3 thoughts on “Stockton Racecourse c1962

    • At one time that area was known as South Stockton. That is why it was always known as Stockton Races. Most of the southern trainers and jockeys stayed at the Saddlers Hotel which was on Mandale Road. Even the great Sir Gordon Richards when he was just a boy. He rode a winner there called Book Ends.

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  1. Old memories. When racing was over at this course I, a boy of 12, used to sweep the box stables out after the horses had raced. The trainers were supposed to do this but they were always in a mad rush to get off back home to Malton or Newmarket. The custom was to find some kid bung him 2/6 (half-a-crown) and get off home. The first time I did this, I was with an older boy, who collected the money but showed no real interest in performing the work, once he’d collected about a 10/- (ten shillings) he scarpered. I did not like this at all, it seemed wrong, so I got the brush and wheel barrow and set to cleaning out each stable, whilst I was working a man came up who I assumed was connected with the course, he asked me where the other boy had gone, and I sought of told him he’d gone off, he must have known or guessed what had happened. I finished the various jobs returning the next day to finish off because some horses were still in the boxes waiting transport, at that time there was a large block of stables facing the Pleasure Gardens hill, and 100 yards from golf course stream stables gateway. I turned up at the next race meeting, it seems I’d made quite a good impression and was told I could always have this job.
    A stable sweeper was I, it seems comical now but that’s how we lived then. We were paper boys, potato pickers, would even set to plucking chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys by hand. I could pluck 4-5 chickens an hour, whilst an expert could easily do 12-14 per.hour. There’s an art to it; like sliding the feathers off with a sweep of the hand, I used to pick pick pick them off, and if you tore the chicken skin it reduced the sale value. Another time I took a part time job picking strawberries, I honestly thought you had to remove the green eye at the back off each strawberry, which I faithfully did, not knowing they had to stay on, when the farmer returned I had 10 full punnets off beautiful ripe strawberries ready for him all ruined. He was not best pleased.

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