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A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks

 

Edinburgh Recollections

Edinburgh Cycling

1.

Thomas Lee
Edinburgh

Davidson's Mains

2.

Bob Henderson
Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Burdiehouse

-  Newington

-  Meadowbank

3.

Yvonne Cain
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Davidson's Mains

4.

4 Phil Wilson
Aberdeen

Jockey Allan

4 Phil Wilson
Aberdeen

-  Death of Jocky Allan

4 Phil Wilson
Aberdeen

-  Covered in Oil

4 Patrick Hutton
New Town, Edinburgh

-  Larger than Life

4 Tony Ivanov
New Town, Edinburgh

-  Jocky Allan's Shop

4 Phil Wilson
Aberdeen

Specialist Knowledge and Wizardry

5.

Patrick Hutton
New Town, Edinburgh

+ reply from

Thomas Lee
Edinburgh

Davidson's Mains

6.

Tommy Wishart
Edinburgh

Meadowbank

7.

Bob Henderson
Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

and

Forbes Wilson
near Guildford, Surrey, England

Burdiehouse

-  Newington

8.

Eric Gold
East London

Burdiehouse

9.

Andy Hall

Davidson's Mains

10.

Gordon Pilmer

Inch Park

11.

Barry Fawcett
Canada

Pilrig Park

-  Mountcastle

12.

Scott Corbett
Corstorphine, Edinburgh

Northfield Saints

-  Portobello Pirates

Links Lyons

-  The Jewel

Travelling with the Bike

13.

Jim Duncan
New Brunswick, Canada

Jocky Allan

14.

Jim (Gibby) Gibson
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Jocky Allan

15.

Gus Coutts
Duddingston, Edinburgh

Duddingston Cycle Tracks

16.

Dave McKinlay
New Zealand

-  Melvin Collins

17.

Iain C Purves
Waterdown, Ontario, Canada

-  Davidson's Mains

-  Granton Griffins

18.

Don Moir
Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland

Sighthill Hammers CSC

-  Cycle Speedway in Edinburgh

19.

Thomas Lee
Edinburgh

End of Season - 2011

20.

Ronnie Bunting
Joppa, Edinburgh

Portobello Cycle Track

21

John Russell
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Jocky Allan

-  Bob Moyes

22

John Fraser
Inch, Edinburgh

Sarah (Sadie) Nisbet

-  Gordon Nisbet

-  The Fraser Family

-  John Devin's Cycle Shop

23

Jim (Gibby) Gibson
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Edina Couriers

-  The Comet

-  'Tour of Scotland'

24.

Iain C Purves
Waterdown, Ontario, Canada

-  Sighthill Track

-  Davidson's Mains

-  Granton Griffins

25

George Syme
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Liberton Cycle Track

26

George Syme
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Liberton Lions Cycle Speedway

   'A Potted History'

-  The Beginnings

-  Racing

-  The Track

-  The K.O. Cup

-  Manager

-  1967

-  1968

-  1969

-  1970

-  Raced for Liberton Lions

27

George Syme
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Edinburgh Cycle Tracks

-  Ecuire Alba

-  Cycle Tracks near Newington

28

Derek Benyon
'Benny the Leg'

Leicester, Leicestershire, England

Hello to Sighthill Hammers

-  Changes

29

Bryan Gourlay
Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Cycling and Tram Tracks

-  Haymarket

-  North Bridge

 

Recollections

1.

Thomas Lee

Edinburgh

Thank you to Thomas Lee for sending me several photos of cycle racing in Edinburgh from the 1950s to the 1970s, together with comments on the photos.

Davidson's Mains

This is one of the photos of the Davidson's Mains cycle track that Thomas sent to me.   Please click on this thumbnail to enlarge it.

Cycling on the cycle track beside Ferry Road, Davidson's Mains ©

 

Recollections

2.

Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Thank you to Bob Henderson who wrote:

Burdiehouse

"We had a track here in Burdiehouse in what was known as the dip. This was at the bottom of the valley the Burdiehouse burn ran through.

Unfortunately for the speedway fanatics amongst us, they built Burdiehouse primary school on it."

Newington

"I also used to ride for the Hallhead Pirates.  We had a track behind the garages in a lane off Hallhead Road in Newington."

Bob subsequently identified this track as  being at Liberton, rather than Newington.  Please see Liberton  cycle track for further comments from Bob and others on the location of this track.

Meadowbank

"Our speedway in the late 'forties and early 'fifties was not very organised, and of course it was inspired by the Monarchs who were based in Meadowbank at that time.

