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Correspondence 2014

December 25th, 2014

From Gabor Csernussi from Hungary (unedited): – Dear Sir, at first apologize for my disturbing you.
I write the life history as a sportsman/yachtsman of Count Edmund Batthyany, whose father, Gustav Batthyany owned Newmarket by his death 1883. But I haven’t relevant info, from what time he had, and whether there are some detailed info/picture about this topic, you may have.

I have a weak info, as George IV herited Newmarket to his equerry for use, then the Royalty sold it in 1837, but no direct info, to whom, so I don’t have info about our Batthyany.

If I know well, the Batthyany-Hunyady race was based in 1829, but I don’t have any, what time was it run?
You would be kind to inform me about this topic directly, not by as a reference if it possible:

This query led to some interesting correspondence about Count (Prince) Batthyany’s involvement with Newmarket. It appears that he did reside in Newmarket at Warren House where his horses were trained by John Dawson.

However, like other wealthy racegoers he had residences in other parts of the country and only used Newmarket during the periods of the important races. It also raises questions as to how/why Batthyany came to this country in the first place, was it to pursue his sport or perhaps to escape political upheaval in his own country – Hungary, and was he helped by the Hanoverian George IV, William IV or Victoria who through their German ancestry may have had sympathies with the Hungarian royalty as part of the Austro-Hungarian dynasty? Speculation, not facts.

What we do know is that the wealthy Prince was popular in Newmarket and contributed much to racing. He died aged 79 from a heart attack while attending a Newmarket race meeting in 1883.
Thanks for the help given by NLHS member David Rippington and you can read much more about John Dawson and Batthyany on David’s Newmarket Shops website (webmaster).

December 18th, 2014

From Professor Dr Wim Coudenys, Lecturer in Russian and European History and Culture, Academic coordinator for international relations at the Faculty of Arts, Antwerp, Belgium

I came across your very interesting article on Russian officers being trained at Newmarket in 1918-19. I was wondering whether the names of those being trained were ever recorded, and if so, where they can be found.

I’m asking because I’m working on an article about Nicolas Belina-Podgaetsky (1896-1967), a Russian émigré and a journalist who arrived in Belgium in 1934. In his memoires he writes vaguely about his being on the Macedonian Front (Russian expeditionary corps) in 1916-18, but also that he was, during that same time, regularly in the UK, the last time at Newmarket, I presume as one of the trainees.

In 1919-20, however, he was in France (whether he ever served in the White Russian army is unclear). So I’m looking at a (written) confirmation of B-P being one of the officers trained there in 1918-19….Thanks for your advice!

So far local enquiries regarding the names of the Russian officers other than those mentioned in the article, have drawn a blank, The Imperial War Museum is a possible source. Any further information that comes to hand will be passed on (webmaster)

December 8th, 2014

from NLHS member Roger Newman: – I have just received my copy of “Newmarket Remembers” and I have noticed one odd occurrence which I do not expect would be noticed by anyone who was not ex Royal Navy.

In WW2, six persons in the RN associated with Newmarket died when ships were attacked or sunk and for a small town that is a large percentage, four of the ships they died on were amongst the most well-known ones lost in WW2.HMS Curacao was split in two and sunk by the RMS Queen Mary in the Atlantic whilst on convoy duty. Harry Hawkins killed 2nd Oct 1942.

HMS Kelly had Lord Louis Mountbatten as Captain. Percy Camps killed 9th May 1940
HMS Glorious was sunk in the North Sea in 1939 in the Norwegian campaign by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Ernest Egan and Gerald Roe both lost 8th June 1940.
HMS Hood was lost in the North Sea, sunk by the Bismark 4th May 1941. Lt Robert Browne killed 25th May 1941.

A man from Exning died, Stanley Clover, when HMS Barham exploded two and a half minutes after being hit by three torpedoes in the Mediterranean on 25th November 1941. It is one of the most dramatic and well-known pictures of a ship exploding from WW2 as she was a Queen Elizabeth class battleship gross weight was 33000 tons.

HMS Kelly under tow on way back to Hebburn

Of further interest is the fact that Percy Camps is buried in Newmarket. H.M.S. was towed back to the Tyne bringing with her those killed in the attack. Most of these were returned to their hometown for burial.

