CROYDON RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 4th December 1860
Final meeting: Wednesday 15th October 1890
Racing first took place in the Surrey town of Croydon on Croydon Common in 1841, although there was then a lapse before a more formal period of racing began in 1860. The first 2 day meeting was staged on Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th December 1860 when the Railway Stakes saw Harlequin beat Surprise, the Croydon Stand Plate went to Red Rover, and the Metropolitan to Johnny. The oval course was a mile and three furlongs in circumference, slightly downhill from the mile to 6 furlong marker, but then with an incline leading up to the winning post.  Joining the main course was the ‘Great Welcomes’ course extending to 12 furlongs. Steeplechase and Flat meetings took place for the next 30 years, although they were often blighted by the weather. In 1867, and again in 1869, meetings had to be constantly postponed due to snow and frost. The final 2 day meeting was held on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th October 1890 when the Welter Plate over 2 miles went to Mr Clover’s Sinfire who beat Minnedosa. The final Flat race saw Lamprey beat Jarretieres in the Welter Handicap.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Chevalier Ginistrelli, Lord Calthorpe, Captain Byrne
Principal Races Great Welcomes Handicap, Norwood Handicap, Welter Handicap

Wednesday 2nd April 1890

The Welter Handicap over a mile
1. The Vicar owned by General Byrne
2. St Thomas owned by Mr T Murphy
3. Sturton owned by Chevalier Ginistrelli

The Norwood Handicap over 6 furlongs
1. Lord Douglas owned by Mr G Reynolds
2. Jervaulx owned by Mr E Tattersall
3. Bonnie Glen owned by Mr F Smith

The Great Welcomes Handicap over 1 ¼ miles
1. Lady Rosebery owned by Mr Abington
2. Eaglesham owned by Mr W Stevenson
3. Brownie owned by Mr J B Burton

Tuesday 14th & Wednesday 15th October 1890

The Welter Plate over 2 miles
1. Sinfire owned by Mr Clover
2. Minnedosa owned by Lord Calthorpe
3. Harpagon owned by Mr St Maur

The Welter Handicap over a mile
1. Lamprey owned by Mr W Heasman
2. Jarretieres owned by Mr J McKenna
3. Sobriety owned by Mr T S Starkey
This was the final Flat race run at the course

Thanks are due to Gordon Garrity for the scan of these rarest of badges.

A very detailed 52 page booklet, written by Jim Beavis and published by Local History Publications , 316 Green Lane, Streatham, London. The booklet examines the history of races at Croydon from 1286 to the very last flat meeting held on 15th October 1890, and the very last National Hunt meeting held on 26th November 1890.

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 15th October 1890.
Course today An oval 1 mile 3 furlong course with an incline leading to the winning post.

The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

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 johnwslusar@gmail.com

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

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

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing johnwslusar@gmail.com stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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