Saturdays were never the same when they were de-homed to make way for the Commonwealth Games."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  January 23, 2008

 

Recollections

3.

Yvonne Cain

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Bob Henderson who wrote:

Davidson's Mains

"Those photos of the cycling bring back lots of memories, going round that track.

Cycle track beside Ferry Road, Davidon's Mains  -  1967 ©

The boy in one of the photos could be a boy I used to know - Abs Dixon.  The photo was taken about 40 years ago"

Yvonne Cain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:  January 23, 2008

Recollections

4A

Phil Wilson

Aberdeen, Scotland

Thank you to Phil Wilson who wrote:

Jocky Allan

"The photos are tremendously nostalgic for me. They bring back the days of the famous Jocky Allan of Leith, who was our last resort with bike problems. I wonder if he's still alive. He'd be a fair old age by now, if so."

Phil Wilson, Aberdeen, Scotland:  January 23, 2008

 

Recollections

4B

Phil Wilson

Aberdeen, Scotland

Thank you to Phil Wilson who wrote again , later in 2008:

Death of Jocky Allan

"Regrettably Jocky Allan, the great cycles man of Leith, died earlier this year.  There was an obituary for him in the 'Edinburgh Evening News' on July 22, 2008."

Phil Wilson, Aberdeen, Scotland August 30, 2008

Obituary

Here are extracts from the obituary that appeared in the 'Edinburgh Evening News':

Jocky Allan

Leith businessman, Jocky Allan, who sold bicycles for more than 60 years has died ... after a long illness.

The 89-year-old was well-known in Leith in Leith ... for his successful bicycle shop, Jocky Alan Cycles, and will be fondly remembered by generations of Edinburgh people who either bought their bike from, or had it repaired by, the charismatic figure.

Tributes have been led by fellow Leither, Sir Tom Farmer, who recalled visiting Jocky regularly in his first shop on Jane Street, and in his second on Leith Walk.  "For me, Jocky was an unforgettable character and I mean that sincerely,"  he said.

He described a man who was "perpetually smeared with oil" on his hands and face;  a man who was "never too busy" to speak to customers, old and young, who dropped by with their cycles.

He said:

"I was a customer in my teens living close by and had nothing but admiration and a certain fascination for the man, as did my brothers."

"His shop, always cramped for space was a Mecca for countless boys and girls.  Jocky, for all these years was a loved and respected part of the Leith scene - a rock of the community."

 

 

Recollections

4C.

Phil Wilson

Aberdeen, Scotland

Phil Wilson added:

Covered in Oil

"Jocky was, as stated in the write-up, always covered from head to foot in  oil, so much so that I still don't know what he really looked like!"

Phil Wilson, Aberdeen, Scotland September 2, 2008

 

Recollections

4D.

Phil Wilson

Aberdeen, Scotland

Patrick Hutton wrote:

Larger Than Life

"I was sad to see Jocky's obituary on edinphoto. I knew him quite well in the mid-late 1980s.

He took me to the 'Tour of the Border' bike race a couple of times in his white van.  He was, very much, a larger than life character - a wee feller full of (tall??) stories."

Patrick Hutton, New Town, Edinburgh September 2, 2008

 

Recollections

4E.

Phil Wilson

Aberdeen, Scotland

Tony Ivanov wrote:

Jocky Allan's Shop

"As a youngster I was an avid cyclist and well remember Jocky from as far back as 1958. I attended St. Anthony's Secondary School and used to visit his shop in Jane Street quite often on lunch breaks. 

He never let you down with repairs or advice and always seemed to have the spares you were after. How he found things in his shop was amazing as it was crammed full of bike parts and accessories."

Tony Ivanov, Bo'ness, West Lothian September 2, 2008

 

Recollections

4F.

Phil Wilson

Aberdeen, Scotland

Phil Wilson added:

'Specialist Knowledge' and 'Wizardry

"I was sure that others would chip in.  Jocky was a memorable character to small boys, with his overtones of 'specialist knowledge' and 'wizardry' about bikes.

My father, who cycled to work, had known him a long time, and we went to his shop many a time in the late-1950s and 1960s."

Phil Wilson, Aberdeen, Scotland September 3, 2008

 

Recollections

5.

