A view of Newmarket, Suffolk, UK, showing part of the extensive Warren Hill training grounds, Tattersalls Auctioneers, racing stables, racing studs and the Rowley Mile Racecourse
Newmarket shown within Suffolk
|Population||20,384 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||West Suffolk|
Newmarket is a market town in the English county of Suffolk, approximately 65 miles (105 kilometres) north of London. It is generally considered the birthplace and global centre of thoroughbred horse racing. It is a major local business cluster, with annual investment rivalling that of the Cambridge Science Park, the other major cluster in the region. It is the largest racehorse training centre in Britain, the largest racehorse breeding centre in the country, and home to most major British horseracing institutions, and a key global centre for horse health. Two Classic races, and an additional three British Champions Series races are held at Newmarket every year.
Newmarket has over fifty horse training stables, two large racetracks, The Rowley Mile and The July Course and one of the most extensive and prestigious horse training grounds in the world. The town is home to over 3,000 racehorses, and it is estimated that one in every three local jobs is related to horse racing. The town is home to the National Horseracing Museum, the Home of Horseracing project, Tattersalls, the racehorse auctioneers and two of the world's foremost equine hospitals for horse health. The town is surrounded by over sixty horse breeding studs. On account of its leading position in the multi-billion pound horse racing and breeding industry, it is also a major export centre. The town has been a centre for British royalty since James I, and was also a home to Charles II and a great many other monarchs.
Newmarket's fortunes changed radically in February 1605 when James I first visited, describing it as a "poor little village". His construction of the Newmarket Palace between 1606 and 1610, an estate covering an acre of land from the High Street to All Saints’ churchyard, established the town as a royal resort.
The confrontation that effectively started the English Civil War took place in Newmarket in 1642 when Charles I met a parliamentary deputation that demanded his surrender of the armed forces. "By God not for an hour", Charles replied, "You have asked such of me that was never asked of a King!" Newmarket remained Royalist throughout the war, but in June 1647 Charles was captured at Holdenby House in Northamptonshire and brought to Newmarket as a prisoner. He was placed under house arrest in the palace while the whole of Cromwell's New Model Army kept guard over the town. Charles' execution was a hammer blow to the town, and the palace was sold to John Okey who demolished most of the buildings.
However, Newmarket's demise was short-lived as the Restoration of 1660 saw Charles II create even stronger links with the town than his predecessors had, and he was a frequent visitor between 1666 and 1685. In 1668 he commissioned William Samwell to build a new palace on the High Street (on the site of the present United Reformed Church). The palace was largely torn down at the start of the 19th century, but a portion survives and is now named Palace House.
Newmarket's history is complicated by the fact that parts of the area forming the town were in Cambridgeshire, and as the town grew in the 19th century the suburbs of Newmarket south of the high street fell into the parishes of Woodditton and Cheveley in Cambridgeshire. The county border was moved in 1894 to accommodate this and has been further altered since.
Racing at Newmarket has been dated as far back as 1174, making it the earliest known racing venue of post-classical times. King James I (reigned 1603–1625) greatly increased the popularity of horse racing there, and King Charles I followed this by inaugurating the first cup race in 1634. The Jockey Club's clubhouse is in Newmarket, though its administration is based in London.
Around 3,000 race horses inhabit Newmarket. By comparison, the human population is of the order of 15,000 and it is estimated that one in three jobs are connected to horseracing in one way or another Newmarket has 3 main sections of Heath, all of which are used to train the racehorses on. The grassland of Newmarket's training grounds has been developed over hundreds of years of careful maintenance, and is generally regarded as some of the finest in the world. "Racecourse side" is located next to the Rowley Mile Racecourse and is a predominately flat area. "Warren Hill" overlooks the town and consists of 3 all weather canters and a multitude of grass canters. "Bury Side" is the name given to the area located near the Bury Road and the railway line. These areas and the surrounding heath is chalk downland and has special birds and animals only suited to this terrain. It is also a very historical area with the remains of 6th century living This hill is part of the chalk formation the Newmarket Ridge.