December 4th, 2014

From Ted Robbins. : – I noted your biography on Machell in Newmarket Past Personalities. Do you think it would be possible to get the horse racing fraternity in Newmarket to get together and repair his grave? It is one of the first as you enter the graveyard at the main gate, and it will only get worse. I expect ownership of the grave is an issue, but it cannot be insurmountable. Perhaps an appeal in the local paper? If the cross can be remounted perhaps also the missing letters can be replaced. Note the spelling on the grave is Octavus, not sure which is correct.

the monument in question

James Octavius Machell the great trainer of horses, sportsman and gambler (see Personalities No 9) Ted Robbens has sent a picture of the collapsed stone cross in Newmarket Cemetery. Who is responsible for the upkeep of such graveyard memorials is an open question, there are several graves of well-known personalities from the past in need of attention. It is a matter for the owner of the grave. The Council will only remove and lay down any stones that are in a dangerous condition – Tony

November 8th, 2014

From Jesse Janssens :- I am Jesse from Belgium and I would like to visit Newmarket with my dad because my grandfather stayed somewhere around Newmarket in World War 2. He had joined the Royal Air Force in Newmarket. I don’t know if there is anything left to see around Newmarket from that time.

But we really want to visit anything left that goes from airfield or barrack or even just the place where it was. Because he passed away two months ago, and I am planning a visit now. Maybe you could help me with some information for things to visit from The Royal Air Force in Newmarket?

plan from Hamlin’s book

Newmarket was very busy with the military during WWII. The RAF had two airfields at or very close to the town during the war, the main one on the Rowley Mile racecourse on the west side of the town and the other near the village of Snailwell about two miles to the north.

It was to Snailwell that Belgian airmen came to receive training both in flying and ground duties between October 1944 and March 1946, when they all returned home. The unit was known as the RAF (Belgian) Initial Training School and was formally opened in April 1945 by Group Captain Guillame the Deputy Inspector-General of the Belgian Air Force.

Training proceeded and was said to highly satisfactory. The servicemen were accommodated either on the base or in private lodgings nearby and they were often seen in the town and at local social events along with servicemen of many nations who appeared during the war. Very little remains of the old Snailwell airfield, which had grass runways. A path runs alongside what was the perimeter, a pleasant walk where you might just make out the remains of one or two of the old airfield buildings. The airfield itself is now taken up by a private training ground.

Much information about the Royal Air Force in Newmarket appears in the excellent booklet of that title by John F. Hamlin to whom we are indebted. Copies are now hard to get. Google RAF Snailwell and you can get more information, with plans of the airfield (webmaster)

October 27th, 2014

We have received this request from the Town Council: – “Newmarket Town council are having repair work done on the old Chapel at the cemetery. Do you have any information on this building and its history please?”

Over to members and readers for help (webmaster)

October 20th, 2014

From Fiona Guthrie. : – I have been researching what my grandfather (Harry William Sadler) did in WW1 and it would appear he was invalided out. He was a racehorse trainer and trained at Falmouth House but I have discovered a letter from him to the War Office asking them to note that his address is Marchetta,

Newmarket, having left Officers’ Convalescent Home at Totnes. I am wondering if this was a convalescent home in Newmarket and whether it still exists? Any help that you can give me would be much appreciated.

Tony Pringle has responded as follows: I have to check the exact location, but Marchetta was the home of one of the Rickaby family, killed in WW1 (Fred Rickaby one of many so named), the uncle of Lester Piggott. It would all tie in with being a racing type place. In 1936 Marchetta on Bury Road was the home of Mrs Falcon. In my research into WW1 casualties, I have not come across any mention of Marchetta being used for medical purposes. Possibly the gentleman was a friend of the Rickaby family,

October 2014

We have had a query from a lady who wrote in asking about the old Flax Factory in Fordham Road. She thought it was built on green land somewhere around the site of the later caravan factory. The man who started the flax business was a Belgian immigrant.

