Ilford - Ilford Sports Ground
Wellesley Road : IG1 4LQ
Ilford - Ilford Sports Ground : Image credit Ilford in Pictures The Ilford Sports Ground was in use from around 1894 when Ilford Football Club played there. When the ground opened, it attracted athletics meetings away from the Recreation Grounds at Romford and the Essex Beagles, a running club, held meetings at the ground from 1897 and often included bicycle races. Their Autumn Meeting on September 11th 1897 included bicycle races and attracted 1,500 spectators in spite of the rain. The one and two miles open handicap bicycle races both attracted over 60 entries.

The Essex Cycling Club* organised many races at Ilford Sports Ground, their first was an evening meeting on August 11th 1898, which included both club and open races. At this meeting, AE Walters gave an exhibition ‘flying mile' paced by a quadruplet and recorded 1 min 55.6 sec. In the half mile novice's race, the club secretary ‘received a bad cut over the eye, whilst the chairman had his collar bone broken.'

Essex CC held an annual carnival meeting on the Ilford Sports Ground on July 30th 1900 and attracted a crowd of 2,000. The events included half and one mile open handicap races, club races over one and two miles and the Shaftesbury one and ten miles club championships. AA Chase rode a demonstration 10 miles event paced by his brother, clocking 18 min 55.6 sec. Essex CC also held evening meeting with club races.

The Essex Beagles held a race meeting in September 1903 and the events included the 5 miles Golding Cup race. Essex CC also held a meeting in September in which Leon Meredith competed.

In 1904, sporting activity ceased at Ilford Sports Ground and the area was developed for housing. All of the area between Wellesley Road and Balfour Road was built on and Christchurch School is now at on the site of the old sports ground.

* The Essex CC club president was Monty Holbein who was a champion cyclist and swimmer. He established 32 British cycling records and specialised in long distance 24 hour events. He was second in the inaugural 1891 Bordeaux-Paris

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Photos : Ilford in Pictures