Herne Hill Velodrome

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Race on the Herne Hill Velodrome (2009)

The Herne Hill Velodrome is one of the oldest and most traditional velodrome in Great Britain . In 1948 the track cycling competitions of the 1948 Olympic Games took place there.

The Herne Hill Velodrome was built in 1891 on the initiative of one of England's most renowned amateur cyclists , George Lacy Hillier . It was around 450 meters long, made of rolled gravel, and inside there was an ash track and a rugby playing surface . Over the course of five years, the railway was gradually rebuilt; it received flat curves and straights partly laid out with wood. The railway had its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, when over 10,000 spectators came to the races with top international players. The most popular race was the international Good Friday Meeting , which had been held since 1903. During the First World War , the home games of the football club Crystal Palace took place in the interior of the track .

In 1948 the cycling track was in very poor condition because it had been used to store protective sandbags against the bombing during World War II . It was renovated with private funds for the Olympic Games and the runway was poured from a new type of bitumen . The track, which had previously belonged to the National Cycling Union , became the property of the Greater London Council . To the great disappointment of the British cycling fans, the local cycling idol Reg Harris lost in the Olympic final of the sprint race against the Italian Mario Ghella .

At the end of the 1980s, a new track was built on the same site for 1.5 million GBP , it was planned by the Australian velodrome architect Ron Webb . It had steeper curves than its predecessor and was given a surface made from synthetic resin. In 2005 the track was closed, but then taken over by the local club “VC Londres” in cooperation with the British cycling association “British Cycling” and renewed with private funds. The protagonist of a campaign to maintain the track was the multiple track world and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins , who began his career in Herne Hill. Even today some of the existing grandstands are the original ones from 1891. In 2011 the surface of the cycling track was renewed again.

From 1987 until the opening of the London Olympic Velodrome in 2011, "Herne Hill" was the only cycling track in London. Today it is mainly used for training purposes and for local cycling events.


  1. The Good Friday Meeting has been held at the Manchester Velodrome since 2011 .

Web links

Commons : Radrennbahn Herne Hill  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 51 ° 27 '3.9 "  N , 0 ° 5' 28.9"  W.