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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 31st July 1787
Final meeting: Friday 19th April 1872
The first evidence of racing in the town of Knowle, now subsumbed into the city of Birmingham, was an article in the Birmingham Gazette recording a race on Tuesday 31st July 1787. It was to be a further 65 years before the next meeting on Monday 12th April 1852. The two mile triangular course over grass land included natural fences and a wide brook, and was situated less than three miles from the railway station. The next year, on Monday 28th March 1853, a new course was selected because it embraced a circle of grass land in the immediate vicinity of Knowle, about a mile from the Oxford and Birmingham Railway. It contained an extremely awkward, sharp turn on the descent from the hill, and an ugly ditch on the take-off side of the leap. However, a large Easter Monday crowd in excess of 8000 witnessed Mr Land’s The Screw win the opening Free Handicap Steeplechase from Nom de Guerre. The principal race of the day was the Birmingham Grand Annual Steeplechase which was won by the 5/2 favourite Shinrone. Races continued for a further 19 years before the final card was staged on Friday 19th April 1872, when the concluding race, the Packington Park Stakes, was won by Industry. It seemed a highly appropriate race to end with given that the races left Knowle for Packington Park, albeit labelled as the ‘North Warwickshire Hunt meeting’.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain Scott, Mr S Merry, Mr John Sheldon
Principal Races Grand Military Steeplchase, Birmingham Grand Annual, Knowle Hunt Stakes

Monday 28th March 1853
Birmingham Grand Annual Steeplechase over 4 miles
1. Shinrone, chestnut gelding owned by Mr Wycherley
2. Tipperary Boy, brown horse owned by Mr Spencer Lucy
3. Victress, brown mare owned by Captain Scott
Betting: 5/2 Shinrone, 3/1 Talisman, 4/1 Tipperary Boy

The final meeting took place on Friday 19th April 1872.
Course today Over grass land less than 3 miles 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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