Brighton - Hove Cricket Ground

Eaton Road : BN3 3AN Brighton - Hove Cricket Ground : Map credit National Library of Scotland Brighton - Hove Cricket Ground : Image credit drouot.com
Sussex County Cricket Club played at the Royal Brunswick Ground until 1872. The club bought a barley field in Eaton Road and moved the turf from the Royal Brunswick Ground to make a new county ground, which opened in 1872. A grass cycle track around the cricket pitch was used from 1874.

James H Harrison introduced the velocipede to the Brighton in 1869 and opened a bicycle shop and riding school. He was instrumental in starting the Brighton Bicycle Club in 1873

The first bicycle race at the cricket ground was at an athletics meeting on October 15th 1874, there was a two miles bicycle handicap race, which was won by Mackinnon of Brighton Bicycle Club.

There was a 20 miles match race at the ground on September 5th 1875 between David Stanton and Hampshire champion RW Thomas. At stake was £50 and the Championship of Hampshire. Unfortunately, Stanton was troubled by sciatica and gave up, with Thomas completing the distance in 1 hr 20 min 25 sec.

The Hastings and St Leonards Observer of January 1st 1876 report that "a series of bicycle races were given by the Brighton Athletic Club at the Sussex County Cricket Ground on Monday."

At the Brighton BC 1877 summer meeting, the bicycle races were one and two miles club handicap and a five miles open race, the course was marked out at 12 laps for the 5 miles (733 yards around). The major event was the five miles open race, which was won by Osborne of Surrey riding a 56 inch machine. The twenty three competitors used wheel sizes from 50 to 60 inches. There were 1,000 spectators. The Brighton BC meetings were held each year until 1884.

A five miles amateur race was held on Boxing Day 1876 with the winner receiving a Keen's Eclipse bicycle, valued at fifteen guineas. John Keen was involved in the organisation of the meeting acting as handicapper. There were thirteen riders in three heats and W Wyndham of London Bicycle Club won off scratch in 19m 34s.

HL Cortis, of the Wanderers' Club, the British champion, rodeat the 1880 Brighton BC meeting and won the one mile open handicap race off scratch in 3m 2s. Cortis also won the three miles open handicap off scratch in 9m 25s.

Brighton BC held their 6th annual meeting at the ground on 1st October 1881 and the Field reported "The programme was made up of three mile races, one open, one confined to Brighton, one for juniors, and a slow race." The local Brighton clubs competing at the meeting were; Brighton Excelsior, Brighton Wanderers, Brighton Rovers, Brighton Star and Brighton BC.

Racing at the cricket ground continued through the 1880's with Brighton BC and Brighton Wanderers' BC bebrought the end of bicycle racing on the grass track at the cricket ground.

The ground remains in use and is the home of Sussex County Cricket.


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Photos : drouot.com
Maps    : National Library of Scotland