SHIRLEY PARK RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 1st May 1899
Final meeting: Monday 11th March 1940
The Shirley area of Birmingham is in the south east district of the city and in the 18th century was barely more than a hamlet surrounded by beautiful countryside. In the late 19th century it came under the umbrella of Solihull, but in 1894 moved under the jurisdiction of Shirley Parish Council. One of their first actions was to approve the development of a mile and a half racecourse on Shirley Park on Monkspath Street, which was close to the important Stratford Road. The first meeting to be held at the new course was on Monday 1st May 1899, opening with the Henley Selling Hurdle which was won by Kippur. The meeting was a success and the next year the track was allocated four Monday meetings, the first of which was in March. Meetings continued to be well supported, although the quality of racing was not high, but it made up for that with quantity by ensuring that races were competitive. Although the course ceased to race after 1915 for the duration of the War, meetings were staged again in September 1919 and continued beyond the start of the Second World War. The final meeting under rules was held on Monday 11th March 1940, the appetite for trainers running their horses at the course had not diminished because 111 horses contested the six race programme. After the war ended thoroughbred racing did not return, but there was a change in management when the Kirkby Mallory Racecourse Company Ltd took charge of the course and concentrated on making it the premier pony racing track. The final pony race meeting was staged on Wednesday 4th November 1953.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain P Barnett
Principal Races Solihull Chase, Wood End Steeplechase, Tanworth Hurdle

Monday 29th March 1915
Foxhunters Handicap Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. Piper’s Bill, aged horse owned by Mr H A Weraber
2. King’s Colour, aged horse owned by Mr W H P Rees
3. Hesperus Magnus, aged horse owned by Mr David Faber
Betting: 6/4 Hesperus Magnus, 6/4 King’s Colour, 5/1 Piper’s Bill

However, Pony racing replaced National Hunt racing from 1947 to 1954, and a badge for the 1949 season is shown below.
The final meeting took place on Monday 11th March 1940.
Course today Little evidence of the previous existence of a racecourse in what is now Shirley Golf course.
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

Shirley Park 1949.JPG (29136 bytes) Shirley Park 1951.JPG (188220 bytes) Shirley 1949RE.JPG (49683 bytes)
1949 1949 1949
   
1949 1950    

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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