NEWMARKET LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
The Society meets every third Tuesday of the month from September to April at 7.30 pm at The Stable, High Street Newmarket (unless otherwise noted) when we have a visiting speaker. During the summer months (except August) we usually arrange trips to local places of historic interest.
N.L.H.S. SITE INDEX
- Calendar of Events
- How to join NLHS
- Newmarket's Origins
- Newmarket and Horseracing
- The Devils Dyke
- Richard Parkinson jockey
and the Duke of Augustenborg
- Forthcoming events
- Recent Events
- Correspondence & Queries
- Family History research
- Local History & Other books
- Local Fire Tragedies
- The Workhouse/Institution
- Crime & punishment in the 19th century
- Links to related sites
- Committee members
- Contact Us
- Newmarket during the Great War
- The Bombing of Newmarket in February 1941
- The RAF in wartime Newmarket
- Memories of the Home Guard
- Alex Henshaw MBE
- Old Icewell Hill.
- The old Grosvenor Yard
- Musk's Newmarket sausages, history
- Woolworths history
- The Cinema in Newmarket
- Rous Road Architecture
- The History of the Telephone Service in Newmarket
- The Admiralty Shutter Telegraph
- Oaks Lodge/Park history
- The Houldsworth Valley Nissen Huts
- Past Personalities
- Russian Officers training in Newmarket
- The Railway comes to Newmarket.
- Mystery Places
Not so many people are aware of this memorial plaque on the Rowley Mile Millennium Grandstand complex.
It recalls the activities of the RAF during the war years and the actions of Corporal Jack Taylor, George Medal and British Empire Medal.
A very brave man who survived the war and who later took an important part in Newmarket's local government.
More about Jack and his awards appear on our Correspondence section (see January 2006).
Photo Keith Paterson
March 21st 2017 Chapman's 18th century map of Newmarket is thought to be the oldest published plan of the town. Some recemt correspondence has brought to light more details of where copies are now held (see March 2017 Correpondence from Index below).
January 6th 2017. Well known Cambridgeshire historian Mike Petty has contacted us about the latest version of his Cambridgeshire Collection website which contains a vast number of intriguing tit-bits of history about many Cambridgshire villages and towns, from 1895 and covering most of the 20th century. Of particular interest to our members is the Newmarket Scrapbook file, which to quote Mike has "90 pages that hardly mention horseracing". Among the many items mostly culled from Cambridgeshire newspaper reports are some real gems, such as the report of the man who wanted to pull down the Clock Tower, or the discovery of the Ice Well. Well worth perusal. Go to Cambridgeshire Collection
December 20th 2016 At our final meeting for 2016, we had welcome bites and drinks, an excellent quiz run by Chris Easom, an invitation to mark local places with our special memories on large scale maps of old Newmarket (David Rippington) and most of all, we enjoyed good Christmas fellowship. At our meeting on Tuesday 15th November 2016 Sandra Easom gave an illustrated talk on the history of The Devil's Dyke, the Anglo-Saxon earthworks that for the central part of its length borders the July racecourse. Apart from being a site of great archeological interest The Dyke also supports a wealth of flora and fauna and makes a very interesting and varied walk along its 7 mile length.
In a new article for our website we take an imaginary walk from Woodditton at the southern end to Reach at its northern extremity. See Index above, or Devil's Dyke
September 20th 2016.At our monthly meeting we were at last able to make proper presentations to Rosemary Foreman, who retired in April this year after completing 20+ years as NLHS Secretary. For pictures go to Recent Events from Index above. May 24th 2016 It is probably safe to say that few people now living are aware the Newmarket had a third official airfield during WWII.
