Blackburn - Cob Wall
Daisyfield : BB1 5LB
Blackburn - Cob Wall : Map credit National Library of Scotland Blackburn - Cob Wall : Image credit Wiki Commons Cob Wall was a cricket field adjoining Daisyfield station and Cob wall cricket club was formed in 1874. The Cob Wall cricket club Athletic Festival was held annually from 1872 and bicycle racing was included from 1876. The July 15th 1876 sports included a two miles amateur handicap race in which A Baldwin of Blackburn, riding a 50 inch wheel, won the race from four other competitors, time 8m 10s. The other events were amateur and professional running, high jump, hurdles and wrestling, there were 5,000 spectators. The bicycle races took place on grass, with a marked out lap of just under a quarter of a mile.

Bicycle racing was included in the sports spasmodically over the next few years. A three miles bicycle race was included in the 1879 sports, which attracted only five competitors. The famous runner and infamous cycling coach Choppy Warburton** ran off scratch in the three miles flat race. On June 28th 1880, Choppy Warburton ran to a world record, covering twenty miles in two hours.

The annual athletics meetings and bicycle races at Cob Hall stopped after 1879. By 1890, the ground had been sold for development. The site of the Cob Wall ground was near the present day Daisyfield Primary School and Moss Street.

** Choppy Warburton was a successful runner in his youth, but his athletic career was blighted by race fixing. After running, Choppy turned to coaching cyclists and signed up Arthur Linton and Jimmy Michael, who were two of the most famous track riders of the time. Jimmy Michael rode in the famous ‘Chain Wars' meeting at Catford in June 1896 where Warburton was suspected of doping Michael for race fixing purposes. Warburton and Michael were duly suspended by the NCU. Shortly after this, Arthur Linton, Warburton's other star rider, died and by the end of the following year, Warburton himself was dead from a heart attack, aged 52. Warburton's nickname 'Choppy' came from his father, a sailor, who always responded with ‘choppy' when he was asked what weather he had encountered on his voyage.

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