There was indeed a busy flax factory on land close to where the Bury/Ely railway line runs under the Fordham Road and adjoining the Snailwell Road, where there is now an industrial/commercial site. It was built probably in the 1930s and was operating during the war producing linen and webbing used by the RAF.

By the 1950s a biscuit factory (Meredith & Drew) had taken over the site and later still Eccles Caravans were there – they were eventually absorbed into CI Caravans at their big factory much nearer the town. The Flax Factory employed many women during the war on important work for the war effort.

Thanks to NLHS member David Rippington for researching the history of the factory and for sending maps of the site at various periods of its history.

October 18th, 2014

Cardigan Maternity Home

Cardigan Maternity Home

From Linda Barlow:- Hello – I hope that someone can help me with this. I was born in September 1952 in Newmarket, in a maternity home (not the main hospital).

Someone has suggested that the name of the home was Cardigan Street. Does anyone remember a maternity home from this time, and how I might find where the records for this home are kept.

Several of our members confirm that there was indeed a maternity home in Cardigan Street, indeed some were born there, one of them Tony Pringle Thanks to him for finding the picture of the home when it was opened.

It was erected in 1923 in memory of the men who fought in the Great War.


In 1993 the Charity was wound up and the property ceased to be used for its original purpose. The chances of finding records of the mothers who gave birth in the home look pretty slim. (webmaster)

September 14th, 2014

From Geoffrey Griffiths: – You may be aware that the Cambridge Museum of Technology is sponsoring a project to keep the name of Pye alive. Pye was, as I am sure you are aware, a major company in Cambridge for many years. Not all of Pye was in Cambridge however and in the 1950s three companies were established in Newmarket. These were Magnetic Devices, Varelco and Pye Industrial Electronics.
Pye Industrial Electronics was started to produce transistors for radios. It soon after was renamed Newmarket Transistors, abbreviated to NKT, and became a significant player in what was to be one of the most important electronic developments of the 20th century – leading to silicon chip.

I started as an assistant physicist at NKT and stayed with the company for some 30 years becoming the Technical Director. Now in retirement (just had my 84th Birthday anniversary) I have undertaken to produce some notes on the formation and development of NKT. Surprisingly, my memories were soon ignited, and the notes now add up to over 10,000 words.

The technical, commercial and personnel details I can readily deal with and have also taken recent photos of the factory as it is today, as a member of the US GE Aviation Company (continuing the high-tech business developed by NKT). The photos show some part the basic factory as it was started behind the later office block – but that is all I have been able to come by of the early premises.

It would be nice include some details, if they exist, of the early days when the factories were built, such as press cuttings, site photos, etc. If you can help or point me in any direction to enable me to complete my notes, I would be most grateful. Of course, you are welcome to a copy of my notes to-date.

An interesting insight into the part that Newmarket played in the development of transistors. Several of our members are past employees of the several Pye subsidiaries and spin-offs that came to Newmarket, particularly Magnetic Devices which was a big employer. David Rippington can provide many memories through his own and his families connections. He has been put in touch with the enquirer. Dialite is the current occupier of the old Magnetic Devices factory in Exning Road (webmaster)

June 17th, 2014

From Eric Graham, a long-term correspondent on this website concerning racing personalities and stables
Nice to look at your site again. In reply to your correspondent John Darwood dated April 30th 2014: –

“Sir John and Lady Darwood had a Racing Stables in Newmarket during the 1950’s and I’m keen to learn of their Racing colours and other background information.”

Sir John William Darwood died 8 Mach 1951 Aged 77. His wife Winifred Alice Mary died 27 June 1976, aged 95, leaving £102,000. Darwood did not have registered colours in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and not earlier as far as I can trace. In fact, he appears to have no connection with racing in the UK at whatever. In business his company was associated with The Rangoon Electric Tramway and Supply Company.

June 12th, 2014

From David Acock: – I have been very interested in racing history for many years. I wrote a short history of Beckhampton Stables earlier this year and Roger Charlton has put it on his website. I currently have three projects underway. The first is to write short cameos of the 39 Beckhampton classic winners and their owners. I have sent the first four to the NHRM see if they want to use them on their website.
My second project has been ongoing for a number of years and is to identify the stables that classic winners were trained from.

