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Correspondence 2016

December 1st, 2016

from Richard Fletcher :-I was interested to see details of Severals House on Bury Road on your website but could you tell me anything about the nearby and contemporary Bury Hill House (also once known as Warren Cottage and Bethany House.) We have deeds showing that Col James Machell once owned the property, along with much of the rest of the “Bedford Estate”.

The information was on David Rippington’s Newmarket Shops website. He has supplied this additional information: No.5 Bury Road – Bury Hill House Previously Bethany House 1936 Warren Cottage Cox, Alexander R.
1926 Warren Cottage Cox, A.R.
1916 Warren Cottage Cox, Alfred William
1904 Warren Cottage Cox, Alfred William
1901 Warren Cottage Frances Latter – Housekeeper – The house is not listed on the 1891 census, George William Tharp was born in Chippenham Park in 1814 and died on 23rd March 1884 (which is probably why Warren Cottage was empty in 1891), but if you look back further you get these results:-
1881 Warren Cottage George W. Tharp
1871 Warren Cottage Elizabeth Edwards, Housekeeper
Captain James Octavius Machell lived-in next-door Bedford House from 1864 until he died on 11th May 1902

November 19th, 2016

from Luke Elsdon-Dean :- This query is relating to the history of the post office building in the High Street, Newmarket.

For some time now I have noticed the keystone of the external doorway to the parcel office, which appears to depict a caduceus (two snakes winding around a winged staff) and I was wondering what this could mean. I hope you will be able to help me out with this, I’m unsure as to whether the building had a previous use as a medical facility or whether the symbol has another meaning?

Your query has created some interest among our members. The most likely explanation for the Caduceus symbol used as keystone of the doorway of your building is its association with Hermes – in Greek mythology the speedy messenger of the gods. There is a distinction between the double and the single serpent symbol, the latter more used in connection with medicine, such as apothecaries.

Member Tony Pringle, has pointed out that the Hermes symbol is used on the badge of The Royal Corps of Signals, and the Rod of Asclepius for the Medical Corps.

The images here show the difference: The caduceus on the left is the rod held by Hermes the messenger, and the Rod of Asclepius the healer on the right.

The most confusion is in the U.S.A. where the caduceus is so often used as the medical symbol
Another member, David Rippington, runs Newmarket Shops website and goes into some detail about the history of the site where the Post Office now stands. You can see this at

November 7th, 2016

from Janet Jeacock :- I have lived in Newmarket for quite a long time now and I have heard about the Local History Society.

We live in The Hamiltons. A couple of days ago another resident showed me a photograph of Hamilton House – which I gather was knocked down to allow for the building of our houses. It looked a lovely house, and I went on the internet to try and find out more about it – when it was built – who lived here – etc etc. but all I seemed to be able to get were the houses in Hamilton Road that are now on the market – nothing about the old one.

I wondered if your Society had any information and details about Hamilton House. If you – or someone else – does I would be very grateful if they would be kind enough to send them to me. That would be lovely. I have spoken to some of my neighbours, and they all say they too would love to know about Hamilton House.

This from our member David Rippington:- It would appear that Hamilton House was built by Sir James Percy Miller, 2nd Baronet.He’s shown there in Kelly’s 1904.,_2nd_Baronet Miller established a breeding farm at Hamilton Stud, Newmarket, where Rock Sand was foaled. He was elected a member of the Jockey Club in 1903. A housekeeper: Ellen Roser Gower, is shown living there on the 1911 census.

Unable to find the house on any earlier censuses, although that might be because originally this land was part of Exning Parish and was purchased by the Jockey Club in 1888.

In 1922 Hamilton House was occupied by Frank Curzon – details about him can be found on this page on my web site – He was a successful actor and entertainment entrepreneur.

Later in life he became a very successful racehorse breeder. No.38-40 High Street is Primrose House – Cartwright’s – the house, stables and paddock were sold to him c.1914 – 1918. So from this Frank must have moved into Hamilton House sometime between 1918 and 1922. The 1936 street directory still has him at Hamilton House – Curzon, The Hon Francis N.

In later years Willie Snaith and his wife Silvia initially moved into Hamilton House and then they later moved to Warren Place where Willie rode for Sir Noel Murless and was later a valued work rider for Henry Cecil.
Hamilton House is shown on the 1959 map of Newmarket, and I think I have a vague recollection of it still being there – so it must have been demolished sometime in the mid 1960s – this was presumably after Willie Snaith moved out.

