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Earliest meeting: Thursday 10th November 1881
Final meeting: Wednesday 8th November 1882
The Dorset town of Gillingham lies in the Blackmore Vale district of the county, surrounded by ideal hunting country. In the latter part of the 1800s the town held its own race meetings, initially on Thursday 10th November 1881 in fields known as ‘The Allotments’, the property of the Dowager-Marchioness of Westminster, a short distance from the railway station. The meeting opened with the Wolverton Cup, over 2 ½ miles, for horses hunted with Lord Radnor, Lord Portman, Lord Pembroke, the Blackmoor Vale or South Wilts Hunt, and was won by Mr A W B Clark’s Rafter beating Vendetta II and MP. The Selling Hurdle went to Sir George Elliott, owned by Mr A Yates, and he also won the Open Handicap Hurdle with Albert Cecil. The final meeting was staged the next year on Wednesday 8th November 1882.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Earl Radnor, Lord Wolverton, Mr Alfred Seymour (Stewards)
Principal Races Wolverton Cup, Gillingham Open Hunters Steeplechase

Thursday 10th November 1881
Gillingham Open Hunters Steeplechase over 2 ½ miles
1. Lord Limerick, aged horse owned by Mr D Thirlwell
2. Robert Emmett, 6 year old owned by Mr Delagarde
3. La Mienna, aged horse owned by Mr F J Murphy

The final recorded meeting took place on Wednesday 8th November 1882.

Course today On the allotments just a short distance from the railway station.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
Download an order form
  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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