1888-1890 • Annual evening meetings
at the SLH grounds
By the time Belgrave's second anniversary arrived the future looked assured. Membership continued to increase and the Club survived the rapid switching of membership prevalent at that time. Smoking concerts were now a regular feature of club life and the social side was further improved by the provision of 'meat teas' after many Saturday runs. The Club had also established the first of their annual evening meetings at the SLH grounds at Oldridge Road, Balham.
The early meetings were for club members only and the events were 100 yards, 1 mile run and 1 mile walk. The sprint usually required at least six heats and semi finals. The event became so popular that it was soon switched to Stamford Bridge and in 1898 an open 880 yards was introduced, attracting 65 entries from the leading Southern clubs.
The enthusiasm of Edwards and the generosity of Morton Carr the President had played a large part in this early success but it was difficult to keep the club solvent. Good quality prizes were the order of the day and runners soon got to know which clubs provided the best prizes for their handicap events. The prize fund was the principal account of these clubs and donors were constantly being sought from both within and without the club. The first two years had been very successful for this 'Junior' club but there were many rocky rides ahead.
1890 saw the S.C.C.C.A. give further recognition to the second class clubs by deciding to hold the 'Senior' and 'Junior' event at the same time – with the proviso that the second-class runners started 50 yards to the rear of the main field. This produced an interesting spectacle; the second group of starters being twice the size of the first. The opportunity to prove their worth was grabbed with enthusiasm by the minor clubs and the two fields soon merged. The experiment was not repeated!
Right: A.H.N. Edwards' interest in the music hall ran parallel to his enthusiasm for athletics. His Smoking Concerts began in 1883 and ran at least until 1897 as shown by the programme above.