October 9th, 2016

from Michael Tanner: – I am writing the biography of jockey George Fordham and would be keen to speak with any descendants. I notice from the Newmarket Local History Society website that back in March 2006 a MISS CAROLINE FORDHAM contacted the Society in search of any material on GF, whom she thought might be her grandparent or great grandparent. GF was survived by one son (George Christopher) and three daughters – which limits Miss Fordham’s possible connection to GF to one line.

Would you have Miss Fordham’s email or contact details? If she hails from or near Slough, Brighton or Burton-on-Trent she may well be a descendant since these are the towns associated with GF and his family.

Sorry I cannot now access this 10-year-old email, but perhaps someone is able to help (webmaster) It maybe that Miss Fordham is using Ancestry and is contactable that way. You may well already be using Ancestry in your own research, but it will rely on Miss Foreman having put her family tree online

June 29th, 2016

from Nigel Holmes: – I have lived on Falmouth Avenue for the past 3 years. In that time, I have been renovating our home, which is opposite Lansdowne House, (Belvedere). While digging both the front and rear gardens I have come across old foundations. I was wondering if you have any knowledge of what used to be on this site before our house was built?

With the help of our members and correspondent Geoffrey Woollard we can say that the most likely explanation is that the foundations are the remains of old stable buildings associated with Lansdowne House, which must have been extensive. The original house was built by John Watts (1861 -1902) and like many of the Newmarket gentry at that time he had strong racing interests. His funeral was attended by many notable people both from within and outside the racing community. A floral tribute was sent by the King.

Lansdowne House became a care home in the late 20th century but was eventually demolished and rebuilt as five dwellings as it is today. The one in the centre retains the name Lansdowne. (webmaster)

May 24th, 2016

from Kenneth Bannerman of The Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust: – Apologies for this email but may I please ask if (a) either you or (b) any other organisation/individual you know of has information/knowledge of the following airfield in your area: Limekilns (Sidehill) (sic, as quoted in the files below)

This airfield was mentioned in two extremely obscure files dating from 1946 relating to World War Two RAF airfields at The National Archives in London but effectively no other information has come to light, apart from confirmed use of Side Hill by the Glider Training Squadron during November/December 1940. We do mention Side Hill on our website, but ABCT would be interested in any details concerning the following:

  • Precise location of airfield
  • Opening and closing dates of airfield
  • All other relevant historical facts.

N.B. This airfield may well also have served as an Emergency Landing Ground (ELG) in World War Two, though this currently remains pure speculation, especially given the site did not unfortunately prove a success in its military gliding capacity.

The Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust (ABCT) is the world’s first national airfield charity and is making a real difference to the betterment of society as a whole. We have to date erected 54 memorials to excellent effect, while our 3,000-page website is similarly proving very popular with confirmed in-depth visits from 175 foreign countries (if your council or any other associated organisation wishes a mutual web link with ourselves, as a number have already done, then do let us know).

However, many airfields such as the above example remain extremely badly documented, therefore any information about this airfield or indeed any other British airfield – would be most welcome; conversely it would be appreciated if you would inform us that neither you or anyone else do not possess any other details.

Further correspondence with Kenneth Bannerman has established that Side Hill was occupied as a Glider Training Unit during late 1940. This was in connection with the future use of towed gliders for dropping troops by parachute. Later the Horsa and Hamilcar troop carrying gliders were flow from the Rowley Mile airfield towed by Halifax or Whitley aircraft. Although Side Hill proved unsuitable after protests from Bomber Command and the Jockey Club, it continued as an ELG (Emergency Landing Ground) and therefore officially qualified as an airfield. It is not know whether Side Hill was used by the Racing industry for training purposes during WWII (webmaster)

On this subject Tony Pringle has drawn attention to an intriguing incident relating to the proposed use of Side Hill: Was this mysterious stranger a spy or perhaps a security service plant?

From “The Wooden Sword” by Lawrence Wright, the untold story of the Glider in World War II
Of several such fields, the least uninviting was Side Hill, an emergency landing ground at Newmarket. Bombers operated from those parts, but their Group did not object to us provided we would knock off at nightfall. The surroundings gallops offered ample margin for pilot error. Sam Darling’s desirable and almost empty training establishment adjoined the field and could be requisitioned. Side Hill was agreed, and in mid-November our advance party moved in.

