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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 16th June 1829
Final meeting: Saturday 18th April 1896
Racing first began at Parkgate, a village of about 3000 on the Wirral Peninsula in Cheshire on the River Dee, on Tuesday 16th June 1829 when the Wirral Cup was won by Mr Herbert’s Julia. The racecourse was an oval and covered the length of Parkgate on land known as Park Fields, extending from the area called the Leighton Boundary on one side through to Wood Lane on the northern part of the course. Racing continued intermittently for a further 50 years, but the year 1881 was important in the history of Parkgate. In that year the races took place on Saturday 9th April 1881 and were organised by the Wirral Hunt Club who established the Parkgate Steeplechase. The races were renamed Wirral Hunt Steeplechases despite taking place on the Parkgate Racecourse, but they suffered from unruly behaviour and drunkenness over time, and finally came to an end on Saturday 18th April 1896. The Wirral Hunt group then moved their races to Hooton Park for the 1897 meeting.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Wirral Hunt Club, Mr J J Houghton, Mr H Nicholson (Steward)

Principal Races Parkgate Steeplechase, Wirral Hunt Steeplechase, Wirral Farmers Chase

Saturday 22nd April 1882
Wirral Hunt Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. Sir Harry, 5 year old owned by Mr T Johnson
2. Miss Martin, aged mare owned by Mr A Comerford
3. Kitten, aged mare owned by Mr A D Chambers
Betting: 6/4 Miss Martin, 3/1 Sir Harry, 3/1 Kitten

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

The final meeting was held on Saturday 18th April 1896.

Course today The oval course was on Park Fields, and later on the Estate owned by Mr J J Houghton.
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

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 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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  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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