Return to Correspondence

Correspondence 2013

December 22nd, 2013

From Alan K Tillman Wing Commander RAF (rtd):- What a magnificent website. Congratulations for setting the standard other historical sites should aim for. My query concerns the whereabouts of the RAF telephone exchange in Newmarket up to the end of the 1960s and possibly later.

For many years, the majority of military (that means all three-armed services) telephone calls from beyond East Anglia for the eastern military bases east of Cambridge would be routed through RAF Newmarket using a manual plug and socket arrangement connecting them to their final destination.

It is very likely that a similar arrangement would have existed for teleprinter messages until the introduction of automatic telegraph routeing apparatus in to early ’60s. I would expect there to have been an RAF Signals Unit close to Newmarket employing some RAF staff and some civilian staff on a 24/7/365 shift basis. I have tried to identify the location of this facility and so far been unsuccessful.

Do you or any of your colleagues have any knowledge of this facility which was quite important to the command and control of our military staff perhaps through the war and certainly through the era of the V-force in the region? I would be grateful for you assistance in this matter.

We have had previous correspondence on this subject, see Nov/Dec 2011 and Oct 2012, also the page The RAF in Wartime Newmarket (select from the site Index). Our correspondent has been informed (webmaster)

November 28th, 2013

From Guy Lapaille (see also October 31st and November 21st below)
Regarding the Short Stirling BF513 coded AA-E – We are unfortunately always without the slightest photo of this bomber. Its most visible distinguishing feature is letters AA-E painted in red behind the fuselage. Would It be possible, via your site to launch a request to the population to find a photo of this bomber? Thanks already

November 21st, 2013

From Russell Mathieson: – I am writing from New Zealand. I came across your Newmarket History website while researching information about my cousin, P/O Donald McCaskill who was the pilot of the Stirling shot down near Regniessart on 14/15 April 1943.

I thought you might be interested in some attached pages I’ve scanned from Donald McCaskill’s Pilot’s logbook, including sketches he’s made of a Wellington and a Stirling. I was brought up with the story that Donald had managed to keep his plane aloft long enough for the crew to bail and when reading a 75 Squadron history several years ago was quite stunned to find that the whole crew had in fact perished.

Donald was the son of my great-uncle, Gordon McCaskill, who was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the New Zealand Army who served in Egypt and also in Japan after its surrender. I look forward to discovering more about other members of the Stirling bomber crew.

Thanks for that Russell, we have a particular interest in No 75 Squadron owing to its time at Newmarket. As a boy living near Newmarket in 1943, I can well remember the Wellingtons and Stirling’s carrying out their circuits while landing or taking off from Newmarket Heath. It is likely that one of them was piloted by Sgt McCaskill.

I expect you have read the correspondence on our website and in particular that from the Belgian gentleman Guy Lapaille who has done much research into the last flight of P/O McCaskill and his crew (see below). They were indeed all very brave men, who must have experienced fear but had to conquer it night after night, and so young to be in charge of these great war machines after relatively short periods of training. It is very poignant to see copies of the Pilot Officer’s log book and the sketches he made of the aircraft types they can be viewed on this site at “The RAF in Newmarket” (webmaster).

October 31st, 2013

From Guy LAPAILLE 23, Rue du Château B 5670 VIROINVAL (Belgium)

I allow to contact you concerning research for information, for contacts, for documents and for photos about the history of the bomber Short Stirling BF513 coded AA-E shot down on April 15th, 1943, in Belgium, in the Forest of Nismes, near the hamlet of Regniessart.  This bomber was based at Newmarket at this time.

My approach joins in an enquiry formulated by the Municipality of Viroinval; the information, the testimonies and the photos being intended to feed the exposures and the diverse activities which will be programmed, from 2014, within the framework of the remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the 1st world war and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

You will find, in attachment, the documents which I was able to gather by means of the Museum of the Air of Brussels. The Bomber was shot down during a raid on Stuttgart on April 15th, 1943, at 02:25 am by Lt. Fritz GRAEF of I. / NJG 4 based to Florennes. The crew which 3 New Zealanders always rests in the municipal cemetery of Florennes:


I may ask you to open an entry on your blog about this bomber hoping that members of your group can enrich our documentation and help us, maybe to find descendants of the members of this crew. Thank you already for the help which you can, I hope for it, bring me.

Tony Pringle has pointed out that there is an active 75 Squadron Association group in existence and their website gives more details of this aircraft and its crew. See also an entry on these pages dated 20th May 2006 (webmaster)

Late September 2013

A local resident has enquired about private schools in Newmarket in the nineteen twenties.

Geoffrey Woollard, went to Fairlawn Kindergarten school in the 1940s. It is probably safe to assume that the school was in existence in the twenties.

He says: “Both my wife, Sue (née Day, born 1940). and I (born 1938) went to what was then called Fairlawn (no ‘s’) in the mid to late-1940s. I left in 1949. The school was kept by the Misses Hardwicke – Gertie and May – and I recall other teachers as Miss Howfield, Miss Winter, Mlle Raymond, Miss Bell ….”