Patrick Hutton

New Town, Edinburgh

Thank you to Phil Wilson who wrote:

Davidson's Mains

"Nice pictures. I'm just curious about the date

Cycle track beside Ferry Road, Davidon's Mains  -  1950s ©    Cycle track beside Ferry Road, Davidon's Mains  -  1950s ©

The railway line closed (for freight) from Davidson's Mains to Craigleith (the junction) on 1st June 1960, but I can't see any rails in the 1950s photos.  Also, the wee van over to the left looks rather 60s-ish?"

I remember the track in it's abandoned days. I started full-time work in September 1984 at Ferranti's, just off to the left on the other side of Ferry Road."

Reply

After reading the comments above, Thomas Lee replied

"I'll bow to Patrick's superior knowledge."

So, I've now changed the dates on these two photos from '1950s' to '1960s'

Peter Stubbs:  January 28, 2007

 

Patrick Hutton, New Town, Edinburgh:  January 23, 2008

 

Recollections

6.

Tommy Wishart

Edinburgh

Thank you to Tommy Wishart who wrote:

Meadowbank

"I used to go along to some of the race meets in the mid-1960s. The Manager in those days was a chap called Ian Branston and one rider I remember was named Ray Waldie.  I met him again about ten years ago and still see him from time to time.

We also used to go to watch the Edinburgh Monarchs at the Old Meadowbank when Ian Hoskins was the Manager.

Tommy Wishart, Edinburgh: January 25, 2008

 

Recollections

7.

Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

and

Forbes Wilson

near Guildford, Surrey, England

Thank you to Bob Henderson and Forbes Wilson for confirming the locations of a couple of the cycle tracks.  Their comments can be found on these pages:

Burdiehouse  cycle track

Liberton  cycle track

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  January 29, 2008 AND
Forbes Wilson, near Guildford, Surrey, England:  January 30, 2008

 

Recollections

8.

Eric Gold

East London

Formerly Dumbiedykes, Edinburgh
and known to many as Eric McKenzie

Thank you to Eric Gold who wrote:

Burdiehouse  Cycle Track

"Although I lived in East Arthur Place, we would go every Sunday to my aunt and uncle's prefab in Southouse Crescent for Sunday lunch - also Christmas day too.

My cousin had a bike and we would go down the dip and onto the track and cycle.  That photo brought memories back to me."

Eric Gold, East London:  January 30, 2008

 

Recollections

9.

Andy Hall

Granton Griffins

Earlier this week, I met Andrew Hall who used to work on the trawlers from Granton and who has now created the Granton Trawlers web site.

Andrew told me that in the 1960s, he used to cycle for the Granton Griffins on the track at Davidson's Mains.

Cycle track beside Ferry Road, Davidon's Mains  -  1950s ©

Andy Hall, Newcastle, England,  discussion at Granton History Group, February 19, 2008

 

 

Recollections

10.

Gordon Pilmer

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Gordon Pilmer who wrote:

Inch Park

"Loved the cycling images.

We had a track in the Inch Park in the mid-sixties."

Gordon Pilmer, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:
Message in Guest Book, February 25, 2008.

 

 

Recollections

11.

Barry Fawcett

Canada

Thank you to Barry Fawcett who wrote:

Pilrig Park

"Does anyone remember the Pilrig Park cycle track, the one with the wall at the third and fourth bend?  I think it was the old Duncans chocolate factory."

Mountcastle

How about the track at Mountcastle which was built by me and a few friends?  Northfield Saints race out of it.   It was later taken under the wing of Willie Flett and became part of the Eastern organisation."

Barry Fawcett, Canada:  July 27, 2008

 

Recollections

12.

Scott Corbett

Corstorphine, Edinburgh

Thank you to Scott Corbett who read Barry Fawcett's comments (11 above) and replied:

Northfield Saints

"It's great to be reminded of the Northfield Saints and their cycle track. I raced for them in 1964 or 1965?  I remember many of the poeple who raced that day.

Portobello Pirates

"I lived in Christiemiller Avenue at the time and raced at the Magdalene track for Portobello Pirates and one of the Eastern teams."

Links Lyons

"Before that, I raced for Links Lions whose track was at the east end of Leith Links in the corner behind the cricket club changing rooms?

The back straight ran parallel and right alongside the back wall of one of the workplaces on Salamander Street I think. If you took the first bend too wide - whack, you hit the wall.  Aye, great fun."

The Jewel

"Then there was the track at the Jewel.  I remember I had not passed my driving test, but a pal of mine had and he was able to sit in the passenger seat as an experienced driver.

Anyway, we go to the Jewel track to race, drive across the rough grass to the track, and park my cream/red 1956 Hillman Californian near it.

