SOUTH SHIELDS RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 3rd June 1816
Final meeting: Tuesday 29th May 1855
The coastal town of South Shields is on the mouth of the River Tyne in Tyne and Wear, some 5 miles from Newcastle. It has existed since Roman times and today has a population exceeding 80,000. It benefitted from coal mining in the area in the 19th century and first held races on Whit Monday 3rd June 1816, immediately followed by a second meeting on Whit Monday 15th May 1826 on South Shields Sands. A more prolonged spell of racing began in the 1830s, while in 1840 the meeting had extended to three days, beginning on Monday 8th June when the Borough Plate over 2 miles was won by Mr J Clark’s Auckland who beat Antisthenes. Exactly the same result occurred when the Tyne Plate was contested the next day, while on the concluding day, Wednesday 10th June, the Railway Plate went to Mr Gray’s Uriah. A terrible incident, known as the Donnybrook Riots, took place at the two day Whit meeting on Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th May 1855 after racing had ended. There were several beer tents, but two in particular were adjacent to each other and contained separate groups of Irishmen. One of the tents was run by a Publican James Roe from the Castle Garth area of Newcastle. A fight started between the two groups which ended in a riot, with one man killed and at least 30 others seriously injured. It is not surprising that racing lapsed in the town after this incident. Towards the end of the 19th century Sunderland and South Shields races took place at Bolden Flats.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr John Straker (Steward), Mr Richard Bowman (Clerk of the Course), Mr J.Clark, Mr Gray
Principal Races South Shields Members Plate, Tyne Plate, Railway Handicap Plate, Borough Plate

Monday 8th to Wednesday 10th June 1840

The Borough Plate over 2 miles
1. Auckland owned by Mr J.Clark
2. Antisthenes owned by Mr Watson

South Shields Members Plate
1. Auckland owned by Mr J.Clark
2. Freckle owned by Mr Todd
3. Uriah owned by Mr Gray
4. Antisthenes owned by Mr Watson

The Tyne Plate over 2 miles
1. Auckland owned by Mr J.Clark
2. Antisthenes owned by Mr Watson

The Railway Handicap Plate
1. Uriah owned by Mr Gray
2. Antisthenes owned by Mr Watson

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 29th May 1855.
Course today On South Shields Sands.
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.
ORDER FORM
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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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Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com