Sunderland - Hendon

Blue House Field : SR2 8QR
Blue House Field, in the Hendon area of Sunderland, was a sports ground with a running track which was established around 1845. It was the home of Sunderland AFC and Sunderland Albion in the 1880's. The Sunderland Albion Football & Athletic Company was formed in March 1890 with a capital of £3,000 with the intention of expanding Blue House Field and including a cycle track.

The Kensington (Sunderland) BC held their third annual sports race on the Blue House track on July 4th 1891. There were two big events; a 1 mile scratch race for the Newton Challenge Cup (value 75 guineas) and a five miles scratch race for the NCU (Durham and Northumberland) championship. In the 5 miles championship race there was a serious crash on the last lap which brought down the leaders and some of the crowd. The championship event was re-run on July 29th 1891, there were 19 entries but only seven faced the starter and J Green of FRCC was the winner.

The Kensington meeting of 2nd and 4th July 1892 was again a very successful and popular event. JW Schofield of the Speedwell BC won the one mile race for the Newton Cup. The 5 miles invitation scratch race was won by McLaren of Glasgow with Schofield second. At the 1st July 1893 meeting, the English champion AJ Watson won the prestige 5 miles race by sixteen lengths.

The Kensington were very successful in promoting track racing and the August 1894 meeting included the 5 miles NCU North of England inter-centre championship. From 1894, the Sunderland Charities Sports were held at Blue House with ½, 1 and 3 miles handicap races. The Sunderland Harriers meeting in 1894 also included two bicycle races.

At the Kensington sports on July 8th 1896, six thousand spectators saw AJ Watson win the 2 miles professional handicap event and home club rider G Swinhoe win the Thornton cup in the 5 miles scratch race. The 1 mile professional scratch event attracted an international entry with F Pope of London winning by two lengths from the German champion Carl Smith.

Other bicycle race meetings at Blue House in the 1890's were the Sunderland Nomads Athletic Club, Sunderland Cyclists Amateur RC and the Sunderland Dispensary sports.

The Sunderland Nomads promoted their annual fixture on Good Friday and Easter Monday 1900. Also in 1900 a Sunderland Cyclist Racing League was formed at Blue House which met on Thursday evenings. After 1900, events at Blue House seemed to be much less frequent.

The Kensington held a popular running and bicycle race meeting on June 2nd 1904, but this seems to have been the last bicycle race meeting at Blue House.


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