On we go with the racing.  It's been going for about half an hour when a shout goes up:

"Gang coming frae Niddrie - they're efter us"

and sure enough here's a big crowd of lads coming over the back from Niddrie Mains charging towards us.

No time to lose, and I wanted to protect my just bought car, so I take the bike (whole) and throw it in the boot and three others have the same idea, I jump in and start the car and two or three of our lads jump inside.

I drove, full pelt, across the grass, bouncing all over the place, bikes and bits hanging off the car and onto the main road at the Magdalene end and escaped.  Just as well, as I found later a half brick in the boot that one of them had thrown."

Travelling with the Bike

"I remember travelling all over Edinburgh with the bike in bits. I took both wheels off and tied them either side of the frame, then onto a bus, and put the bike in the storage area under the rear stair, then rebuild it when I got to the other end,:

Davidsons Mains

Redhall, Sighthill

Harrison Park

Pilrig

Gracemount

etc.

Then I did the same in reverse to get home."

Aye, good memories. Nice to be reminded of them, thanks"

Scott Corbett, Corstorphine, Edinburgh:  September 5, 2008

 

Recollections

13.

Jim Duncan

New Brunswick, Canada

Thank you to Jim Duncan who wrote:

Jocky Allan

"In the mid-1950's, I became a habitué of Jocky Allens. There was a competitor opposite Gayfield Square but it was no contest.

I sought Jocky's advice in assembling my touring bike, a Dawes frame, with the best of accessories as recommended by the man himself.

The bikeIt took me all over Scotland and is my ultimate vehicle for nostalgia.  Only Jocky and I worked on that bike, until I hit a car, broadside, on the Bridges at an ungodly hour of the morning, on my way to work at SAI in Leith between 1963 and 1966.  Even Jocky couldn't fix it!

Past Jocky's in Jane street was Tenant Street, known to us as 'The Khyber Pass'."

Jim Duncan, New Brunswick, Canada:  May 22, 2009

 

Recollections

14.

Jim Gibson

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Jim Duncan who wrote:

Jocky Allan

"I Iived at 39 Findlay Ave and attended Lieth Academy Primary and Secondary school from 1939 to 1949.  I served for 5 years at Henry Robbs as an Apprentice Shipwright before, like many of my generation, emigrating to Canada in 1956

Whilst browsing the site, I read of Jocky Allens death in 2008. Jocky was responsible for getting me interested in bike racing.  I rode for Edina Couriers.

There were 4 or 5 cycle clubs in and around Edinburgh back then, including the Comet, the White Heather and the Musselburgh.

It was a great time for hostelling and racing back then - not many cars on the road.  There was no cycling when I came here.  Now it's not uncommon to here of some cyclist being run over with a car .

I have not been back to Edinburgh for about 12 years, but I've  just got John Stewart's DVD of Lieth.  It's sad to see some of the changes that have taken place.  So much for progress!

We grew up when times were tough.  We did not have much.  However, I would not trade my time in Edinburgh and Lieth for anything .

If any of my old school mates or cycling buddies are out there it would be great to hear from them."

Jim (Gibby) Gibson, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Reply to Jim?

If you'd like to reply to Jim, please add a reply to the message that he left in the EdinPhoto guest book on December 18, 2009

OR

email me then I'll pass your message on to him (assuming that I have discovered his email address by then).

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs:  December 19, 200

 

Recollections

15.

Gus Coutts

Duddingston, Edinburgh

Thank you to Gus Coutts who wrote:

Duddingston

"When I was a boy in the 1940s, there were two cycle tracks in the Durhams at Duddingston.

-  One of the tracks was in the field which was later built on, to become Southfield Road West.

I cannot be absolutely sure, but I think that the team that rode there was called 'Southfield Sharks'.

-  The other track was in a small field adjoining the south side of Duddingston Road, between Duddingston Gardens North and the original bungalows which  ran up to Duddingston Avenue.

This track was not the normal oval shape but was 3 sided with one very sharp hairpin bend.

Gus Coutts:  Duddingston, Edinburgh:  September 26, 2009

 

Recollections

16.

Dave McKinlay

New Zealand

Dave McKinlay wrote

Question

Melvin Collins

"We seem to have a lot of Canadian settlers from Edinburgh who are active on this web site.  I just wonder if any of you have come across and old cycling friend of mine by the name of Melvin Collins who used to live at the bottom of Lochend Raos, Edinburgh.

Both his older brother and his father were very active road cyclists.  His father wrote regular articles on cycling in the  Saturday Edinburgh Green Dispatch.

