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Bromford Racecourse

davidfowler

Exiled Brummie
I posted before that as a small boy I used to watch the racegoers walking down Bromford Lane outside our house opposite the Valour Sports Field with Prince Monalulu (aka Peter Carl MacKay) being one of the colourful characters.

I've just bought a race card from the Easter Meeting 1950, I would have been 4 then, and thought some of you racing aficianados might like to see it.
 

Frothblower

Lubrication In Moderation
Nice one David. I have a vague memory of Bromford Racecourse> I remember the Ticket stalls and Bromford train station. I think it was only open on race days?
 

christopher short

Birmingham Post
Fond memories of Bromford Racecourse in the early 60's, but not for racing. There were rugby and football pitches on the course and our school (Marsh Hill Boys Tech) games afternoons were held there.
 

lencops

gone but not forgotten
Off to the races - at Bromford Bridge in Birmingham

Jan 22 2010 By Chris Upton. With Thanks to the Birmingham Post. Len.



1
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  • next Horse racing was once commonplace in Birmingham, writes Chris Upton.
On June 21 1965, in pouring rain, a horse called Plantation Inn trundled in last in a five-furlong race. It was just after 9.30pm. There would not, in normal circumstances, be anything meritorious in bringing up the rear in a horse race.
But for the horse concerned, an unimpressive nag at the best of times, there was a place in the history books, even if his prospects of a happy retirement in Dubai were receding.


For Plantation Inn was the last horse to finish the last race at Bromford Bridge, Birmingham’s premier racecourse. His less-than-impressive showing brought down the curtain on exactly 70 years of racing at Bromford. Within weeks the diggers would be arriving (at about the same speed) to turn the old racetrack into a housing estate.
Birmingham thus went a little way towards solving its housing crisis, and at the same time waved goodbye to one of its great sporting arenas.
It’s no accident that none of our major cities - with the notable exception of Liverpool - can today boast a racetrack. A mixture of poor weather and poor attendances in the 1960s, the legalisation of betting shops in 1961, together with an insatiable appetite for real estate, put paid to many in these years. Only in smaller towns was the population pressure lower, and the chances of survival higher.
That final race in 1965 - the Farewell Maiden Plate - put paid to more than two centuries of horse-racing in the second city.
The earliest recorded horse-race in Birmingham, according to Chris Pitt and Chas Hammond, took place in May 1747. No doubt there were earlier outings, but the local newspaper - Aris’s Gazette - only began printing in 1741.
Sadly we know not where that first race was run.
Entries, says the Gazette, were to be registered at the Swan Inn on Snow Hill, but is silent as to the venue of the race. The prospect of horses galloping anywhere near Snow Hill today is a terrifying one, but not so unlikely in the mid-18th century. Snow Hill marked the edge of town, and anywhere beyond that was fair game for a horse-race.
They once raced at Smethwick, at Handsworth, at Sparkbrook and even at Deritend.
Land was rented for day, posts hammered into the ground to mark the start and finish, and away they went. At many venues the horses raced once, never to return, but in Hall Green - towards the end of the 19th century - they ran for almost 30 years, and crowds of up to 30,000 turned out, especially for “Nailcasters Derby Day”, an industrial take on the more up-market occasion at Epsom. But as the city of Birmingham spread ever outwards, the open ground needed to race horses dwindled.
By the late 19th century, the racing industry had become thoroughly professional. It was in 1894 that two brothers - John and Stanley Ford - with the backing of a company headed by the Earl of Aylesford, took out a lease on 42 acres of meadowland at Bromford Bridge.
 
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jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
If you type Prince Monolulu's name into the Forum's search engine there is a lot of info about the Bromford Race Course and Prince Monolulu
 

davidfowler

Exiled Brummie
Nice pic Chris. How do you get to these old Google maps, I've looked on Google Earth but can't find a link. That pic you posted should include the cottages where my G Grandad lived and my Grandad and Dad were born. I'd love to see.

Cheers
David
 

paul stacey

master brummie
my dad took me there in the early 50's but the crowds frightened me, I remember the horses very well though.
 

terryb18

Gone but not forgotten R.I.P.
Nice pic Chris. How do you get to these old Google maps, I've looked on Google Earth but can't find a link. That pic you posted should include the cottages where my G Grandad lived and my Grandad and Dad were born. I'd love to see.

Cheers
David
David, open google earth and at the top there is a menu bar, there you will see an icon of a clock. Click on that and then you can get images 1945-1911.

Terry
 

dennis

master brummie
hi David,
There used to be part of the race course left on the Bromford estate,
Probably not there now though, i went a few times with my father, & met "Prince Monalulu"
 

terryb18

Gone but not forgotten R.I.P.
Copied from Wikipedia.

"Ras Prince Monolulu (1881 St Croix, Danish West Indies - 14 February 1965 Middlesex Hospital, London), whose real name was Peter Carl Mackay (or McKay), was something of an institution on the British horse racing scene from the 1920s until the time of his death.[1] He was particularly noticeable for his brightly coloured clothing; as a tipster, one of his best known phrases was the cry "I gotta horse!", which was subsequently the title of his memoirs.[2][3] He frequently featured in newsreel broadcasts, and as a consequence was probably the most well-known black man in Britain of the time.[4]"

Terry
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
I never visited the racecourse myself but it must have been a very popular venue judging by the crowds heading for the buses in one of these photos.

Phil



 

Richard Shephard

master brummie
I remeber Bromford racecourse in the 50s.had a 33/1 winner their on a horse called link latest
it was a great place to go to. shame it was closed down.
 

Neville Philpott

master brummie
I remember being taken to Bromford Bridge racecourse by my Father in the 1950's. He was a lover of the sport but i never really had any interest until i was much older.

One particular day he pointed out a lad who he said was a champion jockey in the making, that lad was one L.Piggott..

For those who may be interested, the winner of the final race at the final meeting was 'The Welshman' ridden by Greville Starkey.
 

crimble

master brummie
I remember playing schools hockey in the middle of Bromford racecourse. I had to get from Kingshurst to Bromford. I walked a mile to the no 14 bus and then caught the 11 bus at Stetchford. I arrived late to be told off by the teacher !! We starting playing and the mist came down and we couldn`t see the other goal so the match was abandoned. Happy days !! This would be around 1963.
 
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