Banbury - Brittania Recreation Field

Tramway Road : OX16 5TU
Most bicycle racing in Banbury took place on a grass track at the Brittania Works Recreation Ground between 1894 and 1921. Some bicycle racing however did take place before this in different locations. There was a 2 miles race on Banbury Cricket Club pitch at their sports in 1875 with a crowd of 3,000. There was also a Temperance Fete held in 1886 at Kirtlinton Park with 2 and 3 miles bicycle races.

The Brittania Works was an agricultural works established in Banbury in 1861 and in 1869 the Brittania Works Recreation Society acquired a large field next to the works depot. The recreation ground was used for nearly 30 years for sports meetings organised by Banbury Harriers Athletic Club and Banbury Star Cycling Club (which was formed in 1891).

The 1900 meet included half mile and three miles bicycle races and a cyclist's obstacle race with "the riders having to dismount, creep under a tarpaulin sheet and net and finish with a tennis racquet on which was balanced a tennis ball."

The 1910 meet suffered from the power struggle to control cycle racing, the Banbury Advertiser of 28th July 1910 reports "all cycle events, consequent upon the differences existing between the AAA and NCU being omitted with the exception of a mile race for members of the Banbury Star Club".

Bicycle race meeting continued into the early 1920's. The Brittania Works closed in 1933 and the old recreation ground area is now the home of Banbury United FC.


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