Blaydon Race Course
27 Jun 2022
Horse racing began in Blaydon in 1811, along the quayside. Racing ceased here in 1835 when the railway station opened. From 1861 until 1865 the races were held on Dent's Meadow island in the River Tyne (HER 11552). Horses were walked across to the island from Lemington. Spectators crossed from Blaydon on a bridge made of barges. The song 'Blaydon Races' was written by George 'Geordie' Ridley in 1862. The song mentions the Blaydon bellman, John Brown. He lived in Wesley Place. He died in 1901 aged 82 and is buried in Blaydon cemetery.
The races were transferred to their final site, on Stella Haughs in 1887. Racing ceased after the 1916 meeting, when a riot broke out following the disqualification of the favourite. Stella South Power Station was eventually built on the site (now Riverside Crescent housing estate). William Irving's painting 'The Blaydon Races' was unveiled in 1903. It is on display at Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead, having been bought at auction in 2002. A brown plaque on a brick plinth beside Stella Road faces north over the site of the racecourse. The plaque used to be on the Blaydon Races Hotel which stood nearby.
Ordnance Survey, 1890s
View from Summerhill of the site of Blaydon Racecourse at Ryton Haugh. It was south of the bend in the Tyne. Source: Newcastle Libraries
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