The third is to write a short history of Newmarket racing stables. I have been using various media to accumulate information, books websites in the main. I have found the Newmarket Local History site and the Newmarket Shops sites particularly useful. Trying to understand the various stables located in and around Bedford Lodge, House and Cottage was made much easier by these sites.

Can you answer any of these questions or point me in the right direction.

  1. Fifinella (1913) won the Derby and Oaks. She was owned by Sir Edward Hulton who I believe lived at Warren Towers. She was trained by the Whatcombe trainer R Dawson who moved to Newmarket during the Great War. Do you know which stables he used?
  2. The 1920 St Leger winner was Caligula trained by Harvey Leader well before he moved to Bedford Lodge Stables and renamed him Shalfleet. Do you know the stables he used before he moved?
  3. The 1921 St Leger winner Polemarch was trained by Tom Green. Any idea of the stables he used?
    I would be grateful for any information you could give me.

NLHS members are not racing historians, but they have done well to come up with these replies:

From Tony Pringle

  1. Fifinella was trained by the Whatcombe trainer R Dawson who moved to Newmarket during the Great War. Although it is clear that Richard Dawson trained in Newmarket from 1913 to 1919, so far none of the usual books place him here. The earliest “Horses in Training in the Racing section of the library is 1930, so no help, and Racing Calendar only lists trainers, gives no addresses. Ruff’s lists him as at Whatcombe the whole time…much mystery here!
  2. “Old Tom” Leader came to Newmarket from Wroughton in Wiltshire and set up Wroughton House. Considering his age it does seem more then probable that his son Harvey Cliff initially used the yard (possible as assistant to his father with or without his brother young Tom. Old Tom died in 1920 aged 74.
    Young Tom Richard Leader died 1945 aged 65, trained at Wroughton House, his son Tom Edward Leader was always known as Ted Leader and trained at Sefton Lodge, Bury Road.
    Colledge Leader was at Machell Place and then Stanley House. George Leader was always known as Fred and trained at Primrose Cottage. Annoyingly only Bedford Lodge (Shalfleet) are mentioned for Harvey Cliff Leader.
    As with so many racing families you have to be very careful with names as many never used their given names. The Rickaby family were the worst for having at least one Frederick in every generation, all jockeys.
  3. The 1921 St Leger winner Polemarch was trained by Tom Green. I can only find one trainer of that name, Tom Green, the Yorkshire trainer at Hambleton, near Thirsk and he died in 1899 so it cannot be him. For the year in question I can find no trace in the usual records or list of licensed trainers of Tom Green other than his name being associated with Polemarch the 1920 St Leger winner.

From David Rippington who admits that racing is not his strong point – Here are a few useful links I found: –
Hulton, Sir Edward, baronet (1869-1925)
Richard Cecil Dawson (1865-1955)
Harvey Cliff Leader (1893-1972)
‘I served my apprenticeship with trainer Harvey Leader at Wroughton House Station Rd way back in 1945/50.’ 

Polemarch, as a 2-year-old, won the Gimcrack Stakes at Newmarket, and the Rous Plate at Doncaster. In 1921, He won the St. Leger at Doncaster with odds of 50-1! The jockey was Joe Childs, who went on to become Royal Jockey from 1925-1935.
Polemarch’s owner was 7th Marquess of Londonderry (1878-1949) – Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart – the following link does say ‘…with stables at Wynyard and Newmarket.’

Londonderry Estates Ref: D/Lo/C 647
Dewhurst, Captain R. H., Newmarket Reports on the stables at Newmarket and racing matters, 1915, n.d. This indicates that Londonderry’s trainer at Newmarket was Captain R H Dewhurst – which was Bedford Lodge Cottage Stables – i.e. later Shalfleet.

Also, on my web page it shows that Thomas Green was the Head Groom living in Bedford Lodge Cottage on the 1911 census. My page also shows that Harvey Leader didn’t arrive at Bedford Lodge Cottage until 1936 – I’ve no idea where he was in 1920.

April 30th, 2014

From John Darwood :-I’ve enjoyed browsing through your interesting website and wonder if any of your readers can help with my enquiry, please.