Melvin left for Canada about 1959-60 and would be about 73 years old now.  I lost contact with him while I was in the Army.  I ran into his mother in Binns Restaurant around 1961.  She told me that he'd gone to Canada.

I'd love to hear if anyone knows him."

Dave McKinlay, New Zealand:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  January 3, 2011

Reply to Dave McKinlay?

Dave McKinlay left his email address in the message that he posted in the EdinPhoto guestbook on January 3, 2011.  So if you'd like to contact him, it would probably be best to send an email to that address.

He would be likely to find your email more easily than a 'Reply' that you left in the guestbook.

If you have difficulty finding Dave's email address in the guest book, please email me and I'll try to help.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: January 3, 2010

 

Recollections

17.

Iain C Purves

Waterdown, Ontario, Canada

Iain C Purves wrote:

Davidson's Mains Track

   Cycle track beside Ferry Road, Davidon's Mains  -  1977

"Davidson's Mains track in the photo above looks a lot different from the days when I rode there for the 'Granton Griffins'."

Starting Gate

"Mr. Branston the 'brains' behind the team had the only 'proper' starting gate installed.  It consisted of a concrete pad, with a metal support on either side with tapes across the opening.

By puling down a bar to tension the long springs, it would lock onto a simple foot pedal, and a quick stamp on the pedal allowed the tapes to fly up, just like at the Old Meadowbank Speedway starting gate.

Granton Griffins

Some of the team in the 50's were:

Ian Branson

-  John Wilson

Pedro

Eric Clark

Iain Purves

and the twins from, I believe, Musselburgh.  They were Terrors.

The Track

The inner circle was a huge hawser, donated from own of the trawler companies on the western side of Granton Harbour, along near the old lighthouse."

Iain C Purves, Waterdown, Ontario, Canada:  November 2, 2011

 Recollections

18

Don Moir

Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland

Sighthill Hammers CSC

This photo of the track where Sighthill Hammers CSC used to race provoked some comments about the club's successes.

Sighthill Cycle Track, Edinburgh ©

Sighthill Hammers CSC won the Edinburgh League every year from 1963 to 1969 inclusive, except 1968, and in 1966 they won the British National Championship.

Discussion of  this topic on the Sighthill page ended with the comments below from Don Moir about how Cycle Speedway in Edinburgh had changed over the past 40 years to 2011.

Cycle Speedway in Edinburgh

"Cycle Speedway is still going on in Edinburgh, but on a vastly reduced scale.  In the 1960s there were 3 divisions and dozens of tracks. Now there is just one at Redbraes Park and I don't think they have all that many matches in a year.

It's certainly nothing like we had before.  We would race at least twice a week from March to November, and would travel down south for national matches several time during the year.

It kept us all out of trouble - and pretty fit too!

Don Moir, Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland:  October 29, 2011

Cycle Speedway in Edinburgh

Reply

I agree, Don.  The cycling speedway seems to be on nothing like on the same scale as it used to be.  I think that's probably true throughout Britain, not just in Edinburgh.

I still receive regular reports from Thomas Lee, letting me know the progress of the Edinburgh Cycle Speedway Club that races at Redbraes Park near Powderhall.

Their members still travel down south for races several times a year, but the competition against other Edinbrugh clubs seems to have vanished.

The club is now becoming more involved with schools, so perhaps that might result in a revival of interest in the sport.

Peter Stubbs, October 30, 2011

Recollections + Current News

19

Thomas Lee

Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland

For the past 3 years, I've been receiving regular emails from Thomas Lee about The Falcons' Cycle Speedway at Redbraes Park, Edinburgh.

In his message below, he describes something a little different to end the season with on November 5, 2011.

Thomas wrote:

End of Season - 2011

"This Saturday, Redbraes hosts a tournament with a difference to bring down the curtain on the 2011 season.

The four-team tournament will see three of the teams made up from the Falcons riders who have performed so well over the 2011 season.

The remaining team will be made up of motor speedway riders:

Matthew Wethers

Kevin Wolbert

Aaron Summers

Andrew Tully. 

Strictly no engines allowed !

Will the speedway riders have what it takes to negotiate the tight Redbraes turns only using pedal bikes? 

Will the Falcons be able to show their faces if they lose to the speedway riders?"

Thomas Lee:  November 2, 2011

Recollections

20

Ronnie Bunting

Joppa, Edinburgh

Thank you to Ronnie Bunting for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Ronnie wrote:

Portobello Cycle Track

"Does anyone remember the cycle track that was just off Brunstane Road, Portobello?  It was situated right next to the bowling green.  If I remember correctly it was there up until the early-1970's, when the Scottish Electric Board decided to stick a pylon right on top of the track.

