South London’s Herne Hill Velodrome reopened today following a £500,000 revamp. The Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, unveiled a state-of-the-art new track built with funding from British Cycling and money left in the will of Leonard Lyes. The Herne Hill stalwart had requested the cash be spent “in the pursuit of track cycling”.
The 120-year-old velodrome, which is one of the last remaining finals venues from the 1948 Olympic Games still in active use, had fallen into disrepair in recent years. But British Cycling reached an agreement with landowners The Dulwich Estate earlier this year and restoration work began this summer.
British Cycling president Brian Cookson said: “Getting a longer-term lease in place was essential in terms of our ability to invest in the new track and make best use of the generous donation from Leonard Lyes. I’m sure he’ll be looking down today with a smile on his face – we know Herne Hill was close to his heart and this new track will mean it can continue to bring the joy and excitement of cycling to the whole community for many years to come.”