Balham CC teamed up with the Balham Society tonight to share the story of cycling in Balham in the 1890s and the Hyde Farm cycle track.
The walking tour of the area was part of the 2019 Lambeth Heritage Festival.
In the early 1890s Hyde Farm, Balham was set to become one of the premier cycling tracks in London. By 1896 it had closed with the land to be used for housing, a victim of construction to saturation point of cycling tracks in the good times, cycling’s sudden decline in popularity, and a champion cyclist’s determination to make Herne Hill the capital’s number one venue.
The rise and fall of Balham Hyde Farm is covered in a previous blog
Pics: The 2019 Lambeth Heritage Festival Brochure; The Balham CC Chairman bangs on about Balham and cycling outside the houses where Hyde Farm once stood.
Cycling in the Balham area was hugely popular at this time.
15-plus clubs are listed in the 1894 Cyclist Year Book as operating in the Clapham, Wandsworth, Balham, Tooting area. It is likely such a landmark track would have been used by the likes of Tooting BC, Clapham CC, Clapham Park CC, Clapham Ramblers CC, New Wandsworth CC, Streatham CC and Balham CC.
Our research also shows that between 1890 and 1914, 54 manufacturers and distributors existed within just a three-mile radius of The Regent (the home of Balham CC from 1897 to 1926).
Big thanks to John Rattray from the Balham Society for organising the tour and having us along.
Check out our blog on South London and the 1890s cycling boom
The 1894 Cyclist Year Book