Sir John and Lady Darwood had a Racing Stables in Newmarket during the 1950’s and I’m keen to learn of their Racing colours and other background information.

This reply from Sandra Easom:
Someone might know the answer to your query, but our Society mainly researches and records the history of Newmarket itself. Obviously, there is some overlap with the town’s racing history. There is a comprehensive collection of books regarding racing in the local library, in the overall time scale, or perhaps the Horseracng Museum may be able to help

and from Tony Pringle, who as a young man knew the local stables well: – If he was simply an owner of a yard and a few horses, but not the trainer, then he could be quite an obscure person to us locals who tended only to think of stableyards by the name of the actual yard or the incumbent in those days.

See also the reply from Eric Graham 17th June 2014 (webmaster)

April 21st, 2014

from Christine Moore. : – Hello, can you tell me who was E Young Newmarket please? I have a photo of my father with his WW1 uniform on and I’m just wondering why he would be in Newmarket when he was born in Altricham, Cheshire – was Newmarket a place for troops to be sent overseas? Any help appreciated.

This query raises two separate subjects of interest.

First from Tony Pringle on the military question – “It would be handy to see the uniform or know which Regiment. The Bedfordshire Regiment for sure spent some time in Newmarket, the 12th and 13th Officer Cadet battalions were here all the war. Their instructors as with other training units in the town were drawn for many different regiments. The Heaths saw quite a bit of Army camps at times and Brickfields was a busy Army area.

One must realise that where a man came from may not reflect on which regiment he served in. Initially men volunteering chose their regiment but as the war went on that stopped and as ever in times of war, the Army was only interested in getting more men, regardless of where they were from. If the Suffolk’s for instance lost a lot of men in a battle they may have been brought back to strength by men from Devon or Northumberland and vice versa.

Some men served in more than three different regiments in their spell in the Army. Whereas it was usually felt better to respect Regimental geographical ties where possible, at the end of the day it came down to gathering enough bodies to throw into action.

Unfortunately, such was the manner in which trench warfare had to be fought, that really was the crux of the matter, whichever side had the most bodies would eventually win. Kitchener said very early on that the side with the last one million men would win the war, and he proved right.”

Secondly Roger Newman has added this about the photographer E. Young
“I have several photos from WW1 era, and some are stamped with E.Young, Flatman St, Newmarket. I have always assumed that his address should have been Nat Flatman St but being a small oval stamp, all the address could not be written on the stamp. I believe he took the well-known set of six entitled Newmarket Camp 1914.

On one of the war memorials unveiling postcards, the stamp shows his address has changed to Old Station Rd. In the 1916 Kellys, he is in there as Edgar Young, Photographer, Old Station Road and in the 1911 census, he is living at 41 Nat Flatman St, occupation of photographer maker, wife Jessie, assisting in the business at home, he is 33 years old, wife is 38, no children but he was born in Peterborough and she at Whittlesea.

They do not sound as professional as Henry Robert Sherborn’s family business which was run by his wife by then as Henry passed away in late 1890’s. Certainly comparing Sherborn’s WW1 photos with E.Young’s, Sherborn’s are of a superior quality and a better-quality print. Sherborn is still in the 1933 Kellys in commercial business but no sign of Edgar Young, commercial or private.”

April 2014

From Cliff Pettitt :-How about something about Transistors, Newmarket was the first place they were manufactured on a commercial scale. Just about everything we use now days has them in it. No one ever thinks about where they started.

A little research has turned up that Pye Radio of Cambridge produced the first British transistor for use in small portable radios in the early 1950s. They were manufactured by Newmarket Transistors, a subsidiary of Pye’s. Competition from low-cost Japanese imports brought about the demise of Pye and the Newmarket factory was taken over by Magnetic Devices.

Perhaps someone worked there or has memories of Newmarket Transistors. (webmaster)

March 13th, 2014

From Charles Giles :- I wonder if you can help me please.

Is there anyone in the Society who remembers Heath Garage from the 1960s. If so I would be much obliged if they could make contact as I am trying to find out a piece of information about the cars they sold.

This reply from Newmarket Car Club and NLHS member David Butcher.

