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Old 4th March 2016, 19.13:13   #101-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

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Originally Posted by jonesfach View Post
Cracking work...
Thank you Jonesfach. It all adds depth to the history of our great club
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Old 4th March 2016, 23.23:24   #102-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

The 1930 school boys one shows the main grandstand quite well.
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Old 5th March 2016, 19.15:07   #103-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

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Originally Posted by eastsussexred View Post
in addition to the above,
The Wrexham Advertiser reported that, during a rainstorm at a miners strike meeting at The Racecourse on 29th August 1859 ‘some of the miners took shelter in The Turf Tavern and some in the adjoining buildings’. The article then goes on to say ‘After some further delay William Williams, of the Westminster Works, mounted the steps of the stand on the course, and was joined by the members of the committee’
This seems to confirm that the stand was a permanent stand, as prior to 1858 stands were dismantled after the races and then reconstructed in time for following year’s races in the first week October.
The article also adds that the men had a collection at the gate as the men left the field.

MEETING OF THE COLLIERS ON THE RACECOURSE.|1859-09-03|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online

Reading between the lines of many online articles, I would say that the first permanent stand was erected at The Racecourse in 1857 or 1858, in close proximity to The Turf Tavern, probably in the area where the MRS is now situated.
This structure was probably in the form of a grandstand which overlooked the winner’s enclosure and would possibly have been upgraded over the years leading up to the 20th Century.
The construction would have taken place during a time when the race meetings were increasingly under attack by an anti-racing campaign, led mainly by the church, who were lobbying the council to abandon the annual meeting, and were defended by a pro-racing group, consisting mostly of tradesmen and licensed victuallers.

I MEETING FOR THE RESUSCITATION OF WREXHAM RACR|1858-06-05|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online

[No title]|1858-08-14|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online

WREXHAM.|1860-03-24|The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality - Welsh Newspapers Online

The public races were however abandoned in Wrexham after 1858, although Cavalry horseracing continued at The Racecourse throughout this period.
DENBIGHSHIRE YEOMANRY CAVALRY RACES, I|1863-06-13|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online

The construction of a permanent stand may well have been funded as part of a campaign by the grounds tenants and pro-racing supporters, who had lobbied for the October race meetings to remain as an annual event. This campaign was further endorsed when The Turf Tavern was demolished and replaced with the new Turf Hotel, sometime around 1860, for the purpose of re-introducing horseracing to the venue.
Turf Hotel, Mold Road, Wrexham

Subsequently, public pony and donkey race meetings were introduced to The Racecourse around 1865 as part of the newly formed autumn sports events which where staged annually for the next 50 years.

WREXHAM AUTUMN SPORTS. )|1867-10-26|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online
Further to the above,
Newspaper reports of the time show that the new stand, as well as offices for reporters and officials, were built in 1854 and not 1857/58 as stated above.
I believe that these offices were an extension built on the side of The Turf Hotel, which later became the changing rooms, with the stand built directly next to this extension.
When looking at the Turf Hotel, the extension was built with a slightly different architecture, having a lower roofline and window heights, which is not specifically consistent with the structure of the main block of the turf hotel, and so suggests that it was built as a later addition.


Wrexham Advertiser October 1853

Mr. Johnson, of Wrexham, evinced a most praiseworthy desire to promote the success of the meeting, and to ensure the accommodation of the visitors. Next year several requisite improvements will be made on the Course, the most important and long desiderated being the erection of a handsome and commodious Stand.


I WREXHAM RACES. I|1853-10-15|The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality - Welsh Newspapers Online

Wrexham Advertiser September 1854

WREXHAM. RACES, 1854.
THE TWO DAYS FOLLOWING THE CHESTER AUTUMN MEETING.
A NEW STAND is in course of Erection.

Advertising|1854-09-30|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online



Wrexham Advertiser October 1855


Wrexham Races
‘Since last year an office for the reporters and the officials has been erected, adding much to their convenience and comfort’.

SPORTING. I|1855-10-06|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online



There are however, a number of articles which suggest that the racecourse circuit itself may have had a different orientation than shown on the aerial photo from 1948, and which may have extended into the area of the current football stadium.
As from the BBC article below; was the winning post the actual finishing line for the races? And was the balcony on the Turf Hotel specifically built for this purpose, as it seems too far away to watch the races, based on the aerial photograph from 1948?m What-is more, why would the main grandstand be built so far away from the course, if the course did not extend into the area of the current football stadium?