Most of the Newmarket-based racing stables are situated in the centre of the town, where they can easily access the gallops. The town has special horse routes so the horses can reach the gallops safely from the many training establishments occupied by top trainers. Many of the world's most successful trainers are based in Newmarket, Sir Michael Stoute who is based at Freemason Lodge, John Gosden, based at Clarehaven Stables, Saeed bin Suroor, based at Stanley House Stables, Mahmood Al Zarooni, based at Moulton Paddocks, and Clive Brittain, based at Carlburg Stables. Millions of pounds of prize money are won by these trainers alone around the world each year. Many of the horses they train are worth over a million pounds, with some of the finest being worth between £5 million and £50 million or higher. Outside the town the land-use is dominated by thoroughbred breeding, studs occupying large areas in every direction. Around 70 licensed trainers and more than 60 stud farms operate in and around Newmarket.
The town has two race courses situated on Newmarket Heath, The Rowley Mile and The July Course. The Rowley Mile is the home of Newmarket's two Classic races, the 2,000 Guineas and the 1,000 Guineas, two of the world's most prestigious races, run in the first weekend of May every year. The value of the winners of these races are often immediately increases by millions of pounds. It is also the home of Future Champions Day, run the weekend before Champions Day at Ascot, which includes the very important Dewhurst Stakes. The July Course is the home of the July Cup, the Falmouth Stakes and a number of other very important races. The two courses are separated by the Devil's Dyke. This large earthwork starts in neighbouring Woodditton (sometimes spelt as Wood Ditton) and ends in Reach, a distance of over 8 miles (13 km).
Newmarket is the UK centre for the multi-billion pound racehorse breeding industry, and a key global centre of the business. Thoroughbred breeding lines are a core part of success in global horse racing, and key stallions are controlled by major global breeding operations, which operate studs around the town. Darley Stud, owners of New Approach, Cape Cross, Dubawi, Sepoy and Raven's Pass own large areas of land to the south of the town. Shadwell Stud, another major global operation, have a number of studs nearby and own Nayef, Sakhee, Haafhd and Eswarah. Juddmonte Farms, owner of Frankel, Observatory, Dansili, Champs Elysees and Three Valleys, also have a large stud nearby. Cheveley Park Stud, owners of Pivotal, Mayson and Medicean are based next to the town, as are Lanwades Stud, owners of Aussie Rules, Hernando and Sir Percy. Newsells Park Stud, owners of Equiano and The Royal Studs, owners of Motivator also operate there. In 1967 Queen Elizabeth II opened The National Stud, a breeding centre for thoroughbred horses. Other parts of the town are also surrounded by some of the world's largest and most successful horse breeding studs.
Horse health and welfare
The town is home to two of the most advanced equine hospitals in the world, and served by a large staff of vets and equine specialists.
Museums and Home of Horseracing
Newmarket is home to Britain's National Horseracing Museum, and the new Home of Horseracing project, a major new development which will greatly extend the collection, and offer a major new centre for the town's visitors.
Newmarket's key role in sport for many centuries has made it a centre for many of Britain's finest sporting painters. The development of painting on sporting themes in the early eighteenth century was centred on the Newmarket Racecourse and the three founders of the sporting school, John Wootton, James Seymour and Peter Tillemans, painted many scenes of the racecourse and its environs. Newmarket is also the setting for some of Sir Alfred Munnings's most famous paintings.
Save Historic Newmarket
The Save Historic Newmarket group, an organisation dedicated to maintaining the town's unique heritage as the world headquarters of racing, has become increasingly vocal in recent years. The group, composed of local residents, supports sustainable development in the town and aims to make Newmarket a more attractive destination for visitors.
Newmarket railway station is on the Cambridge - Bury St. Edmunds - Ipswich rail line, formerly belonging to the Great Eastern Railway (later part of the LNER). Newmarket's first railway was a line built by the Newmarket and Chesterford Railway and opened in 1848 (known as the "Newmarket Railway"). It branched off the London - Cambridge main line at Great Chesterford and ran about 15 miles (24 km) north eastwards. There was an attractive terminus in Newmarket, with intermediate stations at Bourne Bridge, Balsham Road and Six Mile Bottom.
