Herne Hill track hosted 1948 London Games

As the velodrome for the 2012 London Olympics nears completion, the future of its 1948 counterpart looks somewhat less secure.

Herne Hill velodrome in South London staged the track cycling at the first post-war Olympics but with a crumbling infrastructure, limited money for its upkeep and a state-of-the-art local competitor, there are concerns that without action, the historic venue may eventually disappear altogether.

In addition to its historic significance, the track has more recent Olympic connections through Bradley Wiggins who began his competitive career there as a teenager. Numerous track legends have raced there over the past 60 years and the Herne Hill Good Friday meeting is one of the cornerstones of the UK cycling calendar. In recent years those who use it have had to fend of a number of threats to its future including an attempt by the owners of the land on which it stands to sell part of it off for redevelopment. Now it seems Herne Hill's defenders may need to fight again, and so a campaign has begun to save it. 

Campaign leader Hillary Peachey said: "It seems shameful that, with 2012 approaching, London cannot even sustain the facilities it has. That is why we are calling on Londoners as a whole to save this precious resource.

"We are going to find a viable, sustainable and environmentally sensitive solution. The only given is that it must be cycling-led, inclusive and work for the entire community. Cycling is one of the most popular sports in the country. If we pull together, we can save this amazing place for future generations."

Peter Cattermole, whose club runs the current Herne Hill site, said:
"If you came here on a Saturday and saw hundreds of kids bombing around the track, you'd think it would be criminal to lose it. Anyone who cares about kids, cycling or the environment should come to the public meeting."

The Campaign kicks off with a public meeting at Dulwich College at 7.30 pm on
Wednesday October 6. Londoners are also being asked to register their support on


OldRidgeback [2847 posts] 7 years ago

It is a great facility and would be a tragic loss were it to be redeveloped. It belongs to Dulwich Estates, which I believe is at leaste part owned by Dulwich College, the nearby private school. There is some obscurity over the ownership of Dulwich Estates and I can understand why the school would not be keen to see its reputation damaged in the event of the site being sold for redevelopment.

I imagine many of the people with neighbouring properties would be somewhat less than pleased to see the site redeveloped as this would result in a building site on what is a very upmarket neighbourhood and the cyclists are quiet and make little disturbance, which I'm sure is appreciated. Bear in mind that a lot of the locals, myself included (though I live a short ride away and not directly beside the track), are also regulars at the track themselves. Given that Boris Johnson and David Cameron are such keen cyclists are that Johnson in particular has been keen to promote cycling in London, you'd expect one or both to step in and save this historic site.

I'll sign up for the campaign to save it.

If, as I've been told, Dulwich Estates is part of Dulwich College then it would be ironic indeed that the meeting to save the facility would be held on the school premises.