Object of the Week : S for Speedway

Monday 7 June 2021

Whilst the Museum is closed and our collections unable to be seen by visitors, we have created a weekly virtual museum with an Object of the Week feature from our collections.

Object of the Week :  S for Speedway

On the site of Saffron Green School at Stirling Way, once stood the Barnet Speedway circuit.  This was a grass and cinders track for training for speedway from 1929 to 1936, and the local heroes were Cyril Brine and Dick Geary.

It was the North London Motor Club that negotiated to run speedway on a twenty acre grass track that was adjacent to the Barnet by-pass. It was thus so convenient to travel to with plenty of room for spectators and their transport. The track was originally grass-covered rather than the more usual cinder or shale. The track was opened for the first meeting on the 27 July 1929.

Grass Track for speedway in Borehamwood in the 1930s

The site remained the venue for open meeting through to 1936 although by 1934 the grass was all but worn away and cinders were added to the bends. The name for its final year was changed to simply ’Barnet Speedway’.

Speedway track (photo c. Derek Allen)

Closing in 1937 when the North London Motor Club failed to achieve an extension on the licence after having successfully completed eighty seven meetings, meaning that speedway was lost to the area. However the NLMC moved their speedway operation to High Beech leaving the owners of the land free to sell it on for building.

Once the circuit had been sold off, Saffron Green Junior School was built directly over the site in the 1950s.

Cyril Brine was born in Borehamwood in 1918 and was an international speedway rider who qualified for the Speedway World Championship finals twice.  He began speedway riding in 1938 and spent his entire career with one club, The Wimbledon Dons.  He made his debut for England in 1949 before retiring in 1963.  Brine died in 1988.

Although the Museum doesn’t hold any objects relating to the sport, we do have some photos in our archive.

The track in action

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