Wisbech - Colville House Grounds

Old Market : PE13 1HT
The first bicycle racing in Wisbech was held on the 6th July 1881. The sports event was normally held in the grounds of Colville House and the results often reported in Wheel World. The main sports meeting at Wisbech was held annually. The event in 1883 attracted top riders such as Dan Albone, HH Griffin and Henry Sturmey. In 1884, the Wisbech District Bicycle Club organised the meeting, there were 32 events and the gathering was described as "the event of the year". A grandstand was constructed together with tents for competitors to change in.

The success of the event was repeated the following year and the town had a day's holiday resulting in half the town watching the sports. The Field of July 4th 1885 carried a report of the meeting "The track was a good grass one of five laps to the mile, level, well-planned, and rolled, though somewhat rough in parts, which, unfortunately, had the effect of throwing several men during the day". The weather was hot and sunny and the attendance was around 6,000. Once again there were lots of bicycle races with the 5 miles open race taking pride of place. After the prize giving there was a firework display.

The 1889 event was held indoors at the Corn Exchange on a track marked out as 19 laps to the mile. One of the races was a 20 minutes cyclist vs runners race, the cyclist was on a geared Facile and the runners changed every 3 laps. The cyclist was beaten by 2¾ laps, although he did have a nasty fall.

In 1895 and 1896, the Wisbech annual races were held "in the usual field near the G.E.R. station." There was a good card of bicycle races which ran through to the evening "At this juncture Professor Baldwin ascended about 1500 feet in his balloon, and made a very successful descent with a parachute." Other events continued with a fireworks display as the finale.

The sports were held in 1908 and organised by Wisbech Cycling and Athletic Sports Club and a "fair" track of 4 laps to the mile was prepared. There were a large number of entries including Leon Meredith, who would later go on to win National and World track Championships, an Olympic gold medal in 1908 and Meredith was the first man to beat 5 hours for a 100 mile time trial on the Bath Road. Also riding at the meeting was Albert Denny, another Olympic rider.

There are intermittent reports of bicycle racing at Wisbech up to 1908, at various locations. Colville House became St Audrey's Convent School, the school closed in 1997 and the building is now divided into flats.


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