Trot along to Springfield Park

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When Springfield Park was built in 1897 the architect ‘s plans show it had a trotting track skirting its perimeter. As well as the football pitch it was also used by the local athletics club as it also had a concrete cycle track and a half mile running track. In its early years Springfield Park was a very popular sporting location so much so as on 7 July 1906 the Wigan County Police held its Annual Sports event there.

This ‘Youtube ‘ trotting film is part of the renowned Mitchell and Kenyon collection –

The modern day narrative is by fanatical West Bromwich Albion supporter and ‘Match of the Day 2 ‘ presenter, Adrian Chiles.

It is a visual historical record documenting everyday life in Wigan during Edwardian Britain. It shows a trotting race on the cinder track at Springfield Park which took place on the 20 June 1904. It was the £100 scratch race, held by the Wigan Trotting and Athletic Company, operating under the Northern Trotting Association rules.

The clip only shows three horses with their respective jockey ‘s presumably these are: ‘General White ‘ who was guided home to the winning post by the premier English trotting jockey George Wiltshire; ‘Wigwag ‘, the favourite, came in second place due to Mitchell ‘s lack of skill on the turns and in third place ‘Grace Greenlander ‘ ridden by Charnock.

The ‘Tote ‘ betting boards show the winner along with the two of the leading bookmakers of the time James Macmillan of Glasgow and Tom Terry.

As well as the style of Edwardian dress in is also interesting to note some of the background panning shots as they show both terraced housing and open fields bordered by lines trees. Also in one of the first clips there is a horse at the side of a pond on the inside of the track.

There is a 1900 circa map on the YOTAC Springfield Park Memorial site that shows the ground and trotting track

If compared to a modern day Google map it looks as though the trotting track stand is on the Ingram Street side and the terraced housing shown in the film is that located in the vicinity of Third Avenue, Cecil Avenue or Manning Avenue.

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