Goodwood Drive, UB5

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Goodwood Racecourse traces its history to 1802, the year after the 3rd Duke of Richmond first held a private race meeting for the officers of the Sussex Militia and members of the Goodwood Hunt. Up until then, the officers had held their annual races in nearby Petworth Park, courtesy of the Earl of Egremont, but the invitation was withdrawn in 1801. The Duke of Richmond came to the rescue, allowing the officers to race on The Harroway, a narrow ridge on top of the South Downs. The meeting was so successful it was decided to hold a public meeting the following year. Between 1929 and the Second World War the land on which this street was laid out was home to Northolt Park Racecourse, although it does appear on maps from the time as Wood End Racecourse. It was the venture of racehorse owner Sir William (or Billy Bass), of the brewing family fortune, and Viscount Lascelles, both stewards of the Jockey Club and the Pony Turf Club. The one-and-a-half-mile (2.4 km) racecourse for pony racing was opened by the Earl of Harewood and his wife the Princess Royal. Bass was first chairman of Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, which was founded in 1909 with the ambition of opening a cinema in every town but it was horses which were his first love. The outbreak of war meant racing was suspended and the land was taken over as an army depot and prisoner of war camp. Despite numerous attempts to revive pony racing after the war the land was given over to housing construction. The Racecourse Estate was constructed between 1951 and 1955 in order to solve a severe housing shortage within the borough. The gates of the original racecourse remain in Petts Hill, and a section of the track can be seen as a long, flat stretch of land alongside Mandeville Road.

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