The 1937 Kelly’s Directory (which I have) lists not only Miss Gertrude M. Hardwicke, girls’ school, Fairlawn, High Street, but also and interestingly, another school that I had not before heard of, Sussex School, (Miss A.M. Roger, principal), Fordham Road.

(The latter would have been at Sussex House) and David Rippington has supplied this information:
1936 Newmarket Directory Old Station Road Connaught House School Hindell, Mrs Florence E.M. Connaught House is still in Old Station Road next to the entrance of Rous Road. Post Office Directory of Cambridgeshire, 1879 – Newmarket Kerry Emma Maria (Miss), ladies school, St. Mary’s Square.

Another school listed in 1896 Kelly’s – Ennion Fanny O. (Miss) ladies’ school, Denson Terrace (Rous Road).
I am also informed that the precursor to Newmarket Grammar School was Glenwood College School up to 1920

and from Sandra Easom: I think I am correct in saying that All Saints (existing) has certainly only ever been a primary school. The same applies to St Mary’s School (no longer existing).

September 2013

We have had an enquiry from a teacher who is doing a project with her young class. about how people were employed in a local village in the past.

I have copies of census sheets carried out by Woodditton school children around 1952 giving occupations of residents. They gave a fascinating insight into how so much has changed from manual labour type jobs to the machine age and service industries of today.

The 1950s represented a pivotal decade in that the pre-war way of life was changing fast, with things such as personal transport and TV becoming more widely available. The privacy laws and data protection would prevent anything like a door-to-door census by children being carried out today.

I doubt that there would be much difference between the villages near to Newmarket and to give you a rough idea Agriculture and Racing were the main employers, although jobs like roadmen and railway workers were often listed. Villages were far more self-supporting with local trades such as carpenters, painters, barbers, shoe menders, bricklayers, innkeepers, policemen, shopkeepers, teachers all residing and working within the village (webmaster).

September 15th, 2013

From John Brown:- I recently found your web site which I have read with interest. I was born at Warren Place in 1938 (now part of Godolphin racing establishment). My Father and Mother worked for Sam Darling then the trainer. Several generations of the family worked at Moulton Paddocks. My Grandfather being head Gardener and Forester. Uncle the Gamekeeper. At that time it was owned by the Joel family.

Of interest is the role of the Big house at Moulton Paddocks during the war. It was taken over by the army and there is some questions as to what it was used for. It was burnt down towards the end of the war and never rebuilt.

The wife of one of the MPs stationed there in the war lodged with my grandmother and we remained friends until his death a few years ago. It was suggested that it was very secret, and the MP could never tell us much about it decades after the war ended. Late in his life he did mention that he hoped they do not dig up the swimming pool.

There was an article a few years back in the Spectator magazine about a clandestine operation run out of Moulton Paddocks. I have tried to find out more but without any luck. Do you have anything on Moulton Paddocks during the war. I look forward to your reply with interest.

An interesting query. Some very strange things went on during the war, some of which are only just coming to light, others are buried in their mists of time, the people involved having passed on.

Tony Pringle has contributed this reply extracted from the Godolphin website (webmaster)
“The Moulton Paddocks estate, located just outside Newmarket beside the road to Bury St Edmunds, was developed in the 19th century by Sir Ernest Cassell, the Anglo/German banker and racehorse breeder who numbered King Edward VII, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and Winston Churchill among his close friends.

Over 100 men were employed full-time for the upkeep of the estate and the King, one of horseracing’s greatest patrons, often stayed at Moulton Paddocks on his visits to Newmarket. The estate was renowned for staging shooting parties. Moulton Paddocks was also home for a time to one of the greatest racehorses of the 19th century, Ormonde. The unbeaten 1886 Triple Crown hero spent 1889 at the estate’s stud as a stallion.

Following Sir Edward Cassell’s death in 1921, another well-known owner and breeder, Solly Joel, bought Moulton Paddocks and used it as a training establishment. Walter Earl was the trainer and both Eclipse winner Polyphontes and Goodwood Cup hero Glonmen emerged from the yard. Solly Joel, who died in 1931, in turn willed Moulton Paddocks to his son, Dudley Joel, who ran Moulton Paddocks as a sporting estate.

The high level of maintenance and renewal instituted by Sir Edward Cassell was not continued and Moulton Paddocks started to fall into disrepair. Dudley Joel’s passing in 1941 saw his brother and sister inherit the estate and the house was requisitioned by the military during World War II, with Eastern Command and 35 Tank setting up their headquarters there.

By 1950, the house had been demolished, but the Moulton Paddocks estate continued its association with horseracing thanks to the inauguration of the first Newmarket point-to-point meeting in 1948. These meetings, staged over jumps, were run by the local hunts and took place on the estate up until 1974″.

Tony adds:
As to what went on during the war, the country then had an admirable policy of not letting the world know what we were doing, unlike today when the press inform our enemies when and where we will be arriving. I reckon it will be nigh on impossible to find out what went on. Military leaders were not always daft enough to record or leave records of what they were up to, very sensibly distrusting politicians.

