Scarborough, the Wood Green track was built in 1895 with eight inches of hardcore and three inches of McQuones surface. The Bolton Wanderer's track was also finished with McQuones surface.

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