NEWMARKET LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
The Society meets every third Tuesday of the month from September to April at 7.30 pm at The Stable, High Street Newmarket (unless otherwise noted) when we have a visiting speaker. During the summer months (except August) we usually arrange trips to local places of historic interest.
N.L.H.S. SITE INDEXAugust 2014. One hundred years ago the world stood on the brink of that cataclysmic period of history, the Great War. The great rival power blocks of Austria-Hungary and Germany on the one hand and Russia, France and Gt Britain on the other had been moving inexorably towards conflict. To quote NLHS member Tony Pringle "The minute Germany's Kaiser Bill started building up the Kriegsmarine to match the Royal Navy it was obvious that it would only end one way".
- Calendar of Events
- How to join NLHS
- Newmarket's Origins
- Newmarket and Horseracing
- Forthcoming events
- Recent Events
- Correspondence & Queries
- Family History research
- Local History & Other books
- Mystery Places
- The Workhouse/Institution
- Past Personalities
- View our Guest Book,
or add an entry
- Links to related sites
- Committee members
- Contact Us
Local Fire Tragedies Crime & punishment in the 19th century Memories of the Home Guard Memories of two World Wars The RAF in wartime Newmarket Alex Henshaw MBE Old Icewell Hill. The old Grosvenor Yard Musk's Newmarket sausages, history Woolworths history The Cinema in Newmarket Rous Road Architecture The History of the Telephone Service in Newmarket The Admiralty Shutter Telegraph Oaks Lodge/Park history The Houldsworth Valley Nissen Huts Russian Officers training in Newmarket The Railway comes to Newmarket.
The Centenary of The Great War
Treaties and contracts ensured that the big powers were dragged into relatively small disputes and in the end it just needed a match to set the the conflagration going. The match came from the long standing territorial dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, a country that most British people had not even heard of. When Austria-Hungary declared war and invaded Serbia, Russia came to the aid of its traditional ally and France was drawn in through its treaty with Russia.
In the end it was too much effort not to have a war.
The final straw for Gt Britain came on August 4th 1914 when the Kaiser's troops marched into Belgium as a prelude to their invasion of France. Our treaty obligation to protect that small country meant only one outcome, Britain declared war on Germany at midnight.
Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary famously said "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime".
By the time the war ended, four years and three months later, millions had died and even more millions suffered lifelong disabilities, with scant recognition from their governments
In Newmarket as elsewhere people were shocked by the news that war had been declared but the full seriousness of the situation had not sunk in. A wave of patriotism swept the country with a feeling that it will soon be over. Volunteers queued at Recruiting Stations to join the Territorial Army which to many must have offered excitement and adventure away from the hum-drum existence of their ordinary lives. Signs of war were very obvious in the town, which with its broad heathlands and good railway links became a mobilizing and training camp for troops to be sent to the Western Front. Horses too were to play a big part in France and the veterinary expertise in the town was called upon by the military.
Gerald Livock was born in Newmarket in 1893, the son of well known veterinary surgeon. His father was very busy examining horses that had been commandeered for the army, and he wanted his son to join the practice. But Gerald was more interested in flying, and went on to become a distinguished aviator.
In his book 'To the Ends of the Air' Gerald gives a description of the patriotic fervour that gripped Newmarket early in the Great War, with soldiers marching along the High Street singing 'Tipperary',and horse drawn gun limbers rumbling past his house. The local men could hardly wait to join up to serve their country. Poor souls, he recounts, if they had only known what was in store for them. He speaks of a soldiers' camp on 'The Gallops at the north end of the town', there was certainly a tented camp on Plantation (Warren) Hill, perhaps the one he refers to was near the waterworks towards Exning,
The pictures below, from the Roger Newman collection, give an idea of what Newmarket was like in 1914.
No lack of support for the men keen to fight the aggressor
Territorials halt briefly during their march along High Street
Volunteers were so readily forthcoming that conscription was not brought in until January 1916, when losses were mounting.
Soldiers marching along Old Station Road on their way to their camp on Warren Hill (picture below).
July 25th 2014. Over the generations Newmarket has long been host to Royal visitors, who came to the town for the racing and associated pleasures that this lively town provided.
Our latest website article, Personalities page No 10, deals with the Monarchs from James I onward who found Newmarket to their liking and who through their patronage had varying degrees of influence in shaping the town's future.
Please go to Personalities Page No 10
April 24th 2014. Sandra Easom has discovered on the internet a valuable document by Peter May, the well regarded Newmarket Historian. It is a potted history of Newmarket 500 years ago and was written prior to him publishing 'Newmarket Mediaeval & Tudor'. The document can now be read online select here
Please be aware that this is a pdf. document so you will need Adobe Reader installed on your computer and it could take a while to load, depending on your connection speed.
