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Earliest meeting: Monday 16th October 1854
Final meeting: Tuesday 16th October 1866
The Birmingham suburb of Smethwick is in the west of the city close to Handsworth and Edgbaston. In the middle of the 1850s the town held race meetings at the rear of the Swan Inn which was owned by Mr Rudge. The inaugural 2 day meeting took place on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th October 1854 on the mile and a half course which was conveniently within walking distance of the railway station. In the opening Smethwick Handicap Hurdle Alma defeated Larry O’Gaffe. The next year a 2 day meeting was held on Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th October but was billed as Handsworth Races. However, the course was next to the Blue Gates Inn and attracted a crowd in excess of 20,000. In the principal Handsworth Stakes Vestige beat Tomyns. Races did continue in the area for the next few years, usually in conjunction with the annual Wake or Fair, but the final record of a 2 day meeting was on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th October 1866. The course was at the rear of the Swan Inn, next to the Blue Gates, and the principal race was the Innkeepers’ Stakes which went to Nidderdale.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Rudge
Principal Races Smethwick Stakes, Smethwick Handicap Hurdle

Tuesday 16th October 1866
Smethwick Innkeepers’ Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Nidderdale, 4 year old owned by Mr Dimmick
2. Artillery, bay gelding owned by Mr Smith

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 16th October 1866.
Course today A 1 ½ mile course at the rear of the Swan Inn.
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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