A new book reveals the colourful history of Richmond's racecourse, and the heroes, villains and horses of its Georgian heyday.
A Short History of Richmond Racecourse and its Grandstand, by Prof. Mike Huggins and the Richmond Burgage Pastures Committee is illustrated with fascinating historic engravings, paintings and photos. The book ranges from the early 1500s, when horse-racing in Richmond was first recorded, through the bustling 18th and 19th centuries and the army camps of the 20th century, to the present day, when the course swarms with dog-walkers, and the Grandstand lies half-demolished and with an uncertain future.
Besides the timeline of how racing prospered in Richmond, the book contains a large number of amusing anecdotes about jockeys, trainers, owners and those who wagered a lot of cash on their favourite horses… winning big, but only sometimes.
The book is available for £10 at Richmond Information Centre, in the Market Hall, and at Castle Hill Bookshop. It's also available online: follow the SHOP link above.
(Illustration of Richmond Grandstand, from the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 26 December 1891)