This book provides a detailed consideration of the history of racing in British culture and society, and explores the cultural world of racing during the interwar years. The book shows how racing gave pleasure even to the supposedly respectable middle classes and gave some working-class groups hope and consolation during economically difficult times. Regular attendance and increased spending on betting were found across class and generation, and women too were keen participants. Enjoyed by the royal family and controlled by the Jockey Club and National Hunt Committee, racing's visible emphasis on rank and status helped defend hierarchy and gentlemanly amateurism, and provided support for more conservative British attitudes. The mass media provided a cumulative cultural validation of racing, helping define national and regional identity, and encouraging the affluent consumption of sporting experience and a frank enjoyment of betting. The broader cultural approach of the first half of the book is followed by an exploration if the internal culture of racing itself.

individuals. Newmarket was owned by the Jockey Club, Ascot by the Crown, and Goodwood by the Duke of Richmond. Privately-owned courses increasingly became incorporated. Lewes, formerly run by solicitors Verrall and Co., became Lewes Racecourse Company Ltd. in December 1930.13 Epsom’s middle-classdominated Grand Stand Association became a limited company in 1932. The Association of Racecourse Executives (aka Racecourse Association) was formed in 1920 to look after the interests of all course managements. Meetings varied significantly in social status. ‘Royal’ Ascot was a

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The racecourse and racecourse life

other prestigious meetings. In the Enclosure one could see and be seen, and for favoured individuals the queen might sometimes send an equerry with a specially-worded invitation to join her. The Private Stand at Newmarket, where members of the Jockey Club had to sign and countersign guests, was also highly select. The royal family stood at the apex of the upper class, sharing much of the landed aristocracy’s tastes and lifestyle. King George V had a good knowledge of thoroughbred breeding and racing.15 He enjoyed going to the races, especially at Newmarket, where he

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widely. Crowd numbers at meetings were hard hit in 1926 and 1927, and again in the early 1930s, a period when prices of thoroughbreds also dropped, and breeders suffered. The study has shed new light on gender roles during this period. Men still dominated state, society and sport. Both rugby and soccer were male-dominated. T Conclusion They projected masculine values, and discouraged women’s involvement. In racing, in 1939 women were still unable to be professional jockeys or trainers, or be members of the Jockey Club or NHC. Yet, perhaps because of its sociability

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attack from 1915 onwards.15 Yet gentlemanliness, and its characteristic sporting amateurism, still 5 6 Horseracing and the British, 1919–39 enjoyed strong, although not unanimous, support among commentators on national character.16 Within racing it was the claims of inherited rank, title and status which conferred on its ruling bodies, the Jockey Club and National Hunt Committee (henceforth NHC), their right to rule, to call recalcitrant jockeys before them on the real-life ‘carpet’, to demand that jockeys employed their titles or military rank when they addressed

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raised £40,000. A number of commercial companies were set up to manage such international sales, including the British Bloodstock Agency Ltd, founded in 1911, which handled many interwar sales, and the joint Anglo-Irish Agency Ltd. Horses were insured during travel through Lloyds, and the more general extension of bloodstock insurance was another feature of the period. International links were fostered too by the Jockey Club, which from 1925 increasingly developed reciprocal arrangements with the racing authorities of the same group of countries for the enforcement of

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racecourse valet system, which looked after and transported jockeys’ gear from meeting to meeting. Hislop saw his valet as one of the most important people in his life. Valets and clients, he suggested, formed separate individualistic coteries, ‘rather in the manner of houses at a public school’.12 How many jockeys were there? Jockeys and apprentices had to be licensed by the Jockey Club, so detailed statistics were listed in publications like Ruff ’s Guide or the Racing Calendar, although figures vary slightly. In 1938, while the Racing Calendar quotes 180 flat jockeys

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39

, tennis and golf, and stallions at stud, all suggesting a substantial upper- and middle-class readership. Some public libraries stocked it and at least one public school, Charterhouse, carried a copy in the school library.13 At Dean Close school, Cheltenham, pupils read it.14 An annual summary, Ruff ’s Guide to the Turf, which gave a complete record of all racing under Jockey Club and National Hunt rules, cost 15s in 1921, rising to 30s in 1930. A similar, but slightly more working-class sporting paper, the Sportsman, covered racing, football, billiards, athletics

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supposedly adverse consequences of working-class betting, mediating the views of punters through the eyes and ears of anti-gamblers, police, bookmakers, the Jockey Club, or similar interest groups. A pathological view of betting, and the ethical, moral, social and economic arguments surrounding its consequences, dominated. The real meanings of betting for ordinary people were neglected. I 70 Horseracing and the British, 1919–39 Recent academic research has also largely focused on working-class, ‘popular’ betting, reflecting contemporary state and press concerns, and

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