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.
which HM the King provides for
those of his subjects who blatantly break the laws’.10
This book does not attempt a full historyofracing, or an account of major
races, horses and jockeys. It has two major focuses: an examination of the relationship between racing and British society, and an exploration of the cultural
world of racing itself. Racing both influenced and was influenced by the social
and economic changes of the interwar years. Racing was riddled with paradox,
and this book helps to disentangle both the complexities of the ways the sport
was organised and
in the ancillary
activities such as sideshows, food and drink provision, tipsters or bookmakers
are next explored, before the chapter concludes with an assessment of the ‘moral
panic’ associated with the racecourse crime of the early 1920s.
Travel to the races was important to the racing experience. Changes in the dominant mode of transport, with their implications for conspicuous display, social
interaction, and patterns of accommodation use in the racing towns, form a
peripheral but important theme in the social historyofracing. As a sport with