Gatwick Racecourse

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Gatwick Airport area as at about 1925 with current airport boundary in green outline. The racecourse is in the northeast end of the airport area.

Gatwick Racecourse was a racecourse in England, in Surrey.[1] It was in use from 1891 to 1940 when it was closed at the start of the Second World War. The land is now part of London Gatwick Airport.


In 1890, the descendants of the de Gatwick family sold the area to the newly established Gatwick Race Course Company. A farmhouse was built around 1890, with extensive stabling.

In 1891, Gatwick Racecourse opened beside the London–Brighton railway, and a dedicated station including sidings for horse boxes.[2] The course held steeplechase and flat races.[2]

The first race meeting was on 7 October 1891.[3] Its race distances were 5 furlongs to 2 miles flat and 2 miles to 4 miles 856 yards National Hunt. The Grand National was run there in 1916, 1917 and 1918, but its principal race was the Gatwick Cup.

From around 1930, the course was managed by George Gurton, who moved there from the Colchester area of Essex with his wife Ruby and two sons, Eustace Guy and Oswald George.

A small airport was built at the southeastern edge of the property, with a circular terminal building called "The Beehive". There is a pub at nearby Tinsley Green called The Beehive.

After closure[edit]

The racecourse bandstand, now in Queens Square. As of June 2018, the Band Stand is now in the memorial gardens Crawley

After the Second World War, the stables and racecourse were used for training by, among others, Jack Holt. The surrounding land was farmed by George Gurton and subsequently by his elder son, (Eustace) Guy Gurton.

The Gurton family lived in the farmhouse until 1959 and farmed the area, using the land for mixed arable. Private trainers rented the stables and used the defunct course for training. In 1957, the racecourse was chosen as the site of the second major London airport, and the stables and house were demolished around 1960. A lodge house still remains on Povey Cross Road. The Gurton family emigrated to Australia in 1959. Many of Gurton's descendants still live in the surrounding Horley, Crawley and Charlwood areas. Some members of the family are buried at Charlwood Parish Church cemetery.

The airport obliterated the racecourse and left no evidence that it was there, but there is a Racecourse Restaurant in Gatwick Airport and also a WH Smith store which the business internally refer to as Winning Post due to its location in relation to the old race course.[citation needed] as well as both Racecourse Road and Furlong Way roads within the airport boundaries. The racecourse's bandstand was relocated to Queens Square in Crawley.


  1. ^ Since 1974, the land that the racecourse once stood on has been in West Sussex.
  2. ^ a b "Gatwick Airport History", Business & Community Reference Guide for in and around Crawley 2008/09, Wealden Marketing, 2008, p. 85
  3. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°09′32″N 0°10′08″W / 51.159°N 0.169°W / 51.159; -0.169