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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 28th June 1848
Final meeting: Friday 28th June 1850
The Cambridgeshire Fenland city of Ely is most famous for its cathedral which dates back to 672 when St Ethelreda built an Abbey. However, the present glorious cathedral was built in 1083 and was granted Cathedral status in 1109. Although now part of Cambridgeshire, the Isle of Ely was once a county in its own right, and the area surrounding the city was effectively an island surrounded by Fenland, not with the deep, rich dark soil which is now so fertile, but with a swamp. In 1626 the fens started to be drained and the water was controlled in dykes surrounding the fields. In the middle of the 19th century the Isle of Ely held races annually to commemorate Her Majesty’s Coronation. Many were minor affairs, often involving ponies or galloways, although on Wednesday 28th June 1848 the Ely Corpoartion Races did contain a thoroughbred race. The most important meeting was staged on Wednesday 21st March 1849 on fields owned by Mr Hall which included a 100 foot long grandstand capable of holding 500 ladies. The meeting attracted a crowd in excess of 5000 when the feature event was the Ely Silver Cup. The last year races of any significance were held was on Friday 28th June 1850 on the same course as previous years. The Ely Ladies Hurdle Cup saw Mr Thomas Pashler’s Metiora beat Mr Seaman’s Sir Tatton.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr John Hall
Principal Races Isle of Ely Silver Cup, Ely Ladies Hurdle Cup

Friday 28th June 1850
Ely Silver Cup
1. Prime Minister, aged horse owned by Mr Jones
2. Frolic, aged horse owned by Mr Harlock
3. Judy, aged mare owned by Mr Haggis

The only recorded meeting took place on Friday 28th June 1850.

Course today On fields, complete with 100 foot long grandstand, owned by Mr Hall.
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.
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  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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