March 31st 2014. Our recent website article concerns a Newmarket trade name that has survived for 130 years and is still prospering. Musk's sausages have enjoyed a deserved reputation for quality and are recognised well outside the confines of Newmarket. Read about the complicated family relationships that bought the brand name from a small village butchery to Newmarket and how the business has evolved to the present day. select here March 2014. With Russia's involvement in the present unrest in Ukraine it may be a good time to look back at the Russian revolution and how the USSR came into existence. The fascinating part that Newmarket played is covered in our website. We had some lengthy correspondence with a Russian lady Evgenia Chernozatonskya, providing a very personal insight into how the momentous events of 1917 - 1920 affected her grandfather, who spent time in Newmarket. The correspondence has now been included as an addition to the article. select here. February 2014. The second half of the 19th century proved to be a very fertile period in Newmarket's history. The railway had brought much wealth and influence to the town, reinforcing its reputation as the 'Headquarters' of horseracing. Among the many great racing personalities associated with Newmarket during that time the name of Captain James Octavius Machell stands high. He is now featured as the ninth in our series of Newmarket Personalities of the Past. Select here January 2014. Thanks to various enthusiastic people, a great source of pictures from Newmarket and district's past, can be found on the Facebook site. You may have to be logged in to view the pictures. From the Facebook site search just enter 'Old Newmarket' to start the series and go to the albums. October 2013. NLHS member David Rippington is working on a website dealing with the history of Newmarket shops. More information will be added as it becomes available but the site is already proving a useful source of information on Newmarket history. Anyone with information on pre-war Newmarket shops is invited to contact David via his website. www.newmarketshops.info
December 2013. David has now added a history of Newnarket's racecourses which can be viewd at http://www.newmarketshops.info/Newmarkets_Racecourses.html
October 2013. Following the sell out of the first print of copies of the Society's book "The Bombing of Newmarket" we have had a limited reprint to meet orders that still come in. The book is now on sale again at price £11.50 (including p & p in the British Isles). It can be ordered by writing to our postal address: Newmarket Local History Society, c/o The Town Clerk, The Memorial Hall, High Street Newmarket CB8 8JP. Alternatively if you email this website (address at foot of this page) you will be contacted with details of how to make payment. For those who have not yet discovered the Francis Frith collection of photos of early to mid 20th century Newmarket take a look at Francis Frith's Newmarket Ninety one good quality photos that can be purchased if required. What a far sighted man to go around the country taking pictures of towns and villages that were fast changingCalendar of EventsAll events commence at 7.30 pm unless otherwise stated
No Meeting in August.
Tuesday 16th September Slide Show - Villages around Newmarket - Roger Newman.
How do I join the Newmarket Local History Society?
It is quite simple really, you may do so by attending one of the programmed meetings, the doors open at 7 pm, and you can then join whilst there, the cost is just £8 per head, or you may wish to visit for one evening without commitment, this will cost £2 and you can go away and decide.
NEWMARKET'S ORIGINS (notes provided by N.L.H.S Committee Member Sandra Easom)
Mention Newmarket and most people think of the pounding hooves of horses and rolling expanses of green turf. The town is justly famous for both of these but its very long and varied history goes far beyond what most people expect.
Unlike most mediaeval towns, Newmarket is not centred on either of its parish churches, St. Mary's or All Saints. Rather, it is centred on the initial reason for its existence - the ancient Icknield Way - the oldest road in Britain. Its route approximated to the present High Street. People have journeyed along the Icknield Way since the Stone Age when flint was mined in Grimes Graves in Norfolk and then supplied an extensive trade network.
The area where Newmarket now stands has springs of water and a small river which is essential for any settlement. Bronze Age barrows, showing evidence of early occupation, were scattered across Newmarket Heath until the 19th century when they were cleared to make better conditions for horse racing.
Later, nearby Exning was a main settlement of the Iceni tribe (best remembered for their famous Queen Boudicca or Boadicea who led a major rebellion against the Romans). The Iceni were renowned breeders of horses and dogs, so the Heath has probably seen many more races than we are aware of!
The area where the town now stands was given as dowry to Sir Richard de Argentein in 1200 A.D. when he married Cassandra, daughter of Robert de Insula, Lord of the manor of Exning. Sir Richard encouraged development of the town and was granted a charter for a market almost immediately by the King. In 1223 Newmarket received its first charter for an annual fair. It is important to note that the Plague arrived at Exning in 1227. Therefore, the Victorian theory that people left Exning to start a new town at Newmarket at this time cannot be true (although it is very persistent!).
Newmarket thrived because of its market and a lucrative trade in accommodating travellers and so it continued for centuries, until King James I "discovered" its Heath in February 1604 as a great leisure venue for his court and Newmarket's sporting associations began.....
NEWMARKET AND HORSERACING
The local history of Newmarket is inextricably tied up with the history of horseracing. The town is home to the National Horseracing Museum, at present situated in part of the Jockey Club building. An enlightening article on Newmarket's racing history and the work of the museum written by the former Museum Director, Hilary Bracegirdle appears on this site select article here
The museum also has a very good website of its own www.nhrm.co.uk where much information on Newmarket's racing past is available.
Newmarket Local History Society and the National Horseracing Museum have much in common in that we both receive many queries from people on topics related to horseracing. Often people wish to enquire about their forebears who were jockeys, or in some way connected to racing. As Hilary says in her article, it is difficult to trace individuals unless they were high profile personalities. The best approach for persuing ordinary family history queries is through the Bury St Edmunds County Records office (for Suffolk related queries) or The Cambridgeshire Family History Society (for the Cambridgeshire part of Newmarket). Both the Museum and our Society wish to be as helpful as possible and welcome any queries of general interest. Queries to the Museum should be addressed in writing to Graham Snelling, Curator, National Horseracing Museum, 99 High Street, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 8JS. Our Society's postal and e-mail addresses are given on page 3.
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