Southport - Southport Athletic Ground

Blowick : PR8 6JS Southport - Southport Athletic Ground : Map credit National Library of Scotland Southport - Southport Athletic Ground : Image credit Wiki Commons
The new enclosure of the Southport Athletic Society was at Ash Lane (now Haig Avenue) in Blowick and the cinder track was 3 laps to the mile and banked on the bends. The opening meeting, organised by the club, was on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st September 1895. Cycling events were ⅓, 1 and 2 miles handicap races, the NCU (Liverpool) 5 miles bicycle championship and a tandem handicap race with a first prize of £10. The track was home ground to Southport cracks JW (Wally) Schofield and the tandem pair W Birtwistle and George Masters who were among the fastest pairings in the country.

The Sporting Life of June 8th 1896 reported an attendance of ‘some six or seven thousand people'. There were four cycle races including the 1 mile NCU (Liverpool) championship and a tandem handicap race over 2 miles. The NCU (Liverpool) 5 miles championship race was held on 20th Aug 1898. From a field of twenty, AW Guy won in 12 min 57.4 sec.

The Southport Athletic Society dwindled in the early 1900's and the annual sports stopped. In 1907, the Southport Harriers stepped up to the mark and organised sports meetings at Blowick in aid of the Southport Infirmary. The events were successful, supported by around 4,000 spectators and raised sums of around £100 each year for the Infirmary. The program included five bicycle races, all of them short distance, which was a reaction to the ‘crawling' that commonly took place in longer races and antagonised the crowd. The most notable rider present was Ben Jones, who won two British Empire gold medals in 1907 and also won two golds and a silver medal in the 1908 Olympic Games. The Southport Harriers Infirmary Sports continued until 1913 and included bicycle races.

By the 1920's the stadium was not shown on maps and the area now houses Melos Cop High School and Southport Football Club.


Refs     : 95] [p]
Photos : Wiki Commons
Maps    : National Library of Scotland