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Town Moor Racecourse

54.991833, -1.622523








Home Teams/Clubs:

Last Updated:

1 Jul 2022

HER Description

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.

Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey, 1890s

'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

Town Moor Racecourse grandstand, undated. Source: Newcastle Libraries

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'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

Site of the racecourse, 2022. A small section of the course is still visible as earthworks, as seen in the bottom of this aerial photo.

Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

HER information as described above is reproduced under the basis the resource is free of charge for education use. It is not altered unless there are grammatical errors. 


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