|Date closed||7 November 1963|
|Notable races||November Handicap
Manchester Racecourse was a former racecourse in Pendleton, Salford, Lancashire, England. Manchester Racecourse moved several times but remained within Salford in the 19th and 20th centuries. It closed in 1963 and the site has been redeveloped as student accommodation and playing fields.
Location and history
From 1681 until 1847 Kersal Moor was Manchester's chief racing venue although racing had taken place at Barlow Moor in 1647 and from 1697 to 1701, and there were one-off steeplechases at Heaton Park between 1827 and 1838, at Eccles a year later and at Harpurhey in 1845 and on the site of Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Stretford in 1841 and from 1852 to 1854. Kersall Moor closed in 1745 after the local clergy opposed the race meetings but was revived in 1760 with the support of the landed gentry. Racing ceased in 1847 when the site lease was not renewed. At Kersal the course was a mile round with a hill and a fine run in. By 1840 two meetings were held annually - a long-standing one towards the end of May and a newly instituted one in August.
In 1847 the racecourse was moved across the River Irwell to Castle Irwell in a meander of the river. Racing was held there until 1867. It was moved to New Barns at Weaste from 1876 to 1901. In 1902 the New Barnes course was sold for development and racing moved back to Castle Irwell which hosted flat and National Hunt racing.
Manchester traditionally staged the final fixture of the British flat racing season, with the highlight being the Manchester November Handicap. When the course closed in 1963 the fixture was transferred to Doncaster. The last race staged was won by the jockey Lester Piggott.
Manchester hosted the Lancashire Plate, which was run from 1888 to 1893 and was one of the most valuable races in the country at the time. It was the venue for the Lancashire Oaks from its inception in 1939 until 1963. It also staged a Classic race - the wartime substitute St. Leger in 1941.
Manchester staged British racing's first evening fixture on 13 July 1951; and a stand built in 1961 was the site of the first private boxes at a British sports venue.
The racecourse closed after the meeting on 9 November 1963 and the majority of the Castle Irwell site was put up for sale. The University of Salford was interested in purchasing the site and opposed its sale to a property development company; this was supported by the City of Salford who wished to use part of the site for playing fields.
In 1973 the University of Salford bought most of the site and its buildings for £46,000. It was used to construct a student village.Coordinates: The Members' Stand was retained to became an entertainment venue known as the Pavilion or the Pav. It was run by the University of Salford Students' Union, before it closed following the 2009 academic year.
A concrete bridge was built across the River IrwellKersal flats. This area of Castle Irwell, which was separated off from the university site, was developed as public playing fields.allowing access to the northern end of the site from
- Kersal Moor Racecourse (1405558), PastScape, English Heritage, retrieved 1 May 2013
- Whyte 1840, p. 268.
- Gordon, Colin (1975). The Foundations of the University of Salford. Altrinchan: John Sherrratt and Son Ltd. ISBN 0-85427-045-0.
- "Grounds for saving". The Observer. 2002-11-17. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "A tradition going back centuries", Manchester Evening News, 6 June 2007
- Three films of Castle Irwell racecourse
- Castle Irwell 1946
- Wright, Howard (1986). The Encyclopedia of Flat Racing. Robert Hale. p. 175. ISBN 0-7090-2639-0.
- Whyte, James Christie (1840). History of the British turf, from the earliest period to the present day, Volume I. London: H. Colburn. Retrieved 1 May 2013.