I then used to cycle to the track at Davidsons Mains, belt round and round for a while, then cycle all the way back to Joppa.  I must have been fit way back then."

Ronnie Bunting, Joppa, Edinburgh:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, April 27, 2012
and email address supplied June 7, 2012.

Recollections

21

John Russell

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Thank you to John Russell, Calgary Alberta, Canada, for continuing the memories of Jocky Allan.

John wrote:

Jocky Allan

"Jocky was the Scottish Team Manager at that time  -  happy days on the bike back then.

I often wonder about the club mates:

 John Kerr

- 'Chico' Gordon

Harry Lawson

et al ."

Bob Moyes

"It would be remiss, talking about cycling in Edinburgh in the 1950s and not mention Bill Moyes up in West Preston Street.

He was was another great supporter of cyclists in those days,  another lad that had time for his customers."

John Russell, Calgary, Alberta, Canada:  August 6, 2012.     John came to Canada in 1969.

Recollections

22

John Fraser

Inch, Edinburgh

Thank you to John Fraser, Edinburgh, for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

John wrote:

Sarah (Sadie) Nisbet

"My Sister, Sarah (Sadie) Nisbet, was the founder of the Rosebery Ladies' Cycling club in the 1950s.  She was in the Mercury but left.

She won many races, and was always in competition with Janet Sutherland who rode for the Musselburgh Road Club.

Sadly, Sadie passed away in December 2011."

Gordon Nisbet

"Sarah was married to Gordon Nisbet of the Dale Road Club, based in Armadale, which was my training run on a Wednesday night.

Gordon passed away in December 2012, just one day away from the day that Sadie died."

The Fraser Family

"I was in the Comet, but didn't do much racing.  My dad used to attend all the long road races ,especially the Spring Grand Prix, to which he donated a silver cup.

My brother, Robert, was in the Red Lion Couriers."

Gordon Nisbet

"The cycle shop next to the Broadway Picture House (which changed to become the Gateway) was owned by John Devin, who used to work in Jocky Allan's shop."

John Fraser, Inch, Edinburgh:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  March 27, 2013

Recollections

23

Jim Gibson (aka Gibby)

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Jim Gibson for sending anothe message about his cycling (and incidentally one about his ice skating at Murrayfield).

Jim posted these messages in the EdinPhoto Guestbook on May 21, 2013, in response to the message (22 above) that John Fraser posted in the Guestbook on March 27, 2013.

Jim wrote:

Edina Couriers

"I rode for the Edina Couriers , up until I left for Canada in December 1956.  Our Racing sweater was Royal Blue with a Red Rampant Lion on the back.

We were never called the Red Lion Couriers to my knowledge, unless that changed after I left for Canada."

The Comet

"I knew a lot of guys in the Comet:

-  John Kerr

-  Eddy Holmes

-  John Guilliot

Joe Christianson

are some that I still remember.I'm not sure of the spelling of their names."

'Tour of Scotland'

I also knew Jocky Allen very well.  He was the Team Manager when I rode for the East of Scotland in the 3-day 'Tour of Scotland', which was from:

Edinburgh to Dundee

Dundee to Aberdeen

Aberdeen to Glasgow.

Others on the Team were:

-  Jimmy Drysdale from the Musselburgh

-  Jock Shaw from the White Heath.

I can't remember the rest."

Jim Gibson (Gibby), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada:  Reply posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook
on May 21, 2013 in response to Message posted by John Fraser on March 27, 2013.

 

Recollections

24.

Iain C Purves

Waterdown, Ontario, Canada

Event

Thank you to Ian who for sending another email to me.

Iain wrote:

Sighthill Track

"It was interesting reading about the lads from Sighthill, the effort they expended in setting up their track and the problem with the elastic 'gate'."

Granton Griffins

"Back in the 1950s, I rode for Ian Branston and the 'Granton Griffins' at their track in Davidson's Mains.  We somehow acquired a hawser from one of the Granton ttrawler companies and Mr Branston Senior devised the proper foot pedal controlled starting gate.

Some of the riders, I recall, were:

- Eric Clark

Ian Branston

John Littlejohn

-  two brothers from Musselburgh way, who I believe were deaf.

We always rode (it seems) on a Sunday afternoon out in Davidson Mains, and if memory serves we had a good crowd out watching.

