Lowestoft - Henham Park

Beccles : NR34 8AQ Lowestoft - Henham Park : Map credit National Library of Scotland Lowestoft - Henham Park : Image credit Wiki Commons
Henham Hall was the seat of the Earl of Stradbroke and sports meetings were organised on 4,200 acre Henham Park.

The first bicycle races at Henham were the Henham Park Athletic Sports on June 12th 1890, which were organised by the Primrose League* and attended by 2,500 spectators. At this time, pneumatic tyres were starting to become dominant on the track, and the Ipswich Journal reported at the meeting "the presence of four pneumatic tyred machines" which made "many a heart sank at the distant prospect of winning a prize." Pneumatic tyred machines duly dominated the events. In the one mile handicap, Shorland (owe 35yds) rode a pneumatic tyred geared Facile and was second, but won the two miles handicap race. There was also a one mile handicap race closed to members of the "Rous" Habitation, which was won by a rider on Shorland's Facile.

The sports were held the following year and Shorland won all the open races, the half mile scratch and one and two miles handicap races. Bungay Athletic Club also held their sports at Henham in 1891.

The Henham Park Athletic Sports were held throughout the 1890's and after lapsing a year, the sports returned in 1899, with the usual bicycle races. This was however the last year in which the sports were to be held and there was no further bicycle racing at Henham.

Henham Park is still owned by the Rous family and events such as a Steam Engine Rally and the Latitude Festival are hosted there.

* The Primrose League was set up in 1883 by Randolph Churchill as a Conservative political pressure group. It's membership grew quickly and by 1910 there were 2 million members organised into branches, or ‘habitations'. The Rous Habitation was called after Lord Rous, Earl of Stradbroke.


Refs     : [p]
Photos : Wiki Commons
Maps    : National Library of Scotland