Cycle Track



Cycle track at the Jewel, Edinburgh

   Reproduced with acknowledgement to Thomas Lee, Edinburgh


Question 1

The Jewel or Magdeline?

Thomas Lee who sent me the photograph above tells me that he is not sure about the location.  It may be the Jewel or Magdeline.  If you recognise the location, please e-mail me

Thank you.  - Peter Stubbs.


Based on the replies that I have received (below) there now seems no doubt that this cycle track was at Bingham


Answer 1

I normally associate The Jewel with the large Asda store, near Fort Kinnaird.  However,  Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian replied, explaining where he believes the cycle track would have been.

Donald wrote:

The Jewel?

"Having looked at this photo, tagged as 'The Jewel or Magdalene', I'm pretty sure that it is indeed The Jewel.

My understanding is that the area known as the Jewel was on the western side of what is now Duddingston Park and lay between that road and the Bingham housing scheme, although as that wasn't my home territory I do stand to be corrected.

The buildings in the background are consistent with the now demolished flat roof Bingham buildings.  I'm not sure if it is still there but The Jewel Miners Welfare Club used to sit on Duddingston Park and was built of the same red brick as the miners rows that can be seen in the background of one of the other Jewel photos."

Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  February 13, 2008

Donald added:

"Further to my comments on the Jewel Miners Welfare Club, I can now confirm that the building itself is still there, but is now harled and white in colour.

As to its purpose these days, I'm afraid I don't know."

Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  February 19, 2008


Answer 2

Thank you to Sheila Cairns who wrote:


"The houses on the top right look like the pensioners houses just of Bingham Drive so that would make the track in the field at the side of the railway track."

Sheila Cairns:  January 9, 2009


Answer 3

Thank you to Rab Cleary, South Africa who wrote:


"The picture of the bikers going round the track is Bingham.  The Jewel cottages would be to the right of that picture taken. I lived in the Jewel cottages with my grandmother, granddad, & father at that time.

My granddad was also Robert and my dad was James. My granddad played bowls for Scotland.  He was a member of the Jewel bowling club which would be situated at the end of the houses if you followed it round to the right. It was on the banks of the burn that ran through between the Jewel and Bingham."

Rob (or Rab if you're from Edinburgh!) Cleary, Johannesburg, South Africa:  December 23, 2009


Answer 4

Thank you to Bob Falconer, Winchester, Hampshire, England who wrote:


"I rode for Pilrig Pirates in the mid-1960s and raced at the Jewel fairly regularly.  The picture is not the Jewel but of Bingham, I think.  I remember that it was very close to what I think was called Figgie Burn. *

Looking back, it was remarkable what was achieved and how organised the sport was, despite a complete lack of support, and occasional obstruction, indifference and harassment from the authorities and police."

Bob Falconer, Winchester, Hampshire, England:  February 13, 2010

*  In fact, it was the Braid Burn that passed close to Bingham.  A little further north the burn approached Portobello, and its name changed to the Figgate Burn. -   Peter Stubbs.


Answer 5

Thank you to Charlie Dickson, Midlothian who wrote:


"This race track is in front of Bingham Crescent.  The Orlit house in the background is where my gran lived (at No25) with a family of 10. 

Hers is the top flat on the left. The Scott family lived in the flat below and  the Marr family lived in the bottom-right flat and above were the Bain family. 

The newer houses on the right were pensioners' houses.  Just at the back of the cycle track is Bingham Burn which had a small bridge that you could cross."

Charlie Dickson, Midlothian:  1+2 Feb 2017


Question 2

Donald Grant added:

Alex Cropley

"What really intrigues me is a rider named in one of these shots as Alex Cropley.  I would be very interested to find out if it is the same Alex Cropley who played football for Hibs, Arsenal and Aston Villa.  It certainly looks like him!"

Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  February 13, 2008


Answer 1

Thomas Lee replied:

Alex Cropley

"You might want to confirm to everyone that the Alex Cropley quoted in one of the pictures is THE Alex Cropley who played for the Hibs, Aston Villa"

Thomas Lee, Edinburgh:  February 13, 2008


Answer 2

Andrew Hogarth added:

"Alex Cropley rode for the Eastern Royals Cycle Speedway Team in 1966.  He was a very good rider and always scored well for the team.  Like myself he lived in the Magdalene Gardens Housing Estate.

The gentleman that ran the cycle speedway in our area was Willie Fleet.  Alex and I both attended Norton Park High School that was attached to the main stand of the Hibernian FC ground.

In his first season on the left wing for the Hibs reserves Alex scored 19 goals. He was indeed a rare talent.

Andrew Hogarth, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:  March 18 +19, 2008

Andrew tells me that he has lived in Sydney, Australia since 1981, and that, while living in Edinburgh,  he also rode for Eastern Royals, Eastern Warriors and later Eastfield Eagles who won the 3rd Division Championship in 1967.


Answer 3

Dave Watt added:

Tam Cropley

Cycle Track at The Jewel, Edinburgh

"This team was the Brunstane Bees.  The rider in the lead is Tam, Cropley, brother of Alex Cropley.  Alex was also a fine footballer but never made it to Senior ranks."

Dave Watt, South Queensferry, West Lothian, Scotland:  March 20, 2008




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