September 10th, 2013

From Tessa West:- I’m a writer working on a novel set in and around Bury St Edmunds, in 1916-1920. I’m trying to discover whether there were any German POWs in the area. I see from the Foxearth and District extracts from the Suffolk and Essex Free Press (October 3rd, 1917) “Two Hun prisoners who escaped from Kedington camp were secured on Monday”. I’d welcome any information you have about POWs held locally.

We know of local POW Camps during WW II but so far we do not have such knowledge about the Great.War. There were such large numbers of prisoners involved that it is likely that the majority were not held in this country (webmaster)

Tony Pringle writes: I wish the lady luck, but there is very little recorded about WW1 cages. There is a list of WW2 PoW camps in UK, but none of WW1. Maybe the International Red Cross in Switzerland can help. They are usually slow but helpful.

August 13th, 2013

from Louise Mangles :- I’m trying to find out the origins of the name ‘The Severals’ in Newmarket. Help please!

This reply from Tony Pringle. : – From the time of the Enclosures (mid 17th C) …In each of the two waves of enclosure, two different processes were used. One was the division of the large open fields and meadows into privately controlled plots of land, usually hedged and known at the time as severals. In the course of enclosure, the large fields and meadows were divided and common access restricted. Most open-field manors in England were enclosed in this manner.

The term is by no means confined to Newmarket, that is for sure. It is the name of some salmon pools on the Hampshire Avon as well.  It appears to refer to land owned separately by an individual, rather than common land. When this came about in Newmarket is hard to say, but quite probably when Charles first started grabbing land in Newmarket.

August 2013

We have had an enquiry from the National Horseracing Museum about Hammond’s Garage which once occupied the site on Rutland Hill now taken up by TK Max.

Some Correspondence about Hammonds appears in the entries of 19th September 2003, 16th October 2003 and 19th December 2006.

A P (Percy) Hammond ran a successful garage and horse transport business from the Rutland Hill site. He was also a well-recognized designer and builder of horse boxes, using several different makes of commercial vehicle chassis.

After the Great War this was the Rutland Garage and Livery Stables so Percy Hammond must have started his business about 1927. His daughter Anne ran a riding school from there I believe and later moved to Stetchworth.

Hammonds was still going in the 1950s, but it finished when Mr Hammond died in 1965, Waitrose used the site for their supermarket in the 1970s (webmaster and David Rippington)

July 29th, 2013

From Jane Simpson:- I am writing to you in hope that one of your researchers may have got or know of someone that can help me. I am researching my husband’s family tree ‘The Simpsons’. Ok I know the name is very common in the area, but we have got little bits of info, whether true or not who knows.

Joseph Simpson B1841 in Denston… Married Sarah Anne Foreman in Risbridge, in the latter part of 1861 (Oambridge Daily News)

We were always led to believe that he was a builder with reputation and built a lot of Newmarket. We have also seen a photograph of a shop front, with baskets hanging outside and were told that the shop was owned by another Simpson relative. For the life of me I am unable to recall any more and of course the photo has never been seen again.

This couple had 14 children born from 1861-1883 and one of the younger ones Joseph H. Simpson is rumoured to have lost a lot of the family’s assets. I wonder if there is anything historically that could be added to the above and if any of your colleagues knew of anything. Thanking you in advance of any help you may be able to give.

Tony Pringle has provided this information: So many Simpsons and not all related. I cannot even find definitive details of Frank Simpson who rode 17 winners of the Town Plate between the wars (some were walk-overs) He was 2nd in 1932 at the age of 78 !.. Simpsons were electrical engineers, stationers, printers, iron mongers all manner of trades but I had not come across a builder until your email
That Harry Simpson was born in Denston in 1852 so it is a trail worth following.
SIMPSON, Harry Head Married M 39 1852 Builder Denston, Suffolk.

Response from Jane: –
There is just one more question – Frank Robert Simpson b.1879 and his wife Agnes Cole lived in St. Philips Road in a property called Montague House. I have used Google street view to look at the street but am not able to tell if there is currently a house with that name in the street. Do you or anyone else know if it is still standing? Frank Robert Simpson was a cashier and ended up as the Bank Manager at Barclays bank in Newmarket (We have a silver salver that was presented to him when he retired. Is there anything written down to confirm this?

August 5th, 2013

Further response from Jane :-
Thank you for all that info. I have looked at the details I have and yes, we have a Henry Simpson born in 1852, but I don’t have any further details about him. Maybe that is something for me to look into.

The builder we have is Joseph Simpson b. 1841 The ironmongers seems like it could be us as I said I have seen a photo of the family stood outside a shop that could quite easily be an ironmongery, it had baskets hanging up outside.

and August 9th, 2013

from Julie Gerber :- With Ref. to the enquiry about Joseph Simpson and family:

He was a bricklayer in 1861, son of Joseph a Sawyer and Harriett Simpson of Wickhambrook. Later lived in Bakers Row, St. Marys, Newmarket, with Sarah and his family. In Census 1881 he is a Master Bricklayer employing four men. In 1901 he was a builder still living at the same place but had taken over two of the properties.