Squadron Leader Admin came down from Ringway to discuss our affairs. Joined at the bar of the Rutland Arms by an authoritative civilian whom everybody assumed to be from Air Ministry or Works or something, and to be known to all the others, the conference adjourned to a private room. The newcomer was taciturn but attentive. He was staying, he mentioned, in Room 3. He was never seen again after the meeting, and Room 3 proved to be one of the public rooms on the ground floor. It was unanimously agreed that nobody had said anything that really mattered. A detachment with two or three officers cannot be operated in watertight compartments; they have to muck in.

April 27th, 2016

from Jackie Ross:- I am hoping that someone can help me solve a mystery please: I have found a pack of playing cards for the game of ‘Newmarket’. The cards look very old! I have paper directions too, suggesting how to play with the 52 cards, which feature jockeys and horses. I have been trying to research the game but have come up with nothing. Do you have any ideas? Maybe you have a historian who can fill in the gaps. I would be very pleased to hear back from you and I appreciate your time.

Our members know of versions of the game and other versions can be found on the internet but all of them use ordinary playing cards, not pictures of jockeys and horses. It could be that it is an old game originating in Georgian times. If anyone knows more, we would be glad to hear from them (webmaster).

April 4th, 2016

My name is Poul Krog and I live in Denmark. My major interest is Danish horse racing in the old days. I try to find information about this English jockey: Name: Richard Robert Parkinson…Born 16.5.1817 in Newmarket, UK…Worked as a jockey in Denmark 1835-1844 ….He left presumably Denmark in 1844.

I want to know something about him and his family. Did he return to Newmarket in 1844? Did he have a wife and kids? When did Richard Parkinson die?

This enquiry led us on to uncover an intriguing story about Newmarket jockey Richard Parkinson and his involvement with the Duke of Holstein, a member of the Danish Royal Family. You can read the story on a special article on this website, select from the “Personalities” in the Sitemap (webmaster)

April 4th, 2016

from Ted Robbins :- We corresponded some time ago about Octavius Machell’s grave. Regarding another matter you may be able to help me with: Machell started in Newmarket at a small establishment in Kennett. Several trainers were later involved with a stud/stable in Kennett and George Alexander Baird also had his stud there before moving up the road to Moulton Paddocks. Are all of these references to what is now called Meddler Stud, or is there another stable somewhere? Meddler Stud seems to be in Kentford and not Kennett so this is what is confusing me.

Most of what we know about Machell is covered in our website Personalities feature.

Our NLHS members and contacts have come up with answers to what has been confusion between Kentford and Kennett and the boundary between the two parishes that also separates East Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. There is no doubt, however, that the stud was at Kentford House which still exists in Kentford (Suffolk) and that it has been associated with several famous names in racing history including Fred Webb, Captain James Octavius Machell, James Joseph Jewitt, Tom Skelton, Sam Pickering, George Alexander Baird (The Squire), James Walker Lanarch.
Meddler Stud, Kentford, has been in the Leach family’s ownership for many years.

Our information is that William (Bill) Leach (born 1933) has it now but it appears to be called Meddler Hall Stud. Bill’s father was Henry Beresford (Chubb) Leach (1907 – 1970) who also trained at Queensberry Lodge, as did his father, Felix Watmough Leach (1867 – 1952).

Up to 1919 Lillie Langtry was a neighbour at Regal Lodge which also had its own training grounds.
Thanks to members David Rippington, Tony Pringle and correspondent Mr Geoffrey Woollard for information supplied.

March 27th, 2016

From Michael Spry: – I note from the 1926 map that there was an auction mart situated behind the Coronation Hotel, presumably built as part of the new station development. Could you please tell me when the auction mart first opened, what was sold there and when it closed?

The 1926 map clearly show the Cattle Auction Market behind the Coronation Hotel. It was adjacent to the cattle pens situated on the wide railway bridge over top end of The Avenue/New Cheveley Road. At the time cattle were often transported by rail. By the 1930s the market had moved to the site behind The Waggon & Horses Inn in High Street. For a time, cattle were driven through the streets to the High Street site following the tradition of the old cattle drovers of the past.