According to my 1964 RAC handbook, Turner & Hore Heath Garage were agents for Austin, Ford, Morris and Wolseley. Crisswell’s were Rover and Vauxhall, Moon’s garage Standard Triumph, and Rutland Hill Motors were Rootes Group, Hillman, Humber, Singer etc.

…and this from NLHS Secretary Rosemary Foreman:
“Your query re Heath Garage has been forwarded to me as my late husband (Russell Foreman) worked there from 1949 until the garage gave up repairing cars and changed hands in, I think, the 1980s. They were a Ford Dealership but during the 1960s (again, I think!) the garage was owned by John de Bruyne and they also made one or two sports cars.”

Webmaster Rodney Vincent adds:
From memory the Gordon Keeble car was an attempt in the 1960s at a limited production of a stylish high-performance sports saloon using a large capacity American engine. It showed great promise, and a number were produced but the company ran into production problems. Some exist today in the hands of enthusiasts.
I understand that the ownership of the company changed hands and apparently John de Bruyne at the Heath Garage attempted to salve it after the other owners had failed, so the car may have been sold at the Newmarket Garage. For more information see the Gordon Keeble Owners’ Club website

and a query on the same subject from Tony Thorpe.
I would be very grateful if you or your colleagues at the local history society could answer a couple of questions in relation de Bruyne sports car…

  1. I believe that the one or two examples of the car were created at the Heath Garage in Newmarket. Would you be able to confirm that this is correct?
  2. I am also trying to track down the Garage location, and my best guess is that it is on the site of the current Shell Service Station, at the junction of High Street and Dullingham Road, next door to the White Lion. Again, I would be grateful if you could confirm this.
  3. Finally, as you may know, John de Bruyne is quite often described in motoring literature as an American, but I wonder if this is correct. Would you be able to tell me if this is the same John de Bruyne who runs Anstey Hall in Trumpington?

Rosemary Foreman NLHS Secretary replies:
My husband worked for John de Bruyne (the John de Bruyne Motorcar Company) at his garage in Newmarket in the 1960’s – as you say, the garage was situated at the top end of the town next to the swimming pool and White Lion Hotel. As you probably know, John was the son of Norman de Bruyne, inventor or Araldite, and he does indeed live at Anstey Hall.

1968…De Bruyne Grand Tourer and the De Bruyne Grand Sport..only one of each was made

I remember the Gordon Keeble cars being spoken of at the time and if you look at the website you will find some information together with some photographs May 2014. Still on John de Bruyne and his cars – NLHS member David Rippington’s father Leslie (also a member) worked at the Heath garage and remembers the Gordon Keeble car owned by John de Bruyne. He says that a mock-up of a proposed sports car was created at the garage, the idea was that the completed model would be shown in the USA. No cars were however produced at Newmarket and it appears that the proposed production was abandoned.

February 24th, 2014

I just spoke with somebody at the Newmarket council who suggested I pass my query onto the historical society. She gave me a number, but nobody is picking up.

I am working on a BBC One period drama, and I am looking to find the area/telephone code for Newmarket for 1922. We believe it might be something along the lines of ‘Small Heath 343’

In 1922 the local telephone operated from local manually operated exchanges, so Newmarket numbers would have been Newmarket followed by the number, the villages mostly had their local exchanges called by name and number through small manually operated exchanges. You picked up the telephone earpiece and waited until the operator answered.

Dialed telephone, for numbers through the same exchange, did not come until the late thirties, and STD (subscriber trunk dialing) not until after the war. You can learn all about the coming of the telephone on our website. Go to (webmaster)…incidentally Small Heath is a suburb of Birmingham!

February 2014

Rodney Vincent.: – We have had some correspondence suggesting that too much emphasis is given to horseracing when discussing Newmarket’s history, and that other important aspects of the town are often overlooked.

Newmarket is the world renowned ‘Headquarters’ of racing and without racing it would, I fear, be a rather undistinguished town. The Heath, such a precious asset, would never have survived without racing and the jealous guardianship of the Jockey Club. Wouldn’t the property developers just have loved to get their hands on those rolling acres, or the land put under the plough to help wartime food production.

