Bath - Recreation Ground

Pultney Street : BA2 4DS Bath - Recreation Ground : Map credit Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps Bath - Recreation Ground : Image credit Veteran Cycle Club Library
The Bath Chronicle of 1 August 1889 advertised a Grand Annual Festival organised by the Queen of the West Cycling Club to be held on the Bath College Track, which included ordinary and safety bicycle races. Bath College was a public school in Bath, it closed in 1909 and was then opened as the Bath Spa Hotel (BA2 6NS) which still exists. There does not seem to have been any subsequent bicycle racing on the College Track.

The main bicycle racing venue in Bath was the Bath Recreation Ground and on Whit Monday 1897, the Bath Cycling Club held a race meeting on the grass track there. The two principal events were a 5 miles race for the Bath City Challenge Vase and a 1 mile race for BCC members. The Bath CC held two meetings a year and these proved popular and the club ran events on the Recreation Ground for more than twenty years.

A crowd of 4,000 people attended the 1902 meeting, no doubt helped by the raffling of a bicycle, which helped ensure the financial security of the event. The ½ mile bicycle handicap race required 10 heats and the ½ mile scratch race for the Coronation Cup needed 7 heats. A new feature was tried at the meeting, a 5 miles motor cycle race. This was not a success, there was a ride-over in the final due to a machine failing to start.

The 1906 sports on the Recreation Ground were organised by Bath Wheelers and included the NCU (Bristol centre) ½ mile handicap Championship. The 1907 Bath CC meeting had a record entry of 500 competitors. There was a first class meeting in August 1913 which attracted top quality competition. Again a bicycle was raffled, a "Centaur" model.

The Bath Cycling Club revived their August meeting after the first World War on the Recreation Ground. The 1924 meeting was very successful and attracted 6,000 to 7,000 spectators. Jack Sibbett, the Manchester crack was riding and won the Diamond Jubilee Gold Plate sprint race. In 1929 Sibbett repeated his sprint win and lifted the Dunlop Challenge Cup for the 5 miles scratch race.

There does not appear to have been any significant bicycle racing at the Recreation Ground after 1930. The Recreation Ground still exists and has a sports complex and is the home of Bath Rugby Club.


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Photos : Veteran Cycle Club Library
Maps    : Old-Maps.co.uk historic maps