Horse Racing Photography – Great Yarmouth Festival 2019
Racing at Great Yarmouth was first recorded in 1715, when a lease was granted by the Great Yarmouth Corporation to a group of innkeepers for some land where they could stage race meetings. Racing may well have been taking place there before that date. It was probably intermittent during the eighteenth century, and will often have coincided with the annual town fair. Diverse events such as donkey races and chasing a pig with a soaped tail were held. Not until 1810 did the official Racing Calendar begin to record meetings with thoroughbred races and sufficient prize money. This course, on the South Denes, then became established. A two-day meeting was held in the late summer each year. Not until 1866 did the number of fixtures start to increase. Racing resumed after suspension during World War I, but in 1920 the course was moved to the adjacent North Denes, in the face of pressure from the local fishing industry to expand its premises onto land on the South Denes. Two grandstands were dismantled and relocated to the North Denes, where they are still in use today. Great Yarmouth Racecourse is part of the Arena Racing Company (ARC), which operates 16 racecourses and two greyhound stadiums across the UK. This modern-day course is home to a summer season of 23 flat race meetings attracting top name jockeys, and up-and-coming two-year-old horses, some of which go on to compete and win valuable races as far afield as the USA and Brazil.