TURNING ANOTHER PAGE ON THE HISTORY OF UTTOXETER RACECOURSE
Tue, Dec 1, 2015
A new book, containing the complete history of horse racing in Uttoxeter - researched and written by author, racing historian and enthusiast Jim Beavis, has now been launched.
Starting from the 18th century, when point-to-point pre-dated Uttoxeter Racecourse, through to the present day, the book outlines how it all started, how it has evolved, and tells the full story of the good, the-bad...and the ugly.
The author of several similar books focusing on racecourses around the UK, Beavis has always had a keen interest in racing, fuelled by his parents taking him to Brighton races aged eleven. Since then he has also become interested in racing history. This is the fifth racecourse he has written about, the others being the closed 19th century course at Croydon, and the very much open southern tracks at Brighton, Fontwell Park and Bath. Like the new book about Uttoxeter Racecourse these were written in his spare time as light relief from the office job in central London, from which he retired earlier this year.
"I live in southeast London and though I've written other books about racecourses I knew little about Uttoxeter until I was given the opportunity to write this one," he explains. "It's been very enjoyable getting to know the area and I have benefited tremendously from the help given to me by numerous local people. I hope the book will appeal not only to racing fans but also to those interested in the history of the town and its relationship with the racecourse."
Uttoxeter Racecourse was built and opened in 1907 by a company formed to take over the licence of Keele Park Racecourse, which had recently ceased to operate. There were five days of racing in 1907, and - according to The Racecourse of Great Britain and Ireland - "the meeting is largely patronised by the nobility and gentry and sportsmen in the county there being 100 members already subscribed to the Club".
The Introduction provides the perfect 'teaser' for the rest of the book:
"It is a winter's evening in a spartan office on Uttoxeter racecourse. The last race was run a couple of hours ago. The final racegoer has gone home, but for the racecourse manager the day is not over. Here in the security of the cash office all the day's takings have been brought together. Not too bad, but the course owes an awful lot of money.
Local firms based in and around Uttoxeter are amongst those who have been owed money for months. He pays off the smaller firms who are in most urgent need, so that they in turn can pay their staff and their creditors. There is nowhere near enough to pay everyone, but the manager does the best he can. At the end there is £4 left over.
It cannot go on like this. Could this have been the last day's racing ever to be held at Uttoxeter?
The manager locks up and walks over to the general office, where lights still burn brightly. He goes in. Three strangers turn to look at him.."
Today, the popular and award-winning Uttoxeter Racecourse is 'home' to the Midlands Grand National, which is run each March, as well as the venue for a host of other race meetings and events.
The History of Uttoxeter Racecourse by Jim Beavis is now on sale. Priced £12.95, Annual Members are entitled to a £2.95 discount.
To buy your copy please call the Racecourse office on 01889 562561 or to buy online Click Here