One of the UK’s most historic cycling venues, Herne Hill velodrome, has re-opened with the support of British Cycling, following the completion of a new pavilion at the site.
The new pavilion includes a function room with a viewing gallery, a bar and refreshment area, bike storage facilities and a new grandstand with bench seating. Grants from Sport England, the London Marathon Trust, Southwark Council and £100,000 from the Mayor of London’s Sports Facilities Fund helped make the pavilion possible with the project being given the green light following agreement between British Cycling and the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust.
Built in 1891, the velodrome at Herne Hill has welcomed some of the world’s greatest cyclists, as well as playing host to thousands of aspiring riders. The iconic venue first came under threat in 2001 but was maintained by British Cycling and Velo Club Londres until 2010 when local residents launched a campaign to save the velodrome for future generations.
That campaign would become the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust and an initial 15-year lease ensured funding could be obtained to fully refurbish the track in 2011. British Cycling committed £500,000 to the project through its Sport England investment, while a financial bequest was also left to British Cycling by Leonard Lyes, a lifelong supporter of Herne Hill.
Further funding from Southward Council in 2013 saw the installation of trackside lighting, a multi-use games area and a brand new junior track, with these improvements leading to a huge rise in participation at the venue.
Herne Hill Velodrome Trust will now take over the day to day operation of the track, including working with the clubs that already support and use the venue.
British Cycling’s head of facility development, John Mills, said: “I’m delighted to see Herne Hill re-opened. The venue has a long and proud history and the new facilities will ensure that the next chapter in Herne Hill’s history builds on everything that has been achieved since it first opened 125 years ago.
“The fact that we are here today is a huge testament to the passionate people who have been involved in the venue over the last few years. Without their support and hard work Herne Hill could have been lost and I would like to thank everybody who has made a contribution, whether big or small, who has played a part in getting us where we are today.
“Facilities like Herne Hill have a huge role to play in getting more people on bikes and I believe the facility’s legacy will be thousands of people enjoying riding their bike.”