Perth - St Johnstone Recreation Ground

Edinburgh Road : PH2 8AR
The Perth Amateur Cycling Club moved from their previous track at St Catherine's Place to a new cinder track at St Johnstone Recreation Ground, which was the home of St Johnstone FC. The new track opened on June 30th 1888 with a bicycle race meeting. The track was 5 laps to the mile and banked at each end.

The opening meeting had 1 mile and 3 miles open handicap races for ordinaries, a 2 miles handicap for safeties and a 5 miles combination race for ordinaries and safeties. George Duncan of Montrose, on an ordinary, won two of the four races and dead-heated in the third. The program also included foot racing and a four a side football match.

In 1889 the Perth Amateur CC were trying to clear the remaining debt in connection with their new track and planned a Big Benefit Race meeting for May 11th.

Race meetings organised by the club continued through the 1890's and included SCU championship races and the Scottish Central Cyclists' Meet, but finance always seems to have been a problem and in 1892 the club held a bazaar to raise money for the track.

The club held race meetings and evening events in the mid-1890's but attendance was not particularly good and the local Evening Telegraph of November 13th 1896 reported "The Perth Amateur Cycling Club Committee have resolved to abandon their track owing to the want of support."

The last bicycle race at Perth was probably on June 1899 when Perth Amateur Cycling Club took on Carnoustie in a Challenge Trophy competition.

The Scottish Referee of April 27th 1900 summarised the position of the track. "That the track presently exists is largely due to the St Johnstone Football Club, who have allowed it to remain, despite rumours that it was to be turfed over to form part of the football pitch. After the Perth cyclists gave the track, the St Johnstone Club put it in order for one season, but not finding the affair a paying concern, dropped it. The track lay a year untouched, and the adjoining ground was let out for grazing purposes. Last year the Perth cyclists got the use of the track for the cost of putting it in order and the water used."

The track was not used for bicycle races after 1899. St Johnstone FC moved to a new ground in 1920. The ground was cleared and eventually used for light industrial buildings. The site of the old Recreation Ground now houses car dealer showrooms and industrial units.


Refs     : [p]