Introduction
in Horseracing and the British 1919–39

Horseracing has a powerful claim to be Britain's leading interwar sport. Study of racing sheds light on a leading national sport that played a key role in the way the British imagined their social world. This chapter examines the relationship between racing and British society and explores the cultural world of racing itself. Racing aroused strong feelings and divisions across class, culture, gender and religion, creating significant cultural dissonance even within classes, although these too show its importance. Horseracing had been a central feature of both urban and pastoral British life since far earlier that any of the other major sports, yet across Britain and across the social classes, attitudes to racing and betting after the First World War also lay along a major fault line dividing British society, representing a struggle for ascendancy between competing value systems.

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