Wrexham advertiser 23 September 1854

Our racing festival being close at hand permit me, through the medium of your valuable paper, to draw the attention of our worthy and respected clerk of the course to the impolicy of allowing horses and, vehicles (particularly heavily-laden carts with tent- materials, etc.) to enter the ground through the gates immediately adjoining the stand. This should not be allowed and some other ways and means" ought to be devised so as to keep the "run in" in good running order, and as free from obstruction as possible. Generally speaking the ground at this point is more like a ploughed field than a race-course; caused by the above nuisance. Not only is it very uncomfortable for pedestrians, but extremely dangerous to the competing horses and their riders. 'Tis but two or three years ago that an accident, which might have proved fatal, occurred here and taking into consideration that one of the hurdles, in the hurdle-race, is here placed, it makes it still more dangerous, and the practice still more reprehensible. I should think that the gate in the Crispin-lane would do very much better for the carts to go through with the tents, &c., and if another temporary gate was put up clear of the stand, with strict injunction given to the person in charge of it, not upon any consideration, whatever, to allow either horses or vehicles to enter or depart from the ground after the bell had rung for saddling for each race, the nuisance would be effectually remedied.
CORRESPONDENCE. -,|1854-09-23|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online




Wrexham Advertiser 1855
Roving Betsy and Go-away fell nearly opposite the Grand Stand and threw their riders violently to the ground without however doing them much injury, Walters receiving only a slight sprain of his instep.

SPORTING. I|1855-10-06|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online



"The club was formed in the Turf Hotel which is where the winning post for the horse racing used to be."

BBC NEWS | Wales | North East Wales | Tales of Turf, triumph and trouble



Historic Wrexham Racecourse Videos Released - Wrexham.com Wrexham.com

Last edited by eastsussexred; 5th March 2016 at 19.21:05..
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Old 5th March 2016, 19.46:36   #104-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

So from this information the grandstand was built in 1854. Well before football was even thought of, so you would think the winning post must have been in front of it. It would not make sense to have it built away from the winning post area would it??

The turf tavern was rebuilt in 1860 - so after the extension bit. Where the trust shop sits etc?? So we are determining the extension bit, was there a few before the tavern bit was rebuilt? Surely it would of made sense to build it either at the same time as the tavern or ultimately after the main building went up.
On the other hand the builder did such a good job, that they then decided, to rebuild the pub after.
The question I can't fathom is about changing rooms. We have footage of the players coming down the steps from the turf, yet it implies there were changing rooms in the new stand. Perhaps they were for the jockeys etc and not suited for football teams etc?Not big enough.
As regards the orientation I still have the hunch that the football pitch started life on what was the horse parade ring or winners enclosure and thus why it started life the opposite way round. Then when it was purchased in 1897 they proceeded to move it in front of the grandstand as soon as was practical. So 5 years later that 1902 date would probably be about right. Time to fence it all off and prepare the pitch as it seems it wasn't in great shape by the sounds of it.
Great work ESR
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Old 5th March 2016, 20.24:50   #105-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

It is confusing isn't it jonesfach........ its driving me mad. The only information I can find seems to be in newspaper articles, and there seems to be thousands of those to search to find anything relating to The Racecourse.

One possibility could be that the club shop part of the turf hotel (the extension) is actually part of the old Turf Tavern, with the other half of the tavern knocked down when the Turf Hotel was built at a later date. This part does look architecturally older, ie.. a smaller building with lower roof line and windows. The Turf Hotel built later on a grander scale with higher ceilings and higher upper floor and roof line. Just a guess though, but perhaps the reporters wording 'erected new offices' actually meant refurbished new offices.
I'm not sure where it says about the grandstand being built with changing rooms in those early days. I was thinking that the upper floor above the old club shop (the extension part) was just utilised by the players as football became popular and that there wasn't any other changing rooms until the angled stand was built c1940's.
I agree with what you say about football being played in the centre of the ring, but cant fathom why the grandstand was built where it was and why there are newspaper reports of riders falling in races in front of the grandstand? Also, I did read one report on an early race which talked about a the turn on the track near Crispin Lane. I will try to find it again

Last edited by eastsussexred; 5th March 2016 at 20.31:15..
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Old 5th March 2016, 21.46:58   #106-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

Quote:
Originally Posted by eastsussexred View Post
It is confusing isn't it jonesfach........ its driving me mad. The only information I can find seems to be in newspaper articles, and there seems to be thousands of those to search to find anything relating to The Racecourse.

One possibility could be that the club shop part of the turf hotel (the extension) is actually part of the old Turf Tavern, with the other half of the tavern knocked down when the Turf Hotel was built at a later date. This part does look architecturally older, ie.. a smaller building with lower roof line and windows. The Turf Hotel built later on a grander scale with higher ceilings and higher upper floor and roof line. Just a guess though, but perhaps the reporters wording 'erected new offices' actually meant refurbished new offices.
I'm not sure where it says about the grandstand being built with changing rooms in those early days. I was thinking that the upper floor above the old club shop (the extension part) was just utilised by the players as football became popular and that there wasn't any other changing rooms until the angled stand was built c1940's.
I agree with what you say about football being played in the centre of the ring, but cant fathom why the grandstand was built where it was and why there are newspaper reports of riders falling in races in front of the grandstand? Also, I did read one report on an early race which talked about a the turn on the track near Crispin Lane. I will try to find it again
Yes I agree about the turf bit...they could of kept it open to keep the money coming in by using the older bit, but built a brand new facility next door. This would make business sense.
With regards the horse racing and riders falling. Perhaps the course was set up like aintree where on the first lap they jump the chair, hence fallers and then the second lap they come up the finishing straight. This could explain it? Could be completely wrong of course but it's perhaps a possibility and could explain the turn by Crispin lane also?? Furthermore this may give us the room for the parade ring which I think could be our original pitch?? Is there any more racecourses similar to aintree?? Not that up on horse racing myself.