Three years later the first nine miles (14 km) or so of this line, the stretch from Great Chesterford to Six Mile Bottom, was superseded by a more viable section linking Six Mile Bottom directly with Cambridge, and so the Great Chesterford - Six Mile Bottom section closed in 1851, one of the earliest closures in British railway history (the former Bourne Bridge station is believed to have been partly incorporated into a public house just across the road from a station opened later on another line - Pampisford, on the now-closed Cambridge - Haverhill - Sudbury route). With the development of other rail lines the Newmarket terminus was replaced by the present through station in 1902; it was used as a goods station until 1967 and demolished in 1980.
A short distance to the north east is the 1,100 yard Warren Hill tunnel. North of the tunnel, a separate station, Warren Hill, was built for raceday use.
In late 2006, Newmarket introduced a Park and Ride service running from Studlands industrial estate to the town centre, whilst at the same time parking charges were introduced to the town.
Regular bus services run to the neighbouring towns of Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge, Ely and Mildenhall. Various National Express coach services serve the town: London (Victoria Coach Station) to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft; Norwich to Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports; and the cross country Clacton-on-Sea to Liverpool service which travels via Cambridge, Peterborough, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester.
The area of Suffolk containing Newmarket is nearly an exclave, with only a narrow strip of territory linking it to the rest of the county. Historically the town was split with one parish - St Mary - in Suffolk, and the other - All Saints - in Cambridgeshire. The Local Government Act 1888 made the entirety of Newmarket urban sanitary district part of the administrative county of West Suffolk. The town falls in the Parliamentary constituency West Suffolk and as of 2011 has been represented by Conservative MP Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise.
The 1972 Local Government Bill as originally proposed would have transferred the town (and Haverhill) to Cambridgeshire. The Local Government Commission for England had suggested in the 1960s that the border around Newmarket also be altered, in West Suffolk's favour. Newmarket Urban District Council supported the move to Cambridgeshire, but ultimately the government decided to withdraw this proposal and keep the existing boundary, despite intense lobbying from the UDC.
Newmarket is home to both an Air Training Corps Squadron and an Army Cadet Detachment.
- Newmarket has a football team called Newmarket Town. In recent time the club has had a successful FA Vase run, reaching the quarter finals in 2005/06.
- Newmarket has an amateur Cycling and Triathlon team called Newmarket Cycling and Triathlon club.
- Newmarket has an amateur jousting team which in 2001 became the first such team to win successive Eastern League titles. The teams longest serving captain - Dan "turtlehead" Wing (1999-2010) - also led the team to their first ever East Anglian cup final win in 2008.
- Newmarket has an amateur Field Hockey team called Newmarket H.C. In recent time the club has had successful influx of player and hosts 2 Men teams (East Hockey League), 3 Ladies (Cambridgeshire Hockey League and well over 50 under 18's players.
Famous residents of Newmarket include jockeys Frankie Dettori, William Buick, Ryan Moore and Tom Queally, and trainers Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden, James Fanshawe, Saeed bin Suroor, Mahmood al Zarooni, Clive Brittain and John Berry. Over the years there have been very many wealthy owners of racing stables and studs including Rachel Parsons.
Newmarket is the birthplace of the following people.
- Thomas Elsdon Ashford VC (1859–1913), recipient of the Victoria Cross during the Second Anglo-Afghan War
- Dina Carroll (born 1968), Brit Award winner
- Ross Edgar (born 1983), 2008 Olympics cycling Silver Medalist
- William Thomas Tutte (1917–2002), mathematician and World War II cryptoanalyst (celebrated by a memorial installed in 2014 outside the Rutland Arms Hotel)
- Jamie Paul "JJ" Hamblett (born 1988), singer from Union J
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- Newmarket Journal - Newmarket's weekly newspaper
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- Pyramid Developments