An email from Kenneth Bannerman of the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust has established that Side Hill was used for military purposes during late 1940 and continued as an ELG (Emergency Landing Ground) through the war (see Correspondence 24th May 2016)
April 16th 2016. Just occasionally we receive what appears at first to be a fairly mundane family history enquiry that turns out to uncover an interesting story involving Newmarket history. So it is with an appeal for assistance from Poul Krog from Denmark who wrote to us about a 19th century Newmarket jockey, Richard Parkinson. The story of how Richard became associated with the Duke of Augustenborg and the intrigue over the Duke's son is now told in a special article researched and compiled by NLHS member David Rippington. You can read this by selecting from Index above, or select here February 15th 2016. We have made past references to Tony Pringle's dedicated work in honouring local personnel who gave their lives in the service of their country during the two world wars. He has published two books, 'Exning Remembers' and 'Newmarket Remembers' both mentioned elsewhere on this website (the latter see August 2014 below).
Now his years of research have been brought together on a single website www.undyingmemory.net In addition to Newmarket town records the site covers a surprising number of surrounding villages and gives much detailed service and family information for individual names.
Tony has accomplished a great deal but he is not one to say job done, finished. One advantage of a website over a published book is that it can always be added to and he is pleased to receive additional details should they become available.
Thanks to this work relatives or descendents of those who made the great sacrifice can take comfort in knowing their dead will not be forgotten.
February 2016: Since November 2015 this NLHS site has been hosted by a new internet service provider 1&1, but thanks to the work of David Rippington we have been able to retain the existing web address www.newmarketlhs.org.uk
It was my original intention to hand over the running of the site to a new webmaster but as no volunteer has come forward to date I am happy to continue to maintain the site and continue as webmaster, at least for the time being.
2015. NLHS member David Rippington's website dealing with the history of Newmarket shops continues to grow and provide a valuable addition to the town's history. Anyone with information on pre-war Newmarket shops is invited to contact David via the website. www.newmarketshops.info
An addition to the site covers a history of Newmarket's racecourses which can be viewed at http://www.newmarketshops.info/Newmarkets_Racecourses.html
Newmarket Remembers - A Monumental work.
On August 5th 2014 Tony Pringles's book 'Newmarket Remembers' was launched at a short ceremony at Newmarket Library. The amount of detail about Newmarket and District's war casualties covering two World Wars is a tribute to his remarkable dedication to the subject.
Copies are now very limited but if anyone particularly wants to get hold of one please contact Tony direct.
. (February 2016 All his past research has now been brought together on his website) Undying Memory
July 25th 2014. Over the generations Newmarket has long been host to Royal visitors, who came to the town for the racing and associated pleasures provided by this lively town.
Our website article, Personalities page No 10, deals with the Monarchs from James I onward who found Newmarket to their liking and who through their patronage had varying degrees of influence in shaping the town's future.
Please go to Personalities Page No 10
April 24th 2014. Sandra Easom has discovered on the internet a valuable document by Peter May, the well regarded Newmarket Historian. It is a potted history of Newmarket 500 years ago and was written prior to him publishing 'Newmarket Mediaeval & Tudor'. The document can now be read online select here
Please be aware that this is a pdf. document so you will need Adobe Reader installed on your computer and it could take a while to load, depending on your connection speed.
March 2014. With Russia's involvement in the present unrest in Ukraine it may be a good time to look back at the Russian revolution and how the USSR came into existence. The fascinating part that Newmarket played is covered in our website. We had some lengthy correspondence with a Russian lady Evgenia Chernozatonskya, providing a very personal insight into how the momentous events of 1917 - 1920 affected her grandfather, who spent time in Newmarket. The correspondence has now been included as an addition to the article. select here. January 2014. Thanks to various enthusiastic people, a great source of pictures from Newmarket and district's past, can be found on the Facebook site. You may have to be logged in to view the pictures. From the Facebook site search just enter 'Old Newmarket' to start the series and go to the albums. For those who have not yet discovered the Francis Frith collection of photos of early to mid 20th century Newmarket take a look at Francis Frith's Newmarket Ninety one good quality photos that can be purchased if required. What a far sighted man to go around the country taking pictures of towns and villages that were fast changingCalendar of Events - 2017All events commence at 7.30 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month unless otherwise stated
17th January 2017 - 'The History of the Fire Station'- Martin Hazelwood
21st February - 'The Icknield Way'- David Rippington
21st March - 'Stories from World War 2'- Marion Leeper
18th April - AGM followed by short talk
16th May - Visit to Kentford Church
20th June - To be confirmed
18th July - Visit to Mildenhall Museum
15th August - No Meeting
19th September - 'Picture Postcards from World War 1'- Vanessa Mann
17th October - 'The History of Addenbrooke's Hospital'- Hilary Ritchie
21st November - 'Wrought by Fire'- Sandra Easom
19th December - Christmas party
How do I join the Newmarket Local History Society?
