GAINSBOROUGH RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 19th August 1724
Final meeting: Monday 9th April 1866
The Lincolnshire town of Gainsborough lies on the River Trent and is located 18 miles north-west of Lincoln. It is famous for Gainsborough Old Hall which is one of the best preserved medieval mansions in the country. Thomas Burgh became the Lord of the Manor of Gainsborough in 1455 and is thought to have built the Old Hall in 1460. The earliest record of racing in the town was in 1724 when the Stamford Mercury advertised a 3 day meeting held on the North Marsh from Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st August 1724, details of which are shown below. Subscriptions for these early races were paid for at the White Hart who benefitted by offering stabling facilities and increased trade. Much later the town had its own racecourse in the mid-1800s which was located at the Trent Park ground and first held a 2 day meeting on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th September 1823.The feature race was the Gainsborough Stakes for Hunters over 2 miles on Thursday which went to Major Homes’s Cat. There was then a lapse in racing until a meeting in 1856, although once again it could not be sustained. A revival meeting took place on Friday 13th June 1862, attended by over 1000 people, when the Volunteer Stakes saw Birdlime, for Mr King, beat Lady Bird and Hetman. The later Hurdle race went to Flotilla, who defeated Violet and Liberality.  Racing was popular and well supported, with meetings continuing for 4 more years until a final card was staged on Monday 9th April 1866.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain Sandars, Mr P Barnard & Mr T H Oldham (Stewards)
Principal Races Gainsborough Stakes, Tradesmen’s Purse, Volunteer Stakes

The newspaper extract below is shown courtesy of the Stamford Mercury and British Newspaper Online.

Friday 13th June 1862
Gainsborough Tradesmen’s Purse
1. Birdlime, bay gelding owned by Mr King
2. Liberality, brown mare owned by Mr Price
3. Alerte, bay mare owned by Mr Dix

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Monday 9th April 1866.

Course today Initially on the North Marsh and later on Trent Park.
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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