Staveley Coal and Iron Company had a coal mine near Staveley from the 1860's. Housing for iron workers and miners was built at Barrow Hill. Staveley Iron Company built a six acre sports ground at Handley Wood with a running track and a 640 yards cinder cycle track. The ground was known as Staveley sports stadium or Handley Wood sports ground.
The opening of Handley Wood on May 16th 1953 was a very high profile event and was the subject of a film by Pathe called Chesterfield's big day! (cycle races are 1m 47s in). There was an international athletics and cycling meeting at the opening of the ground, with two bicycle events - men's and women's sprint races. Reg Harris and Beryl Burton were the guests of honour and there was a crowd of over 6,000 people.
The Staveley Iron and Chemical Company held their open athletic and cycling sports each year from 1953. The fifth annual sports and gala took place on July 6th 1957 and there were 50 entries for the two cycling events, including Empire Games rider Eric Thompson of East Midlands Clarion, who won the one lap scratch event, in front of a crowd of 3,000 spectators.
The company was taken over by Stewarts & Lloyds in 1960 and re-named Stanton and Staveley. It is likely that the sports ground was disused after this.
After 1980, the works site was run down, then closed completely, being demolished in 2012. Half of the sports ground site was used for housing and the other half was a golf driving range. The whole works site was designated for development as the northern HS2 rail depot, but it still remains derelict.
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