At present we do not know the opening and closing dates of the Rail Station market and if anyone has this information, we would be pleased to hear from them (webmaster)

February 23rd, 2016

from Chris Liesack (Chaloner): – I would like to bring to your attention, that the first ‘ever’ lady trainer, is buried in an unmarked grave, completely forgotten, in Section A Plot 52 in Newmarket Town Cemetery. Her husband Tom may also be buried with her, but apparently the records do not go back as far as 1886. Ellen, daughter of one of the most famous trainers of the times, ‘Old’ John Osborne, who was the owner / trainer of the famous mare ‘Agnes’ from whom descended Ormonde, Sceptre etc. Ellen out lived her husband by nigh on 56 years, riding her hunter well into her 90’s.

Out living all her SIX sons, and one daughter. Some records say she had eight children, but one called ‘John’ cannot be located on any records to date. Of those sons, 4 became jockeys and/or trainers, and resided at numerous famous stable in Newmarket over a period of time: Richard (1873-1943), who was a relatively successful jockey, who won the ‘Cesarewitch’, and two Grand Metropolitan’s on ‘Ragimunde’. Is also buried in an unmarked grave in the same cemetery as Ellen, Section U, plot no. 237, after a long illness died in Newmarket on 15th November 1943. She rode out most Sundays with the late Fred Archer’s daughter on Newmarket Heath, helping to look after her, after Fred Archer’s suicide.

Clearly a very remarkable woman, who I hope you all would believe to be honoured in some way at the new heritage centre, possibly a race named after her, and most of all a headstone! After all, being the first ever lady trainer, and so many connections through her family with Newmarket, the world’s home of racing. I truly hope you think it’s a no-brainer!

A comment from NLHS Chair Sandra Easom :- Jockey Club records show that Ellen was licensed as a trainer in 1886.
This lady was someone who was a resident of the town and did something no-one else of her sex had been allowed to do officially before – it is just that it happened to be connected to horseracing (hardly a surprise in Newmarket). Even the old Duchess of Montrose and Lily Langtry were forbidden to enter their horses in races, or openly bet on them. They had to enter them under pseudonyms via the head lad’s application.

Thanks to Tony Pringle’s transcription of the burial records and the work of other members in transcribing and photographing the monument we can safely say that her husband Thomas John (d.1886) is buried beside Ellen (d.1944), in A13, the next grave towards the hedge in Old Ground A. This double plot is the resting place of 6 more Chaloners, children or grandchildren of Thomas J and Ellen. ‘John’ may have been William John, but there was a John who died in 1886 at one year old (so 8 children in total).

February 2nd, 2016

from Rose Stone :- My name is Rose Stone and I’ve been in contact with Robin Ketley who gave me your email address. I tried the website he forwarded to me but it was no help. I’m looking for someone who can help me locate information regarding the history of Etheldreda House, owned by my Great Grandfather Frederick Webb. I am happy to pay for services if you could just point me toward anyone who might be able to help. Thank you for any help you can send. Rose.

This should help you, from one of our members, David Rippington.
“Quite a few details about the jockey Fred Webb and Etheldreda House can be found on my web site – Etheldreda House is now Brickfield Stud in Exning.”
I have tried this link and it works OK. I think the problem you had with the link that Robin sent you was Google just trying to be too clever. If this one does not work copy and paste it into the address bar of an Internet Explorer browser, or one of your regular websites. Sometimes Google thinks it knows better than you.
Do come back to us if you have any more difficulty. Rodney.

January 27th, 2016

From Nick Fry who lives in the I.O.W.: – I have recently acquired an old wooden frame with a name plaque on which is engraved ‘A R Golding, Ironmongers Newmarket’. I have restored the frame and created an occasional table from it and would love to know who the above were and whether this firm still exists today. If you do have any information, I would love to hear from you. (Phone number enclosed)

Our members have established that this was Albert Robert Golding, born 1862, who had an ironmonger’s business in Newmarket in the late 19th century. The business was sold to F W Hobbs c. 1905 who for many years had the well-known ironmongers shop in High Street. Albert was the son of Samuel Golding who founded the tailor’s shop that still bears the Golding name today. For a detailed history of the ironmonger business run by A R Golding and later by the Hobbs family go to here (webmaster)

January 2016

from Kevin Slaney:- My Grandmother, Mona Milward (née Count), lived in Exning Road most of her life from childhood. Before she died, she told me that as a small girl she and her three sisters and one brother went down to outside the camp fence where the Russians were housed who were bored with life in the camp and apparently were not allowed to leave (in fact she had I think mistakenly believed they were POW’s). The Russians persuaded the children to run a race, on which the Russians placed bets.

