Manchester - Bradford & Clayton Athletic Grounds

Bank Lane : M11 4SG Manchester - Bradford & Clayton Athletic Grounds : Image credit Wiki Commons
The Bradford and Clayton Athletic Grounds Company opened a sports ground at Bank Lane, Clayton in 1890. (Bradford was a suburb of Manchester). The Manchester Courier of May 10th 1890 reported that the Bradford and Clayton Athletic Grounds had opened on May 3rd "certainly not one of the most salubrious districts around Cottonopolis." * Only half the ground could be used by spectators as a brick wall formed the boundary on one side of the track. At the May 3rd 1890 opening meeting, two bicycle handicap races were included in the program, over one and three miles.

The Bradford and Beswick Liberals held their sports at Bank Lane on August 16th and 19th 1890 and included four bicycle races. The Bradford Brass Bands held their sports at the grounds on 20th Sep 1890 and included one and two miles bicycle handicap races. There were disturbing reports of riders impersonating other (longer handicap) riders, people starting on any mark that they liked, and other riders who had no right to be in particular races.

The Manchester Courier of March 20th 1891 reported a meeting of the Northern Counties Athletic Association, at which "A permit to hold sports by the Bradford and Clayton Athletic Grounds Company early in May was refused." No reason was reported.

The Manchester Courier on September 7th 1891 reported that the first annual sports of the Bradford and Clayton RFC were held at the grounds. The sports included a one mile Novice Safety bicycle handicap race and a one mile handicap race open to any class of machine.

Other organisations held their various sports meetings at the grounds in the early 1890's, including the Manchester Pedestrian Company, but no bicycle racing appears to have taken place after 1891.

The London Gazette of May 3rd 1892 announced that the Bradford and Clayton Athletic Ground Company could not meet its financial liabilities and was being wound up.

Newton Heath FC (later to become Manchester United) moved to the grounds in 1893, the ground was then referred to as Bank Street. Manchester United moved again to Old Trafford in 1910. After this, Bank Street became derelict and industrial buildings occupied the site for 80 years. In 1994, The National Cycling Centre and Manchester velodrome opened on the site of the old ground.

* Cottonopolis was a common name for the Manchester area, particularly North Manchester, as cotton spinning was the major industry at that time.


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Photos : Wiki Commons