Wigan - Springfield Park

Barnsley Street : WN6 7EX Wigan - Springfield Park : Map credit National Library of Scotland Wigan - Springfield Park : Image credit Wigan Local History Society
Springfield Park was built in 1897 for £16,000 and was owned by The Wigan Trotting and Athletic Grounds Company. One of its directors of the company was a local cycle dealer William Timberlake. The park had a 3½ laps to the mile running track, a 4 laps to the mile cycle track and a ½ mile trotting track. The concrete cycle track was 29 feet wide, with 7½ feet banking. The track was built on rock, and the construction was described as having "a base of broken rubble, a course of rough concrete, finally finished with a granolithic surface." As well as the cycle track, Springfield Park was the home of Wigan Athletic until 1999 and was used for rugby, running, trotting, wrestling and athletics.

The opening meeting of the track was held on August 18th 1897 and was organised by the newly formed Wigan Athletic and Cycling Club with 6,000 spectators attending. At the meeting, the half mile Northern Amateur track record was broken four times, the NCU (Liverpool District) 5 miles championship was decided and there was a full program of cycling events including tandem pursuit and scratch races.

The Springfield Park track seemed to have hosted many popular meetings in the 1890's, with Easter, summer and August Bank Holiday meets and Wigan County Police annual sports. These meetings attracted large crowds.

The owners of Springfield Park were in dispute with the company that constructed the track over payment and eventually the track was put up for auction in 1899 and sold for £6,000. The Wigan Trotting and Athletic Grounds Company suffered a loss of £12,000 and went bankrupt shortly after.

One of the regulars at Springfield Park was the home rider Ben Jones, who competed in 1908 Olympic Games. Jones won a gold medal in the 5000m sprint, gold in the team pursuit and silver in the 20 km event.

Through the 1900's Springfield Park was becoming less popular and the 1910 July sports meeting attracted "a fair attendance only". The Police Sports continued to be held until 1914.

There seems to have been no track racing at Springfield Park after WWI and the stadium was used for football. Springfield Park was demolished in 1999 and a housing estate was built on the site, just off Springfield Road.


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Photos : Wigan Local History Society
Maps    : National Library of Scotland