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Earliest meeting: Friday 14th June 1895
Final meeting: Monday 21st June 1965

The first race meeting to take place at the Bromford Bridge track in Birmingham, close to the A38 Tyburn Road, was a two day meeting on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June 1895. A galloping course with a right-handed running line, the course was an oval shaped circuit of 11 furlongs with a five furlong straight. There was a straight mile available for events up to that distance which was described as 'dead flat'. The inaugural race, the Midland Welter Handicap over a mile and a quarter, was won by Philology owned by Mr G F Fawcett, while the Newport Stakes the next day went to Barbary. To claim that Birmingham races centred on Bromford Bridge would be wrong, for in this edition alone there are at least 30 tracks which held races in the vicinity of the city, but Bromford Bridge was closest to the city centre. At the turn of the century the first two day meeting was staged on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th April 1900 when the card opened with the Holiday Plate which was won by Mr W Duke’s Petersfield II. The Birmingham Spring Handicap, over a mile and a half, went to Lord Radnor’s Blumenaue, while the Cheveley Park Plate was won by Kleon. The ‘Birmingham Boys’ were a vicious gang operating on racecourses around this time but, for some reason, they left the Bromford Bridge course to prosper. However, trouble from an unlikely source did materialise when the suffragettes burned down the stands in 1914. Racing ceased during the hostilities of the Second World War, the course being used for military purposes, but racing returned after the war had ended. Built on such prime development land, the course had to justify its place by attracting large crowds, and increasingly this became a challenge. In 1964 the Birmingham Corporation made an offer for the land on which the racecourse stood and the management deemed the offer too good to refuse. The final meeting took place on Monday 21st June 1965, when Lester Piggott rode a double on Selly Oak and London Way.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Radnor, Lord Herbert
Principal Races

Birmingham Spring Handicap, Champion Hurdle Trial, City of Birmingham Cup

Saturday 15th June 1895
The Aston Villa Plate over 5 furlongs
1. Posados, 5 year old owned by Captain H T Fenwick
2. Stone Bow, 2 year old owned by Mr E J Hobbs
3. La Brenne, 3 year old owned by Mr R Lebaudy
Betting: 5/4 Posados, 7/4 La Brenne, 5/1 Stone Bow

I am grateful to Roy Hirons for the vast majority of photos and pictures shown in this section.

An early 20th century Steeplechase result
Saturday 27th January 1900
Birmingham Grand Annual Steeplechase over 2 miles

1. Coragh Hill (100/9) owned by Mr J Lonsdale and ridden by Mr C Garnett
2. Ledessan (5/2) owned by Mr H M Wilson and ridden by Clack
3. Barsac (100/9) owned by Mr C A Brown and ridden by Mr M Bletsoe

The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.
The 1926 map above shows location of the racecourse Grateful thanks to Andy Doherty for the map scan.
'Hometime' from an early 20th century meeting A 1939 aerial photograph of the course

The photo opposite, shown courtesy of Roy Hirons, is of 1949 Grand National winner Russian Hero contesting a steeplechase at Birmingham. The full result of that Grand National is available on this site; the leading contenders being:-
Saturday 26th March 1949
Aintree Grand National

1. Russian Hero ridden by L McMorrow
2. Roimond ridden by Dick Francis
3. Royal Mount ridden by P Doyle
4. Cromwell owned and ridden by Lord Mildmay


Monday 21st June 1965
Chesterton Apprentice Plate over 1 mile

1. Morris Dancer (6/5 fav) ridden by Tommy Weston
2. Desist (9/4) ridden by P Graham
3. Singing in the Rain (20/1) ridden by A Skeoch
Warwickshire 2-y-o Plate over 6 furlongs
1. Golden Beige (9/1) ridden by Brian Taylor
2. Badedas (10/1) ridden by C Moss
3. Crocus (4/9 fav) ridden by Lester Piggott
Letherby & Christopher Handicap Stakes over 1 mile
1. London Way (9/2) ridden by Lester Piggott
2. Free Boy (4/1 fav) ridden by J Roe
3. Fairmont (8/1) ridden by D Letherby
Bromford Handicap Plate over 5 furlongs
1. Selly Oak (11/8 fav) ridden by Lester Piggott
2. Abbot’s Quill ridden by T Sturrock
3. Gratel (3/1) ridden by Brian Taylor
Henley-in-Arden Plate over 1 mile
1. Penisola (9/1) ridden by Stan Clayton
2. Red Hot (100/8) ridden by Greville Starkey
3. Bomby (3/1) ridden by Lester Piggott
Farewell Plate over 5 furlongs
1. Welshman (11/2) ridden by Greville Starkey
2. Philistine (6/4 fav) ridden by R P Elliott
3. Peintre Bleu (25/1) ridden by C Moss

The final meeting took place on Monday 21st June 1965, when Lester Piggott rode a double. The sketch of Lester shown below is by Roy Hirons.

Lester Piggott first raced at Birmingham racecourse on Monday 1st November 1848 in the Apprentice Stakes aboard Wishing Cup, finishing unplaced behind Lochaber (100/6) ridden by B Gillette.
He ended his association with Birmingham racecourse 17 years later on a high note, riding a double at the Farewell evening meeting on Monday 21st June 1965, although he was beaten on an odds-on shot Crocus (4/9 fav) in the Warwickshire Two-year-old Plate earlier in the evening.
Despite this he won the Letherby & Christopher Handicap Stakes over 1 mile aboard London Way (9/2), and completed his double in the Bromford Handicap Plate over 5 furlongs aboard Selly Oak (11/8 fav).

The former racecourse is today covered by a housing estate and shops close to the infamous motorway road network nicknamed ‘spaghetti junction’. The pictures shown opposite and above reveal that the former winning post and paddock are still very much in evidence.

If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

Official 1896 1897 1898
1899 1899 1900 1901
1901 1903 1912 1921
1923 1927 1934 1936
1937 Ladies 1938 Ladies 1938 Gents 1939 Ladies
1939 Complimentary 1939 1940 Ladies
1946 1952 1954 1958
1959 1960 1960 1961
1962 1963    

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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