At least two of his sons were Bricklayers On his Death in 1905, Probate was granted to William Foreman Simpson, Builder and surprisingly, John Flatman, Architect- son-in-Law (?.) Joseph also had a brother Henry a Bricklayer, living 1881 in Bath Terrace, close by.

I also found the son Joseph in 1911 Census, he was definitely a Cashier at Barclays Bank. If this lady would like to see these details, I would suggest she take out either a months subscription to one of the well known websites.

July 17th, 2013

From June Pickard: – I wonder if you could give me any information on how a young man, in the late 1800’s, from Shoreditch London (Walter Pickard known as Wally Picard and sometimes Louis D’or) could become a stableboy/jockey in Newmarket and Chantilly in France and go on to become a known boxer in England in the early 1900’s.

Was there a system of recruiting boys from London? I have heard that the stableboys were trained to fight in their spare time. Thank you in advance for any information or advice you can give me as to where I can find this information.

We suggest that the Astley Institute at Newmarket may be your best bet. It was originally set up for the welfare of Stable lads by Sir John Astley and encouraged boxing in the past. They may well have records.

I have copied this from our archives: “Sir John also founded the Astley Institute for stablemen. Many wealthy owners were unconcerned about the plight of their hard-working but low-paid stable lads. Racing lads, unlike boys in other industries, could not stay at home except for a few whose families lived in Newmarket. So many were in a strange town on low wages and with few opportunities for recreation.

A number of them frequented pubs in the hope that someone would buy them a beer in exchange for information about their stable’s horses. Sir John launched a fund to provide a club for stablemen and stud hands where they could relax. LADY WALLACE donated the site of the club in Vicarage Road. The club cost £3,000 to build.

Of that, Sir John raised £2,500 himself (mostly by approaching owners whose horse had just won a race or obtaining a promise of a donation from the owner of a favourite in the event of a win!). In July 1883, the Prince of Wales opened THE ASTLEY INSTITUTE. The Institute was later demolished in the late 20th century and was relocated to new premises in Fred Archer Way.”(webmaster)

NHLS Chair Sandra Easom has sent this reply:
There was a strong tradition of boxing contests among the stable lads in Newmarket which lasted well into the 20th century (It still goes on, but it is much more low key). They contested for trophies and the honour for themselves and their stables.

After the advent of the railway in Victorian times (1840s onwards in Newmarket) the racing industry expanded and prospects of employment in the town increased considerably after Newmarket became accessible from all over the country. It was common for lads to come here from many places to work in the stables, especially as apprentices. Newmarket was, and still is, a major centre in the horseracing world. “Headquarters” was not a random nick name.
Conditions varied from stable to stable but generally, lads were regularly fed and sometimes given clothes.

This was not taken lightly at a time when large families often lived in crowded, substandard conditions with poor diets. This was a way to leave home and better oneself. Also, if you did well, there was a career ahead of you with the prospect that one day you might become Head Lad. However, the work was long and began before dawn. Lads were frequently locked into the stables at night with the horses. Sometimes they slept in the feed bins which doubled as beds.

Other lads aspired to became professional jockeys. They were never wealthy men – with a few exceptions like Fred Archer – hence the need for the Astley Institute. Those who were successful jockeys would find themselves well employed and would often travel to foreign racecourses for their employers. Chantilly was not far really. we have records of owners with racing concerns in Australia.

Sir John Astley of the Jockey Club, formed the Astley Club to try to get stablemen away from pubs where they drank too much, used up their wages & tried to make a little extra money by selling tips. Sporting activities, like boxing, were encouraged by the Astley Club.

June 2013

From time to time the name of Rachel Parsons comes up in Newmarket history circles. She was the talented lady engineer, daughter of Sir Charles Parsons the inventor of the steam turbine, who became eccentric in her old age and eventually met a violent death in 1956 at the hands of an ex-employee while she was living in Newmarket. We have this enquiry from Edmund Raphael, a relation of Miss Parsons:

I will tell you, that a number of years since, Mr. Eric Dunning was very liberal with his research information, which considerably helped me with my various Newmarket orientated questions.

Today, I turn to you, wondering if you might be able to tell me of the demise of Osmond E. Griffiths, auctioneer and if that firm simply ceased to trade or was taken over by some other firm of auctioneers. I am particularly interested to find a copy of the catalogue, which pertains to the sale of the contents of Lansdowne House, Falmouth Avenue, Newmarket, Wednesday, 26th September 1956.

For many years, I have been attempting to piece together the life of my removed cousin, Miss. Rachel Mary Parsons, who owned Lansdowne House for a few years, prior to her murder on those premises, on 2nd July 1956. I would be pleased to purchase an original copy (for a reasonable sum) or pay to have a copy, copied.

It has been my intention to attempt to illustrate Rachel Parsons as a hugely intelligent person, who was not fairly described at the time of her death. Whilst the last nine years of her life may well have been too much of a challenge for a spinster in her seventh decade, she was a kindly soul, to which I can testify, exactly. I would be pleased if you would be enough considerate to give this request your thoughts.

