1883: July

There were only two meetings noted for 7th July – one at Shawfield and one in Edinburgh.   Shawfield Grounds hosted the Glasgow Fair One Mile handicap for a prize of £20 and the final of a 120 yard sprint from the previous week for which a large crowd gathered.   In the capital, it was the Edinburgh University Athletic Club Sports that drew in the crowds.   This was the eighteenth consecutive sports run by the University at Corstorphine and a full programme of athletic events was held with the addition of some cycly races.

The following was packed with meetings for the athletics fan.   The first was the West Kilbride Annual Games held ‘in a field at Seamill.’   There were 20 events in all with none of the placed men being members of an athletic club which seems to indicate that these were professional sports.   The same could be said of the annual Stirling Games held at Laurelhill where the competitors were from Causewayhead, West Plean, Stirling, Menstrie and Bridge of Allan.   There were also Games at Denny with a limited athletic programme and several other events such as quoiting on the list.   The West of Scotland Athletic Games at Johnstone were also professional, prize values were listed in reports of the meeting and runners such as W Hindle of Paisley were there.  Finally there was the St Bernard’s FC Sports at Powderhall where prize winners were recognisable amateurs and the clubs represented included Queen’s Park FC and EUAC.

The big meeting on 21st July was that to celebrate the opening of the new St Mirren ground at Paisley.   All the top amateur clubs were represented and a full athletics programme was carried through plus a very full five-a-side tournament.   In Edinburgh there was a ‘Free Gardeners Sports’.   Held in conjunction with a demonstration of the British Association of Free Gardeners, a sports meting was held at the Royal Gymnasium grounds under the auspices of the Fuchsia Lodge.   The events were interesting and included a 250 yards race for amateur (pedestrian) gardeners.   That was it – apart from a Sports for Junior Football Clubs which seemed to consist solely of football matches.

The last week in the month featured the Ayur Sports with four events (100 yards, quarter mile, half mile and mile) with many heats in each of them.  The second day of the St Mirren FC Sports to celebrate the opening of the new ground took place with a four-a-side football tournament as well as the usual athletic rpogramme and finally there was the Kelso Gymnastic Games.   There were some odd events here too – the Roxburghe handicap over 350 yards, the Glasgow handicap of 245 yards and a three-quarter mile race for instance.


In the absence of a governing body for amateur athletics, the events were sponsored by all sorts of groups, and the public for athletic events were being attracted by many professional races.   After all they were none the less atractive for the winners being paid in folding money.   So long as it was honest competition.