My Grandmother said she won the race, for which the Russians gave her a sixpenny coin (a “tanner”) which was quite a lot of money in those days. She said that when she got home her parents were horrified that she had been down to where the Russians were, and she got a spanking and was forbidden to ever go there again. She told me it was the only time she was ever spanked by her father. She says the camp was down a cut through from Exning Road to Fordham road called The Jock. My Grandmother told me that during World War 2, when she lived in Newmarket on Exning Road for part of the war, there was an Italian Prisoner of War camp somewhere down Hamilton Road near where it joins Exning Road.

She told me that their family pet cat disappeared at that time and only returned, looking very thin and suffering from mange, when the war ended. She was later told that apparently it had been kept as a pet in the camp by the Italian prisoners. My Mother who was 6 years old at the time also remembers this.

I recall that at Exning Road’s White Lodge Hospital, before the main old building was turned it some very nice homes, somewhere in the grounds there was an anchor design laid out in pebbles and concrete in the ground. This as far as I know is no longer there. I was told by my grandfather, Ted (Edward) Milward, that it had been put there by German prisoners that had been on U-boats, who were made to work on maintaining the hospital. I remember seeing this anchor pattern and I had even photographed it many years ago (pre-digital photography) but sadly I have lost the photograph.

I suppose the photo might turn up again one day, I hope so. I was quite shocked when I went to look for the anchor again some years ago that this interesting little part of history was removed at some point, presumably when the hospital was redeveloped, but of course if no-one knew what it was it was unlikely it would have been preserved. It is possible that the information I was told about the anchor design at the old White Lodge Hospital is wrong. There were German U-boats in WW1 as well as in WW2, and of course an anchor may not be specific to U-boats – all ships have anchors.

We had prisoners in the UK during WW1 as well as during WW2, so it could be either and it could be just naval prisoners not necessarily submariners. However, I think it would be German not Italian, as the Italians were not known for having much of a navy (as far as I know) unlike Germany in either of the wars. On balance I would guess my grandfather, who was still a middle-aged man when he told me this, may have been right about it being WW2 U-boat prisoners putting it there.

It is interesting that the English Heritage list of WW2 POW camps in the UK makes no mention of the Italian camp in Newmarket, or German POW’s at Newmarket Hospital. They do say their list is incomplete, so that may be one explanation. Alternatively, I suppose prisoners may have been billeted on studs and farms and even the hospital, and in some cases have not been considered much of a risk of escaping because they either had no desire to escape or it was almost impossible to escape from an island such as the UK is.

My father, Ted (Edwin) Slaney, who lived in Exning Road as a boy, told me that when he was a boy, he and some other boys would sneak into Brickfields Swimming Pool after it was closed and swim there for free. I hadn’t known there had been a swimming pool there, before the time of the “top of the town” one (also gone now) near the Daniel Cooper Memorial.

It is only thanks to Newmarket History Society’s website I know it was called Brickfields. My father just said it was near Exning. Interestingly he told me that as an apprentice bricklayer during WW2 he worked on most of the more substantial air raid shelters in Newmarket, including one near the Post Office and Jockey Club in the High Street and one at the bottom of Field Terrace Road near the allotments.

I hope these little tidbits of info are of interest. Please feel free to publish them in your blog/website/whatever – I hope you do publish them. I wanted to give them to Newmarket History Society before they are lost with me – I am the only person left apart from my mother who knows these things – my grandparents and father are dead, so I want to pass on these small but interesting (I hope) things for anyone interested in the world to have access to, rather than they be lost.

Thank you for your interesting comments Kevin. Your grandmother’s memories supplement our website article on The Russians in Newmarket. It seems that The Jock ran close to the Brickfields Camp which would support our view that the Russian officers were billeted there. One of our members believes that The Jock still exists although it may have been overtaken by more recent developments in that part of the town. Can anyone say for sure? Regarding the Anchor design at White Lodge, Peter Norman has this one below.

The anchor was bricks set in the concrete, bottom left in 2nd photo, at the junction of ‘A’ ward and ‘Pneumonia Alley’

Your comments about POW camps and swimming pools are also interesting. During WWII Newmarket was certainly host to personnel of many different nationalities. The pool near The White Lion Hotel was called “The Dip” pre-WWII and I have painful memories of swimming lessons there when the water was very cold (Rodney for NLHS)