Houses now stand on the plot that we used to call 'Our Park'."

Iain C Purves, Waterdown, Ontario, Canada:  January 27, 2014

 

Recollections

25.

George Syme

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Thank you to George Syme for telling me about the the cycle tracks that he used to ride on at Liberton.

George wrote:

Liberton Cycle Tracks

"There was a track at Liberton and it was on Craigour Grove. Liberton Lions rode there from 1960 to 1967.

They then built a new track at Fernieside in the playing field opposite Fernieside school and next to the bowling green.  They rode from 1968 to 1970."

George Syme, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  February 19, 2014

 

Recollections

26.

George Syme

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Thank you to George for writing again, giving more details of his cycling in the 1960s, when he used to ride for Liberton Lions.

George tells me that he returned to Edinburgh for a Liberton Lions Cycle Speedway reunion in 2006.  About 95% of the riders turned up to the reunion.

Thank you to George for remembering the names of all the people involved with Liberton Lions and for writing the 'potted history' of the club below.

George wrote:

Liberton Lions Cycle Speedway

'A Potted History'

The Beginnings

"Liberton Lions Cycle Speedway club Started in 1960.  Some of the lads who used to go and watch the Monarchs on a Saturday night at Meadowbank decided to try if for themselves

Some local lads made a track on Craigour Grove just by cycling round and round in an oval shape. The trackrack never really got dug out as such. Then the council offered them some help and gave them a load of shale.

The club was probably started by:

Dennis Darling.

Norrie Darling.

Eric Darling.

Derek Ingles and his dad.

Jocky Henderson.

Scott Thomson.

John McIntyre.

Ian Gill.

Racing

"They had enough lads for about three teams and they just raced against each other for a year. They started racing against some other fairly local teams in about 1962/1963."

The Track

"The track was famous (or infamous, depend on how you look at it), for its amazing slope. The front straight was downhill.  There was a very tight 1st and 2nd bend with a huge railway sleeper on the outside to stop you going all the way down the hill, and then there was an uphill climb before a high banked 3rd and 4th corner."

The K.O. Cup

"Liberton Lions won the K.O. Cup in 1964, beating Northfield Saints, 66 to 54.  Dougie Noble scored 16 for Liberton.  All three of the Darling brothers rode in this match."

Manager

"J Ingles was Manager for a good few years.  Ted Over was Manager in 1966, then Fred Hamilton took over in 1967. This was when the club started going places.

We joined with the local community group and got the use of their facilities on a Sunday night. We bought a tranny van. We even built a new track at Fernieside in the close season between 1967 and 1968.

We wore red tops with a Racing bib of a Lions head on the front.  The second team had a cotton bib with 'L L' on the front."

1967

"The first Liberton Club Championship was held in 1967.   It was won by George Syme after a run-off with Rab Jeffery, both on 13 points.  Derek Ingles was 3rd on 12.

Liberton Lions reached the League Cup final in 1967, meeting Ecurie Alba.  Liberton lost 48 to 36."

1968

"The Liberton Club Championship in 1968 at Fernieside was won by Dave Baxter on 14. Derek Ingles on 12. George Syme 3rd with 12 after another run-off.

Dave Baxter went on to become Scotland manager for a time in the 1980s."

1969

"The Liberton Club Championship in 1969 was won by Derek Ingles after a Run-off with George Syme both on 13.  Ronnie Wilkinson was 3rd on 12.

The Fernieside track was chosen for the 1969 K.O. Cup Final between Sighthill Hammers and Bridgend Bats. Bridgend won by 65 to 43."

1970

"The Club disbanded midway through 1970"

Those who Raced for Liberton Lions

 These all raced for Liberton Lions over the years:

-  Eric Darling.

Norrie Darling.

Dennis Darling.

-  Ian Moultray ('Toaster').

Alan Moultry.

Dougie Noble.

-  George McIntyre.

-  Ian Gill (Did he go on to race for Tottenham?)

Jocky Henderson.

Bertie Peacock.

John McIntyre.

-  Kenny Allen

Scott Thomson.

Dave Baxter (He became Scotland manager.)

George Wells (He was the elder brother of Alan Wells.)

-  Colin Sutherland.

George Syme (I moved to Nottingham in 1977 and went on to race for Long Eaton & Castle Donington until I retired in 1984.)

Ali Fraser.

-  Bill (Fury) Philips.

-  Ronnie Wilkinson.

Howard ('Hod') Johnson.

Derek Farmer.

Norrie Allan.

Morris Logan.

