Sussex Crescent, UB5

Place Name

While many of the streets on the Racecourse Estate are named after famous racecourses, there are a few exceptions, this being one of them, most likely because Brighton Drive, Lewes Close and Goodwood Drive, all named after places within the county (now split into East and West) come off of it. 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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