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Newcastle, Town Moor, Race Course
Racing Sports Site
Racing in Newcastle is first recorded in 1632 when the Newcastle Corporation paid £20 for 'two silver potts' to be raced for on Killingworth Moor. There was also an unsuccessful attempt to stage races at Shieldfield in the 17th century. The Town Moor became a racing venue in 1721, and races continued at both sites throughout the 18th century, but the Town Moor attracted larger events due to its position next to the North Turnpike Road. The last race at Killingworth was in 1794. The town Moor racecourse was just under 2 miles long. The track was triangular in shape, largely unfenced and partially flattened by ground improvement works. There were two entrances into the course. Wealthy race goers arriving in carriages, paid to enter the grandstand and enclosures from the turnpike at the northern end. Visitors on foot entered for free at the southern end onto the racing ground itself. Facilities were largely temporary, consisting of marquees and wooden structures until in 1800 a permanent stone grandstand was built at the north end of the racecourse. It was paid for by subscription, allowing subscribers free entry. The grandstand was damaged by fire in 1844, but immediately rebuilt. Other stands and buildings were added over the course of 19th century. By the end of the century changes in racing were occurring, with the construction of fully enclosed race courses where everyone paid an entrance fee. Consequently the race course was moved in 1881 to Gosforth Park (HER ref. 4246), the last race at the Town Moor being in the summer of 1881. The summer meeting on the Town Moor was replaced in 1882 by a Temperance Festival which still occurs. The grandstand & buildings were converted to the Chadwick Industrial School for Boys. Some earthwork traces survive of the racecourse.
<< HER 4022 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, 1864, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 88 J. Ross, 1995, A Day at the Races Kenton Local History Society, Bulletin No. 7, p 5-15 RCHME, 1995, Town Moor, Newcastle upon Tyne, Archaeological Survey Report, p 12-15 E.M Halcrow, 1953, The Town Moor of Newcastle upon Tyne, Archaeologia Aeliana, 4, XIII, pp 149-164 R.J. Charleton, 1933, A History of Newcastle upon Tyne, p 382; English Heritage, 2008, Hadrian's Wall National Mapping Programme, 1029680; Thomas Oliver, 1852, Plan of the Ancient Boundary of the town and county of Newcastle upon Tyne also of the town moor and castle leazes showing drains and intakes; Aerial Photograph RAF 58/B/32 5239 16-MAY-1948; Pearson, Lynn, 2010, Played in Tyne and Wear - Charting the heritage of people at play, p 14, 26-49;