Edmund has created a website about the life of Miss Parsons, enter Rachel Mary Parsons, woman engineer into search, from accounts of local people who have memories of the lady she could be very trying to employees and tradesman, very tardy in paying her bills. While she lived at Branches Park Cowlinge, where she had a string of racehorses, she was known to have kept straw and forage in the banqueting room (webmaster)

Joe Moore writes: I remember her about the town, a rather dejected figure as I recall. There was a lot of talk about Branches Park, much of it true I believe and the usual extras added on no doubt. A remarkable lady but also eccentric. Her life must have been very much restricted due to the times she lived in and probably this affected her later life.

Tony Pringle has appended this information appertaining to Landsdowne House.

In 1893 John Watts put in an application to build new private road, Falmouth Avenue. In 1900 a new house application was made there (presumably Lansdowne House) This house had attached at rear, towards the Rows, a racing yard. (Shows in 1925 map) This was where his son John Evelyn Watts trained his Derby Winner “Call Boy” in 1927. This yard and the accompanying house bordering The Rows, was re-named Holland House, in 1957 by Basil Foster after his first winner “Joe Holland”.

Confusion arose since references to Basil Foster always seem to say Lansdowne House whereas in Newmarket tradition, the trainers house was the Cottage, the owner retaining the title of House.

More careful study of street directories has the Rows tacked on to Grafton Street (Black Bear Lane) and there is where we find Lansdowne Cottage, so that is the place demolished recently and subject to the failed application by Bill Gredley for an Asda store.

May 24th, 2013

An enquiry from Kai Hildebrandt in East Berlin: – In connection with the research of the history of my hometown Neuenhagen bei Berlin and the neighbouring Hoppegarten, where is located the well-known horse’s racetrack, I ask for your help. In the years 1870-1945, many coaches from Newmarket lived in both places.

Horse trainers like George Arnull, Charles Planner, George Johnson and his brother, Robert Johnson and Thomas Dixon. Jockeys like Arthur Baker, Archibald Martin, Tom Hibberd and Frank Martin. Some of these people found their last resting here in Hoppegarten. The home Club of Hoppegarten, where I am a member, maintains and receives the remaining graves in the cemetery in Hoppegarten.

My question with regard to Newmarket, is as follows. Of horses coach George Johnson was on the 05.07.1851, the son of the stud master William Johnson to Grosvenor yard in Newmarket. As I have seen on the Internet there is a street named in Newmarket “Grosvenor Yard”. Here is a street or a part of Newmarket and saying you or someone from your club the name William Johnson. If there are questions about the former people of Newmarket from your side, I like to stand them available. With best regards,
Because my English is not very good, I have translated the text with a program, I hope you forgive that.

This enquiry arose as a result of our article on The Grosvenor Yard. We were not aware of the Hoppegarten connection with Newmarket or the fact that English trainers are buried in the former East Germany. This has opened up a line of enquiry and details will be included here as more information becomes available. (webmaster)

Tony Pringle writes: The Arnull brothers were top jockeys at the end of the 18th century, the family rode a dozen Derby winners between them. Sam, John and John’s son William. All before the census so we would have have to rely on research by others to see the connection with these living in Germany. Since the brothers were so important to racing the Jockey Cub may have better records.

May 20th, 2013

Following our Mystery Picture No.30 which turned out to be the Clock Tower at Highfields Stables, Bury Road, next to the Bedford Lodge Hotel, we have had this from Tony Pringle:

I haven’t been in the yards since 1990 I reckon. Last time I visited Highfields, John Winter was trainer there. Actually, it can be confusing as Highfield and Shalfleet yards area separate yards with just one exit on to Bury Road. Not sure how it runs now that Noseda is there. It seems to be all Shalfleet.

From English Heritage…interesting that they say Bedford Lodge became a hotel in 1920’s when most claim it was post WW2. Bedford Lodge and its former racehorse training stables were built for the fifth and sixth Dukes of Bedford and sold in 1861 by the seventh Duke.

The estate was purchased by Sir Joseph Hawley who sold it on to the Duke of Bedford’s former trainer, William Butler. Butler demolished the original stabling and sold the Lodge to Joseph Dawson who built the main range of stables adjoining the Lodge. Dawson, an important innovative trainer, developed the training of two-year-old horses for racing, and introduced new feeding methods with great success at the stables.

When he died in 1880 the Lodge and Stables were bought by the racehorse manager Captain J. O. Machell who, in 1884 leased them to the notorious gentleman jockey and owner, George Alexander Baird. After Baird’s death in 1893 they were sold to the Earl of Derby. When Bedford Lodge became a hotel in the 1920s, the trainer Harvey Leader renamed the Stables ‘Shalfleet’, then, in 1960, formed new stables at the north-east end of the site, for which he retained the name Shalfleet Stables, while his former accommodation was re-named Highfield Stables when occupied by the trainer Fred Winter in 1963.

May 10th, 2013

From G A Peacock:- Just a few lines, In July 1917 my father was posted to No 12 Officer Cadet Battalion, Newmarket. Are you or any members aware of any records or information on this college or where it was?. This would be of great interest to me in my research of family history … after receiving a commission he joined the RFC/RAF as a flying officer.

Reply from Tony Pringle. I have a photo of the cadets (un-named) on the website under “Who is he?” but not sure of year, also there is a huge school photo type of shot of the permanent staff now in the possession of the society.