Rab Jeffery.

-  Ian Mackay.

Dennis McCabe.

Jimmy Davidson.

Dave Stark.

 Lyndsey Galloway.

John Barlow.

Tam Greig.

 George Syme, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  February 26, 2014

Photos

Please click on the thumbnail image below to see some of the photos of the Liberton Lions Cycle Speedway tracks at Craigour and Fernieside taken by George and his elder brother.

    Liberton Lions v. Sighthill at Craigour Cycle Track.  The Liberton Lions riders are Dave Stark and Rab Jeffrey ©

 

Recollections

27.

George Syme

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

George Syme added:

Edinburgh Cycle Tracks

"There were dozens of track around Edinburgh.

-  The most famous was Davidson's Mains where International matches were raced.

Then of course there was Sighthill, home of the famous Hammers which you have highlighted already."

Ecuire Alba

"One of the more famous Edinburgh teams was Ecurie Alba. Formed in 1967 by Dougie Noble ex-Liberton Rider. They won the National Team Championship in 1968.

Cycle Tracks near Newington

"The nearest tracks to Craigour or Fernieside were:

Danderhall , near the Miners' Welfare, Southhouse

Burdiehouse

Gracemount

Loanhead

There was also a track just inside the gates of the Inch Park. The wall ran down one side of the track and the little burn ran hear the other side."

George Syme, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  February 26, 2014

 

Recollections

28.

Derek 'Benny the Leg' Benyon

Leicester, Leicestershire, England

Thank you to Derek Benyon for sending the message below.

Derek (who rode for Blackley Flyers, Belle Vue Gladiators  and Lancashire Test Team) wrote:

'Hello to Sighthill Hammers!'

"I've just come across the EdinPhoto site and am writing to say 'Hello' to Don Moir, Jackie Pinkerton and the rest at Sighthill Hammers of the mid-1960s vintage.

I rode for Blackley Flyers in Manchester and raced against Sighthill Hammers.  

I kept in touch with Don by letter for a while when he lived at 6 Hutchison Loan!

I met Jackie a couple of times at Leicester Monarchs track about 15 years ago.  We exchanged a few photos and reminisced about the photo of me with my leg wrapped around his front wheel with his elbow in my left ear   :)

Changes

"Cycle speedway in the 1960s was an incredible sport! -  nothing like the sad sport that it has become now with perfect, beautifully laid tracks but so few teams. It became so 'professional' that it killed itself.

Bring back the quirky home-made tracks, race jackets and camaraderie we used to have!"

Derek "Benny the Leg" Benyon, Leicester, Leicestershire, England:  September 22, 2014

 

Recollections

29.

Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Thank you to Derek Benyon for sending the message below.

Derek (who rode for Blackley Flyers, Belle Vue Gladiators  and Lancashire Test Team) wrote:

Cycling and the Tram Tracks

Haymarket

"You've probably noticed there's quite a fuss being made about the danger posed to cyclists trying to deal with the single set of new tram lines outside Haymarket station.

While it would not be wise for me to comment on that, perhaps today's super cyclists might spare a thought for how us young bikers of the 1950s 'diced with the death threats' from the myriad of tram rails in the city and attempted to stay upright on the frequently wet causeys."

North Bridge

"Probably the most dangerous challenge was coming down the North Bridge towards Register House where a double set of tramlines went left to and from Princes Street and another lot went right towards Waterloo Place and Leith Street.

These can be seen in this photo."

Photo 1

Register House  -  at the East End of Princes Street  -  viewed from North Bridge

Looking down the tramlines from North Bridge to Register House

©  Reproduced by courtesy Lothian Buses plc

Photo 2

Register House  -  at the East End of Princes Street  -  viewed from North Bridge  -  zoom-in

Looking down the tramlines from North Bridge to Register House

©  Reproduced by courtesy Lothian Buses plc

"While these photos show the tracks for the cable cars, the electric tram tracks were in exactly the same place. I dare to suggest that trying to get your front wheel at the right angle to cross the maze of tram rails, watch the traffic and observe the policeman's white-gloved hand signals, was was a little bit more problematic than today's more straightforward task at Haymarket.

While I accept there was a dearth of traffic compared to today, we had cars, buses and lorries in the inside lane and trams and tram stops in the middle of the road - with passengers invariably jumping off into the path of young cyclists who applied their brakes at their peril."

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  28 October 2013

 

Recollections

Contributors

Davidson's Mains Cycling

Edinburgh Cycle Tracks

Around Edinburgh

 

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