Last edited by jonesfach; 5th March 2016 at 21.48:45..
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Old 5th March 2016, 22.15:10   #107-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

Some of the distances are 2 mile. Would think that would of been 2 laps of the course not just 1. Food for thought.
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Old 6th March 2016, 09.47:29   #108-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesfach View Post
So from this information the grandstand was built in 1854. Well before football was even thought of, so you would think the winning post must have been in front of it. It would not make sense to have it built away from the winning post area would it??

The turf tavern was rebuilt in 1860 - so after the extension bit. Where the trust shop sits etc?? So we are determining the extension bit, was there a few before the tavern bit was rebuilt? Surely it would of made sense to build it either at the same time as the tavern or ultimately after the main building went up.
On the other hand the builder did such a good job, that they then decided, to rebuild the pub after.
The question I can't fathom is about changing rooms. We have footage of the players coming down the steps from the turf, yet it implies there were changing rooms in the new stand. Perhaps they were for the jockeys etc and not suited for football teams etc?Not big enough.
As regards the orientation I still have the hunch that the football pitch started life on what was the horse parade ring or winners enclosure and thus why it started life the opposite way round. Then when it was purchased in 1897 they proceeded to move it in front of the grandstand as soon as was practical. So 5 years later that 1902 date would probably be about right. Time to fence it all off and prepare the pitch as it seems it wasn't in great shape by the sounds of it.
Great work ESR
Morning Jonesach,
I spent a good few hours looking back through the archives to see if I could find any more information.

I found that from 1854, there were plenty of references of there being a permanent grandstand near, or next to the turf, and so I am sure that the first permanent stand was built, next to the Turf Tavern in 1854.
I believe that it is likely, although don't have concrete evidence, that the smaller section of The Turf Hotel (where the old club shop is) was actually part of the old Turf Tavern, and was probably revamped to become offices at this time. This section would later become the changing rooms for football.

I then searched for evidence of the orientation of pitch, but couldn't find any references until 1877. Both references say that the pitch was as it is now.

Wrexham Advertiser March 1877

Wales v Scotland

When the rain ceased, a strong north- easterly wind sprang up, which made it once apparent that the side working towards the railway station would have a considerable advantage,
THE INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL MATCH.|1877-03-10|Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register - Welsh Newspapers Online


Wrexham Guardian December 1879

WELSH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION. CUP TIE BETWEEN WREXHAM AND THE DRUIDS. On Saturday, the by far most interesting match of the season was played "11 the racecourse, in the presence of a very large number of exceedingly biased on-lookers. It was the match by which the cup tie between the Druids and Wrexham was played off. The Druids occupied for the first half-time the goal nearest the Crispin Lane,

I also searched for evidence of when the Turf Hotel was built.
I couldn't find any direct evidence, but found that throughout the 1850's the Turf was always referred to as The Turf Tavern, and the name Turf Hotel only appears from The 1860's onwards. And so I believe that date of the construction of The Turf Hotel was sometime in the 1860's. The earliest newspaper reference I found of 'The Turf Hotel' was 1866.

I also found that while the main, October public horse race meetings were stopped in 1859; horseracing in some forms did continue up until 1914, when there may have been significant building work at the Racecourse.

Wrexham Advertiser 2nd January 1914

FUTURE OF WREXHAM RACES I I A MOMENTOUS DECISION. I In consequence of the possibility of a part of the Wrexham Racecourse being devoted to building purposes and of recent encroachment at the turn out of the straight near the Turf Hotel, it has been decided not to apply for any more race fixtures. The present guarantors are now only six in number out of 24, who originally signed the guarantee bond in 1880.


FUTURE OF WREXHAM RACES I|1914-01-02|The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality - Welsh Newspapers Online

Trust this helps
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Old 6th March 2016, 11.26:20   #109-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

The Wales v Scotland bit from 1877 is a great read.

Especially the warm reception given to the scots, yet a complete opposite to one received, against England previously. And what is/was a corner try? Bit later it quotes a corner kick so am guessing they were different things.

I think the pitch orientation turn around may well be put to bed now. Must be a local myth...certainly understanding that the grandstand, was there before the football actually started and not the other way around, makes sense.

I was under the impression that the stand was built specifically for the football and thus the pitch was changed around after the completion of the stand. Makes sense now.

Last edited by jonesfach; 6th March 2016 at 11.30:24..
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Old 6th March 2016, 12.23:55   #110-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The sad case of a founding members and player of Wrexham Football Club

I wonder if we were the first football club in the world to have a stadium with a purpose build grandstand?

Last edited by eastsussexred; 6th March 2016 at 12.25:02..
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