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The History of Kempton Park Racecourse

The first ever race held at Kempton Park took place on the 18th July 1878.


The Park had been bought by Mr Samuel H Hyde six years earlier, who went on to fulfil his ambition of building a racecourse on the site.


A Royal Box was constructed in just 21 days in 1889 to cater for a visit from the Prince of Wales.


The racecourse suffered major damage to the Grandstand, restaurant, Member’s Stand and Tattersalls bar as a result of fire in 1932.


Kempton Park was a major victim of both World Wars when all racing was abandoned and the site was used for a number of purposes related to the war. During the First World War, the park was used as a transit depot for military vehicles. The Racecourses at Gatwick, Hurst Park and Sandown adopted Kempton Park’s fixtures until 1919, when racing resumed at Kempton.


The site played a major role in accommodating prisoners of war throughout World War II. The main line rail station situated on the grounds of the racecourse allowed German and Italian soldiers to be directly routed to the temporary camp that was set up.


After the War had ended it became clear that the events of the previous six years had ruined much of the racecourse and a major reparation project ensued, before racing re-commenced in 1947.


The current Grandstand was completed in 1997 after some redevelopment work. The racecourse was closed in May 2005 for the construction of the all-weather floodlit course which was completed eleven months later.


The rest, as they say... is history...

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