The camp was somewhere on Brickfields, probably extending from Exning Road to Fordham Road, but no one has yet sorted out exactly where. There was quite a lot of military activity in Newmarket in both wars. I take that you have read the bit on this website about the Russian Officers who moved in after the War when the 12th & 13th Officer Cadet Battalions had disbanded. That is “Russian Officers training at Newmarket”

April 10th, 2013

From Joanne Garner,:- I am a member of the NLHS, but am asking this question on behalf of a mature student we currently have studying at our university. The student went to Newmarket recently and wanted to know the origins of the painting of a cock fight which hangs in the bar at the Bedford Lodge Hotel.

The hotel staff couldn’t tell him much about it, except that it had always been displayed in the Lodge. I told him about the cock fighting pits in the town centre, but do you know anything about the painting? He has tried to find out by looking on the internet, but can’t trace an artist etc.

Our researchers have discovered that the artist is a Belgian gentleman, Remy Cogghe who was responsible for several similar sporting scenes. (webmaster).

March 28th, 2013

Some interesting details of the WWII service of destroyer HMS Newmarket, from Les Teague: – My father was a Chief Petty Officer on HMS Newmarket, joining the ship after she underwent a refit at Sheerness in 1941. I have pieced together various scraps of information (but cannot say for certain that what follows is 100% correct). What I have discovered may be of interest to your members.

Like many who were involved, Dad never spoke about the war. HMS Newmarket (formerly USS Robinson,) was handed over to Canadian custody at Halifax on 26 November 1940, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 5 December 1940, when her crew arrived from the UK. After North Atlantic escort duty,

Newmarket (Lt Cdr C W North from 8 Oct 1940) was at Sheerness for repairs from late June to November 1941, After post-repair trials she joined the 8th Escort Group at Londonderry, Northern Ireland, for convoy defence in the Northwestern Approaches.

December 6th, 1941. Newmarket was in collision with the Norwegian tanker GRENAA at Londonderry and resumed convoy defence duty after repairs.

December 9th, 1941. Newmarket deployed as escort for Convoy ON44. Liverpol to North America but left after one day.

January 3rd, 1942. Newmarket joined escort for Convoy ON52. (Liverpool to North America) which had departed Liverpool 31st December 1941, but she left after one day with boiler defects.

February 1942 Newmarket was repaired at a shipyard at Lough Foyle near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. On the 30th of February 1942 she arrived at Liverpool and was being refitted until the end of March 1942. She then returned to convoy escort duty in the Northwestern Approaches.

April 3rd, 1942. Newmarket was deployed as escort for convoy UR18 (Loch Ewe, Scotland to Reykjavic, Iceland). Convoy UR 18 was split into two parts UR 18 “Fast” and UR 18 “Slow”. Newmarket ,together with HMS Sardonyx (destroyer), HMT (Her Majesty’s Trawler) Hugh Walpole ASW (anti-submarine warfare) Trawler, escorted UR 18 “Fast “.

April 5th 1942. Ordinary Seaman Edward Norman Smith (service number JX246721) died after being lost overboard from HMS Newmarket.

7th April 1942 Newmarket left escort of convoy UR18 heading for Seidisfiord Iceland, to join convoy PQ14 (Iceland to Russia)

April 8th 1942 Newmarket arrived at Seidisfiord but could not join PQ14 because of defects. Instead, she sailed from Seidisfiord on April 11th, 1942, for Hvalfiord for repairs but did not arrive. The same day, she was diverted to escort five merchant ships (ex PQ14) to Reykjavik, arriving with them on April 16th 1942.
April 18th, 1942, Newmarket left Reykjavic escorting convoy RU19 (Reykjavic to Loch Ewe) arriving Loch Ewe April 22nd, 1942.

4th May 1942. Newmarket and HMS Bleasdale (escorting HMS Rodney) left Liverpool for Scapa Flow .
May 5th 1942. HMS Rodney, escorted by Newmarket and Bleasdale, arrived at Scapa from Liverpool. Newmarket then returned to Liverpool.

May 1942. Newmarket was withdrawn from service, and after being surveyed by HM Dockyard Rosyth, she was declared unfit for Atlantic convoy escort. She was converted to an Air Target Ship at Rosyth, from May to July 1942 which included the removal of main armament and weapons equipment.

July to December 1942. Newmarket was deployed as an Air Target ship in Firth of Forth, North Sea (Rosyth Command), for the training of aircrew in attacks on shipping.

December 1942 till February 1943, Newmarket was refitted at Leith, Edinburgh.

February to June 1943. Newmarket was deployed again as an Air Target ship. Many defects made her unreliable, so she was put on care and maintenance, and laid up at Rosyth from July 1943 till June 1944.
From June 1944 until after the end of the war in Europe on 8th May 1945. Newmarket was again used as an aircraft target ship.

July 29th, 1944, Sub Lt . D Cash, a member of 852 Avenger squadron of the aircraft carrier HMS Nabob training near RNAS Machrihanish on the Kintyre Peninsula (Scotland west coast) crashed and was rescued by HMS Newmarket.

