Monument record MYO2239 - York Racecourse

Summary

In the early 18th century the Knavesmire was drained and levelled. The first race meet took place there in 1731 having moved from Clifton Ings. In the 1750s a grandstand was designed by John Carr; the lower storey is the only part to survive, now incorporated into the Guiness Bar - part of Champagne Terrace. Throughout the 18th century, horse racing became important for the social and economic development of the city. Its significance declined during the first half of the 19th century, but re-emerged in the 20th century as York became one of the major racecourses in the country. The historic Knavesmire Beck, which runs roughly north-south across the Knavesmire was presumably culverted around this time. The racecourse grew between the 19th and 20th century with major developments taking place in the 1920s including the creation of Racecourse Road, the construction of the enclosure walls, and the erection of small ancillary buildings, additional stands and an indicator board and clock tower.

Location

Grid reference Centred SE 5938 4953 (749m by 2238m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SE54NE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Map

Type and Period (1)

Full Description

In the early 18th century the Knavesmire was drained and levelled. The first race meet took place there in 1731 having moved from Clifton Ings. In the 1750s a grandstand was designed by John Carr; the lower storey is the only part to survive, now incorporated into the Guiness Bar - part of Champagne Terrace. Throughout the 18th century, horse racing became important for the social and economic development of the city. Its significance declined during the first half of the 19th century, but re-emerged in the 20th century as York became one of the major racecourses in the country. The historic Knavesmire Beck, which runs roughly north-south across the Knavesmire was presumably culverted around this time. The racecourse grew between the 19th and 20th century with major developments taking place in the 1920s including the creation of Racecourse Road, the construction of the enclosure walls, and the erection of small ancillary buildings, additional stands and an indicator board and clock tower (Character Statement 74).

The oldest building, part of the original 1754 grandstand, is now incorporated into the Guinness Bar. This one-storey brick structure is listed Grade II* and is all that remains of one of the most impressive 18th century grandstands in the country.
Canopies have been added to the front elevation of the earlier structure, which obscure its architectural qualities.
The earliest stand in use is the original section of the County Stand c.1840. The County Stand has been extended and altered on a number of occasions. It is two-storeys in height and constructed of cast iron and timber. Its northern end, constructed in brick c.1890, was at one time used as the Press
Stand (both Grade II listed).
The later stands have a very different character. The Bustardthorpe Stand (early 20th century) at the southern end of the enclosure is constructed of concrete. The name Bustardthorpe refers to the name of a medieval manor adjacent to Middlethorpe The most recently erected stands (Melrose,
Ebor and Knavesmire) are substantial structures, making a major impact upon the surrounding area. The Ebor and Knavesmire stands have adopted a contemporary architectural style.
The old indicator board and clock tower (Grade II listed), c.1922, stand in an isolated position within the loop of the racing track. Contemporary small-scale buildings situated along the eastern edge of the racecourse enclosure have a different character from the stands. These may have been designed by the
same architect as the indicator board, Walter Brierley. These are generally single storey in height and are in a consistent, simple vernacular style. More recent buildings along this eastern edge
of the enclosure, fronting Racecourse Road, have generally been
designed in a similar fashion.
The white painted concrete pedestrian bridge across
Racecourse Road also appears to date from the 1920s. The
bridge is typical of its period and is a significant feature of this
area.

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Record last edited

Jan 9 2023 2:52PM

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