The final phase of the historic Herne Hill Velodrome’s renovation comes to fruition this month with the official opening of the new Exodus Travels Pavilion set to take place on 30th March and a public launch to follow this summer. The new pavilion marks a successful and emotional end to the third stage of the Save the Velodrome campaign following previous initiatives to rebuild the main track, develop a kids track and implement floodlights – all having the combined impact of doubling track usage numbers since 2012.
The completion of the pavilion is the final step to securing the future of the former 1948 London Olympic venue for generations of champions to come, over 125-years since the track first opened. With local dignitaries and cycling celebrities in attendance, including Baroness Tessa Jowell, MP Helen Hayes, and London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross, the opening of the new pavilion marks a golden phase for the Velodrome with a busy weekend of racing to cap it off.
The completed pavilion, thanks to the crucial funding of Sport England and London Marathon Charitable Trust, alongside Southwark Council and the London Mayor, is a brilliant development and restores the venue to its former glory.
Charles Johnston, Director of Property at Sport England, said: “We are delighted to provide £750,000 of National Lottery funding to help deliver this fantastic pavilion. Already famous for its 450 metre cycle track, the new pavilion will help positon the velodrome as a first-class venue ideal for everyone in the local community and beyond, and cater for both keen cyclists as well as those who are new to the sport. We look forward to the next exciting chapter in the story of this 1948 Olympic cycling venue and congratulate all involved.”
“Having been fortunate enough to have had a hand in delivering the 2012 Velodrome we wanted to help ensure the continued success of London’s already famous historic track at Herne Hill,” explained architect Mike Taylor, Hopkins Architects. “The combination of these two very different venues provides a great synergy for track cycling in London.”
Their vision was to retain Herne Hill’s unique green character but at the same time improve circulation, utilise otherwise dead space, and provide state of the art facilities.
The new pavilion, which is similar in scale to its predecessor, boasts a load bearing timber structure but retains a sense of historical continuity by utilising six of the original 1890’s decorated cast iron columns to support the grandstand roof.
The new accommodation comprises changing rooms, first aid room, toilets and a coaches’ office at ground-floor level, and a generously sized club room overlooking the entire site at first floor. This upper level, which is accessed from the top of the grandstand and provides panoramic views around the track, has a kitchen, servery and meeting room which can also be hired out for community use. Behind the pavilion a tensile fabric canopy between the bike storage units creates a versatile year round covered space for outdoor activities.
In tandem with the physical renovation, the long term future of this illustrious sporting venue is now secured for a further 99 years thanks to the support of the land owners The Dulwich Estate, and their working relationship with British Cycling.
Hillary Peachey, Chairman of the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust, expressed her gratitude to all those that helped make this happen. “It has been a long journey, but I am immensely proud of how the community came together, matched by the generosity of our funders, the project team, the local residents.” A recent crowdfunder organized by the Friends of the HHV raised £89,000 in just two weeks to fit out the new pavilion.
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust was also able to secure the long-term stability of the velodrome working alongside Female Sports Group, with Exodus Travels recently announced as the official sponsor of the new pavilion. The agreement will drive new and additional participation to the site, and the over 50’s group was identified as a growing target audience in cycling. As well as supporting the increase in users to the site, Exodus Travels will be sponsoring the current Vets session, also supporting Sport England’s strategic outcomes as part of their Towards an Active Nation strategy.
The official stakeholders of the velodrome are the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust, British Cycling, The Dulwich Estate, and Friends of Herne Hill Velodrome. The funders include Sport England, The London Marathon Charitable Trust, Southwark Council and the Mayor of London.