Newmarket was decommissioned on 1 July 1945 and arrived at Llanelly Wales on September 2nd 1945 and broken up by Rees Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

The most detailed account we have had of the ship named after our town. There was also a HMS Newmarket in WWI, see Correspondence March 15th 2010 (webmaster)

March 15th, 2013

from Helen Patchett:- Does anyone at the history society have any information about a bootmaking shop called J. Bentick, which we believe was in Palace Street, Newmarket, in the early 1900s. The owner was a John William Bentinck, who was born in 1852 and died in 1930. His great grandson has sent us a photo of him outside the shop and is looking for more information about the shop.

Reply from Tony Pringle: The current coffee shop was the Star Tap but to the right of the Star yard entrance was once the Palace Cafée . That has been many things, driving school, café, charity shop etc. That was actually two premises at one time, so David Sweet tells me. Bentincks could have been one of these, but more likely was the top of Palace Street.

Where the Rutland built their extension with a bridge over the street, there was a yard which Bill Smith has just reminded me was occupied in part by Skeets Martin’s shoe repairers. Bill thinks Skeets started up there just pre-war. That fits in with John Bentinck junior going bankrupt in 1931 and the possibility of Skeets taking on an existing workshop.

….and more from Tony (May 2013): Bentick was most certainly the right hand of the pair of shops adjacent to the Star Hotel yard entrance from Palace Street. Olley’s fish shop being the left hand one. There are several photographs of the shop surviving.

According to the 1936 directory, Bentinck W was a bootmakers between the Golden Lion and Lloyds Bank, so probably in the Golden Lion Yard. John Bentick senior was made bankrupt in 1931 and died in 1933. John William his son had taken to adding the ‘n’ to his surname, quite possibly it was he who was operating in 1936, certainly he had a long career in shoe making/repair…. John Junior died in 1963…

A John Bentinck, bootmaker of Palace St is listed in both the 1916 and 1922 Kelly’s Directories (Sandra Easom and Joan Watkinson)

March 12th, 2013

from Elizabeth Ashton:- Hello, I have two queries, both relate to period between 1900-1925.
Is there any history of workers from Newmarket being recruited to work in the mills around Leeds/Bradford?

Secondly, does the name Sigler, or Seigler, or Siegler appear anywhere in relation to Newmarket, particularly during the period 1900-1905? Thank you.

Open to anyone with an answer- webmaster

February 7th, 2013

Our article on the Russian Officers training in Newmarket during the Bolshevick revolution of 1917/20 has brought email correspondence from Evgenia Chernozatonskaya, a lady living in Moscow whose grandfather was one of the officers involved. She has been most helpful in telling the story from the Russian point of view and in providing translations from a Russian publication. The details are too lengthy to include on these Correspondence pages but can be read on this site at “Russian Officer training in Newmarket”

February 6th, 2013

From Cheryl Heron: – I wonder if you can help me. I have been researching my family tree and I have connections in Newmarket. The family name is Hopkinson, and they ran the Hopkinson laundry in Exning Road. Henry Lloyd Hopkinson (1902-1978) was my grandfather and Patience May (1910-1951) my grandmother.

We have many other names but are coming to a dead end, the holy grail for us is a photo of them. Also, we understand that Henry’s mother may have been Greek/Italian. They ran the business together and I believe there was a motorcycle shop/garage also.

Hopkinson’s Laundry was well known in Newmarket in the early to mid 20th c. Many local girls worked at the laundry but there may not be many survivors now. There are members of the same Hopkinson family still in town and the proprietor of the garage mentioned (New Heath Autos Ltd) is married to one of them. Any helpful information will be passed on (webmaster)

January 20th, 2013

A query from Teresa DaCosta concerning Barbara Stradbroke (née Grosvenor) who gave her name to Barbara Stradbroke Avenue, Newmarket, now generally known as Cambridge Road.

I am very interested in who this lady was, as the road into Newmarket is named after her. I have read the history of Lord Stradbroke and his second son Henry John Rous but am unable to find anything relating to Elizabeth could this be his niece as her first name is not actually disclosed? And why isn’t there a road sign indicating the name of this road? I think this lady is a mystery and I would love to find out about her.

This information on Barbara Stradbroke from NLHS member Tony Pringle: Lord Stradbroke, 4th Earl (John Rous) was Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, his wife was Barbara (née Grosvenor al la Duke of Westminster). Not sure which Earl it was that made the donation of an avenue of trees which were to be named Barbara Stradbroke Avenue in memory of Lady Barbara.

Our democratically elected representatives decided to change the name of the Cambridge Road from the junction with Hamilton Road to the Stetchworth Toll Roundabout. Some cartographers jumped the gun and immediately entered this on their latest editions. Unfortunately for them, the County boundary at the time ran across the road near the Golf Course and East Cambs pulled the plug, no one was going to re-name any of their roads.

So, the sign stating Barbara Stradbroke Avenue is low down and off the highway, not a highway sign at all. The trees do appear to be flourishing, and after we are gone will no doubt enhance that stretch of road but is it still (and hopefully will remain) Cambridge Road. The Barbara Stradbroke Avenue is just the avenue of trees, and the road is still officially and postally Cambridge Road.

