Burnley - Burnley Cricket Club - Turf Moor

Belvedere Road : BB10 4BN
Turf Moor was the home of Burnley Cricket Club from 1843. A further seven acres of land next to the cricket ground was purchased in 1883 to form a football pitch which became the home of Burnley FC.

The first bicycle race in Burnley was at Turf Moor, when the Cricket Club held their 4th annual festival on August 7th 1869. There were 21 events which included a bicycle race. The Burnley Advertiser reported on the race "The bicycle race was looked to with great interest, but the contest was not so close as to meet the anticipations in this respect. Some of the competitors gave up before the end, and one or two mishaps occurred." The distance was to have been two miles but it was run over a mile in two heats and a final, with a total of five competitors. J Coslow was the winner in a time of 6 min 40 sec.

The following year, a bicycle race was advertised at the festival, but the event was not subsequently reported and no bicycle races were held again at Turf Moor for over 10 years.

The Cricket Club annual sports on April 30th 1881 included a 1 mile handicap race for a first prize of £3. Of the 25 entries, 14 started and the race was won by H Turner of Castleton, off 115 yards. The course was reported to be a 362 yards grass track. Bicycle racing featured in the Cricket Club annual sports for the next fifteen years.

The Cricket Club's Jubilee Sports on 7th May 1887 repeated the previous year's experiment with professional sports; this experiment had seen their profit for the event increase from £4 to £170. The professional meeting attracted a crowd of 5,000 to watch the 2 miles handicap and 2 miles scratch bicycle races along with running and wrestling events. Although betting was banned, there were seven bookmakers who plied their trade all afternoon.

At the 1890 sports, safeties and pneumatic tyres were banned in the races. In the same year, Burnley Victoria Cycling Club held evening sports meetings. Through the 1890's the Cricket Club and Burnley Victoria Cycling Club continued to hold their race meetings and crowds of up to 5,000 were recorded.

With the opening of the concrete banked track at Towneley, bicycle racing at Turf Moor suffered and the last bicycle race at Turf Moor was on Aug 8th 1896 when Burnley Football Club held their annual sports.

Turf Moor is still the home ground of Burnley FC and is the second-longest continuously used ground in English professional football.


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