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Calcutta, now Kolkata, located on the west bank of the Hooghly River, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Prior to Calcutta becoming the important city it is today, in the late 17th century it was just three small villages ruled by the Nawab of Bengal. However, in 1690 the Nawab granted a trading licence to the East India Company and the area developed rapidly. It took almost a century before the East India Trading Company became sufficiently strong enough to assume control of trading throughout a wider region, so that in 1911, under the British Raj, Calcutta became the acknowledged capital of the British held territories of India. There is strong evidence to suggest that racing first took place in the region around Calcutta as early as 1794. The first site for races was at Akra Farm, although facilities and track layout were severely limited.

Although there was a period, between 1798 and the early years of the 19th century, when no racing took place due to a ban on wagering, by 1803 the Bengal Jockey Club was formed. It was some six years after this, in 1809, that the venue shifted to Maidan and facilities started to improve throughout the next 11 years, with a grandstand being built in 1820.

In England at this time, in order to boost finances, subscribers tokens could be purchased which gave the subscriber access to the course, normally for life. Such a scheme was run at the Calcutta course when subscribers could purchase a Silver Medallion which gave him and his family access to the stands.

By 1847 all groundwork had been completed for the formation of Calcutta Turf Club under the directorship of Mr J P McKillingaan. A year later the club had a visiting dignitary in the form of the Prince of Wales. The club could rightly call itself the Royal Calcutta Turf Club because the Prince eventually became King Edward VII.

Gradually the English course Chairmen and Directors were replaced with Indian citizens, notably in 1908 when Sir Bejoy Mehtab of Burdwan was elected as a member of the Club. Today the Club is as strong as ever and is housed in the former home of the Apcar family. The racecourse boasts wonderful viewing facilities in its 3 grandstands, where the main pavilion has three tiers, while across the road from the grandstand is the Victoria Memorial monument celebrating the life of Queen Victoria.

For further information and research on badges and tokens it is worth linking to

Course today The racecourse continues to operate very successfully.
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

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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