Edinburgh - 1890 Exhibition Ground

Palworth Terrace : EH14 1XN Edinburgh - 1890 Exhibition Ground : Image credit http://jdpecon.com/expo/ Edinburgh - 1890 Exhibition Ground : Image credit Meisterdrucke
The Edinburgh International Exhibition was held from May 1st to November 1st 1890 to commemorate the opening of the Forth Bridge in 1889 and to act as a showcase for electrical and other technology. One of the organisers was Thomas Edison and his latest phonograph recordings were played in the Lecture Hall. There were two main blocks, a General Exhibition Hall and the Machinery Hall measuring 700 x 150 feet on a site at Meggetland, some three miles from the centre of Edinburgh.

As well as the engineering exhibition halls, the site had a cinder track, three laps to the mile, with a 350ft grandstand, where bicycle racing took place all though the summer of 1890.

The biggest meeting at the Exhibition track was the Scottish Cycling Meet on June 14th 1890 at which there were over 500 cyclists and 10,000 spectators. The day started with a large assembly of riders at St Andrew's Square, who rode in procession to the Exhibition Ground and the entire route was lined with people. The first race was the five miles ordinary Championship of Scotland which was won by RA Vogt of Glasgow by half a yard. This was followed by the one mile safety Championship which resulted in a dead heat between Guy Liddell and JE Young, the event was re-run later in the evening with Young, on pneumatics, winning easily. The last race was a one mile ordinary handicap.

The Field of July 19th 1890 reported on the Edinburgh North CC meeting, commenting "Like the majority of Edinburgh fixtures this season, these sports were held within the Exhibition grounds" and continued "the three lap cinder track was in such splendid condition that good times were anticipated". The open bicycle events at the meeting were over 1 and 2 miles for safety machines and handicap races over ½ and 2 miles for ordinaries.

There were several other bicycle race meetings at the Exhibition Ground throughout the summer, including events organised by Edinburgh Thistle CC, Northern CC and Edinburgh University. The Scotsman advertised that the concluding fourth day of the "highly popular and successful Exhibition Attendants' Athletic Sports" would take place on September 5th 1890 and included a one mile bicycle race.

The exhibition attracted two million visitors but did not do well financially. After the exhibition, the site was used for housing and by Edinburgh University as an Athletic Ground. Part of the old Exhibition Ground is now Edinburgh Leisure's Meggetland Sports Complex.


Refs     : [545] [p]
Photos : http://jdpecon.com/expo/, Meisterdrucke