January 1st, 2013

We start the year with some lengthy correspondence about the RAF in wartime Newmarket. A special page is dedicated to this subject, go to “RAF in Newmarket“.

January 7th, 2013

From Siobhan Murphy:- My family left Newmarket for Australia 55 years ago and I am in England briefly looking for family connections.

My Grandmother (Sarah Beeton) owned two houses in the New Cut in Newmarket in about 1919 – one was Braham House (in which she lived and raised a family), and the other was St Faith’s Cottage. They were passed on to family members after her death in the mid 1940s.

I was hopeful that they might still be standing, but although Braham House is still there, I cannot find any sign of St Faith’s Cottage. I am not sure of the original configuration, although I understood that they probably stood alongside each other. (Strangely enough I have seen ‘flags’ for St Faith’s Cottage when searching for them on Google Maps.)

Since this area of Newmarket has changed a lot over the years, I was wondering if its original houses were photographically documented. If so, is there any way that I can find out the fate of St Faith’s Cottage and/or alterations made to Braham House. Any information or photos would be greatly appreciated as we have none within the family.

January 2013

From John Banks who lives in Victoria, British Columbia who had enquired about the old Palace House stables:- Many thanks for your replies and for the information. During the war my father was an engine fitter on the planes, so the Spitfire connection would have pleased him! My parents met in 1929, when my mother was an usherette in the Kingsway Cinema* (she was fourteen, he eighteen), and I have a photograph of the cinema staff on an outing in the early 1930’s, most of them identified.

Their wedding is detailed in the Newmarket Journal, June 1933. I also have two aged relatives in England who either lived in Newmarket or spent a lot of time there, and both of them have reliable memories. One of them can say who lived where in Grosvenor Yard before the war. Are you interested in this sort of thing? My parents kept things, and I’ve kept it up. Best wishes, John

* The nice picture of the Kingsway Cinema staff in 1929 now appears on a separate page on this website and is the basis for an article about Newmarket cinemas (webmaster)John, quite an interesting query from someone who remembers the old Palace House Stables still in use. I think you probably know more about the old stables during that period than we do, Jack Jarvis trained there during and after the war, then came Harry Jellis according to my information. I do not know when the stables fell out of use (probably the 1960s) but expect the racing museum have that information.

A Spitfire donated to the war effort by the town of Newmarket was named after the horse Blue Peter, but the aircraft did not survive for very long. If you have any snaps that show the stable buildings as they were we would be interested (webmaster).

A heavily retouched photograph of “Blue Peter” apparently before issue to a squadron (no ID on a/c except serial no.)
as of 2020 it appears this plane (or at least parts of it) is being rebuilt to airworthy status

….and from Sandra Easom: This might just be of interest: The Spitfire ‘Blue Peter’ was paid for by the people of Newmarket who in 1941 raised the required £5,000 and named the aircraft after the Derby winner in 1939. Unfortunately, AD 540 crashed in the Western Highlands in May 1942 and its pilot, P/O David Hunter Blair, was killed after bailing out at too low an altitude.

After years of search the remains of Blue Peter were discovered in 1993 buried in peat on a remote hillside. Part of a wing spar from the crash site is held in the National Horseracing Museum at Newmarket.

January 2013

More from John Banks:-

I’ve noticed that in February 2009 there was a query from Julie Bennett about the Challice family and their coal business on Granby Street. My parents lived at No.1 Granby Gardens in the early ’30s, and among their many photos there is one of Mrs. Challice and family, so it seems that they were probably friends. (I have since been in touch with Julie Bennett and she has received an image of the photo.)

Regarding my query about the use of Newmarket Journal photos, yes, you are correct, I was referring to the 1872-1972 Centenary issue. There are quite a few images of “olde” Newmarket, but the quality isn’t good, and I think rare scenes or shots of individuals are of more value. Of that sort there are: the Co-op store and staff on Market St. 1899; the EJ Ingle and RG Reeve butchers-grocers on New Cheveley Rd, with staff 1972; the aftermath of the bombing of the Marlborough Club on High Street, Feb 1941; and a large shot of the yard of the White Hart Hotel 1889.

I note that in 2005 there was a request for information about Grosvenor Yard from MJ Poulton, whose grandmother was born there in 1888. My great-grandmother and great-grandfather lived there perhaps a bit later, and many relatives lived there after 1900. Two relatives have given me detailed descriptions of the Yard, however photos that I have show only parts. I will forward a scan of the Newmarket Journal photo of the demolition of the Yard (Friday Feb.18th 1949 issue) and any other scans which you may wish to consider for use at the site.

My parents took an enormous number of photos. When I was a child, we still had (but didn’t use) a very old Brownie box, the sort with just a hole and a spring shutter. Between 1955 and the early 1970’s they also accumulated 8mm film, and I regret to say that it was not until after 2000 that I realized that some people we filmed in the mid-’50s might still have been alive. You can imagine how delighted we were when some Newmarket relatives finally saw the 8mm film of their 1957 wedding. Best regards, John