It is quite simple really, you may do so by attending one of the programmed meetings, the doors open at 7 pm, and you can then join whilst there, the cost is just £8 per head, or you may wish to visit for one evening without commitment, this will cost £2 and you can go away and decide.
NEWMARKET'S ORIGINS (notes provided by N.L.H.S Committee Member Sandra Easom)
Mention Newmarket and most people think of the pounding hooves of horses and rolling expanses of green turf. The town is justly famous for both of these but its very long and varied history goes far beyond what most people expect.
Unlike most mediaeval towns, Newmarket is not centred on either of its parish churches, St. Mary's or All Saints'. Rather, it is centred on the initial reason for its existence - the ancient Icknield Way - the oldest road in Britain. Its original route followed Palace Street, past All Saints' Church and across the present day cemetery. The Icnield Way also took other courses, notably through Stetchworth and Woodditton. People have journeyed along the Icknield Way since the Stone Age when flint was mined in Grimes Graves in Norfolk and then supplied an extensive trade network.
The area where Newmarket now stands has springs of water and a small river which is essential for any settlement. Bronze Age barrows, showing evidence of early occupation, were scattered across Newmarket Heath until the 19th century when they were cleared to make better conditions for horse racing.
Later, nearby Exning was a main settlement of the Iceni tribe (best remembered for their famous Queen Boudicca or Boadicea who led a major rebellion against the Romans). The Iceni were renowned breeders of horses and dogs, so the Heath has probably seen many more races than we are aware of!
The area where the town now stands was given as dowry to Sir Richard de Argentein in 1200 A.D. when he married Cassandra, daughter of Robert de Insula, Lord of the manor of Exning. Sir Richard encouraged development of the town and was granted a charter for a market almost immediately by the King. In 1223 Newmarket received its first charter for an annual fair. It is important to note that the Plague arrived at Exning in 1227. Therefore, the Victorian theory that people left Exning to start a new town at Newmarket at this time cannot be true (although it is very persistent!).
Newmarket thrived because of its market and a lucrative trade in accommodating travellers and so it continued for centuries, until King James I "discovered" its Heath in February 1604 as a great leisure venue for his court and Newmarket's sporting associations began.....
NEWMARKET AND HORSERACING
The local history of Newmarket is inextricably tied up with the history of horseracing. The town is home to the National Horseracing Museum, which from the autumn of 2016 moved to its new premises in the old Palace House Stables.
An enlightening article on Newmarket's racing history and the work of the museum written by the former Museum Director, Hilary Bracegirdle appears on this site select article here
The museum also has a very good website of its own www.nhrm.co.uk where much information on Newmarket's racing past is available.
Newmarket Local History Society and the National Horseracing Museum have much in common in that we both receive many queries from people on topics related to horseracing. Often people wish to enquire about their forebears who were jockeys, or in some way connected to racing. As Hilary says in her article, it is difficult to trace individuals unless they were high profile personalities. The best approach for persuing ordinary family history queries is through the Bury St Edmunds County Records office (for Suffolk related queries) or The Cambridgeshire Family History Society (for the Cambridgeshire part of Newmarket). Both the Museum and our Society wish to be as helpful as possible and welcome any queries of general interest. Queries to the Museum should be addressed in writing to Graham Snelling, Deputy Director/Curator, National Horseracing Museum, 99 High Street, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 8JS. Our Society's postal and e-mail addresses are given on page 3.
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