Most of the fine buildings that grace the town came as a result of horseracing and the patronage of the wealthy and famous from the past. The world-famous Tattersalls is here because of the racing. The railway came, and Newmarket’s new station was opened in 1902 because of the racing.

To this day the Sheikh has poured money into the district which must be a huge benefit to the local economy. All the Royal interest in Newmarket from James I to our present Queen has been in connection with hunting/racing. As for the successful shops and businesses how many would have prospered without the money brought in from racing?

The ninth in the website series ‘Newmarket’s Personalities from the Past’ concerns another great name from Newmarket’s racing past. I make no apologies for the fact that 8 out of the 9 were involved with racing, the exception being Bill Tutte.

The wartime role of the town is well known, as are one or two successful entrepreneurs, notably Sam Alper, but I struggle to think of other great names that did not have some racing connection.
Of course, Newmarket has always had a life outside horseracing but what is it that gives the town its unique liveliness and sets it apart from other smallish market towns?

A good discussion and important from the perspective of NLHS. Other views always welcome.

February 2014

From Mike Taylor from Borough Green in Kent: – I have only ever delivered to Newmarket, or passed through it, but have always been intrigued by the way the Suffolk border “reaches out” and annexes most of Newmarket. Its probably one of those local facts that is so widely known that it is unremarkable, but I would love to know.

This is not an easy question to answer as it is buried in the mists of time.

Sandra Easom has this to add…… The Anglo-Saxons laid down Parish boundaries but the origins of how/why are largely lost. This progressed, I believe in the Middle Ages.

Of course, the Normans altered ownership of everything, but many boundaries of land ownership remained (Domesday map). The county boundaries depicted are modern ones with historical details filled in. Note that Michael Farrar asserts that the county boundaries remained almost unchanged for 800 years after Domesday. He also tells us that a new defining factor came into play after the 1894 Act – Poor Law Union boundaries.

There are so many factors in this debate and I guess it would take a very long time to piece together all the reasons over the centuries, the “whys and wherefores”, for our present county boundaries. The boundaries certainly keep life here interesting…

January 2014

We have had an email from a lady researching the history of horse racing between (roughly) 1850 to 1930, specifically changes in training, animal husbandry and veterinary care.

This reply has come from Sandra Easom and is reprinted here as it may be useful to others with similar interests.

Our Society is specifically interested in the history of the town of Newmarket. However, this does inevitably intertwine with the history of the horseracing industry (although the town was here long before racing).

We have an excellent National Horseracing Museum here and I would suggest that this should be your first point of contact. They have a website. They operate tours of selected racing stables in season.

This is a busy time for them as they are about to move to a new site, just up the road, in the remnant buildings of Charles II’s palace. This is for the new, multi-million pound “Home of Horseracing” project. I believe they have temporarily terminated their online research facilities, but you could contact them by ‘phone. The Museum is still operational and re-opens for the spring/summer/early autumn seasons in March.

I suggest that your best means of research would be to visit Newmarket. Firstly, talk to the Museum. They have a specialist library. There is also a Racing Room (reference only) available to visit in Newmarket (public) Library (closed Monday). No appointment required. There are books in both locations that you might not find elsewhere.

Also in Newmarket is the Headquarters of the Jockey Club. They have a large collection of racing art etc. There are many knowledgeable people there and they might be able to put you in contact with individual stables who have the type of equipment & knowledge you seek (although the Racing Museum will also have material). Jockey Club Estates (distinct from the Racecourses) owns/manages Newmarket Heath, the Gallops and the horse walks.

Please note that the gallops operate at both ends of the town (Clock Tower end & Warren Hill being busiest) from dawn to 1 pm. There are no horses in public after this time. You can photograph horses, but no flash photography allowed and you cannot approach them (dangerous). You might need a camera with zoom as the public are not allowed on gallops when horses are there.

The management of Newmarket Racecourses (we have 2) might be able to help you

We also have one of the largest bloodstock industries in the world based at Tattersalls:

You are correct in saying that training of racehorses has changed dramatically! We no longer layer them in blankets & sweat them and very few ever have to gallop an 8-mile courseThere is also a scientific industry which has grown up around racehorse training and there are two or three equine hospitals/research facilities in the area.