In July 1864 there appeared in the Bromley Record an advertisement giving details of a Race Meeting to be held at High Elms, Farnborough. The Stewards were Messrs. W. Hart Dyke, H. Lubbock, R.B.Berens, and B.W.Lubbock, and there were to be five horse races with some foot races and high jumping as well. The meeting was to start at 1.30 p.m.

It was reported in the September issue of the journal that in no previous-year had the park presented such a gathering and the number of persons attending was estimated at between 30,000 and 40,000. The precise number of vehicles attending was unknown but it was recorded that the road from Bromley was kept in continuous cloud of dust from 11 a.m. to 1  p.m. and also from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., so evidently the day was dry and sunny. One person who attended was so smothered coming back that he might have been mistaken for a miller.

The first race was for ponies under 13 1/2 hands over half a mile which had 14 runners.

The second race was for horses belonging to the Qyeen's Own West Kent Yeomanry Cavalry over 3/4 of a mile with 8 runners.

The third was over 3/4 a mile, confined to members of the committee, with 7 runners.

The fourth was open to farmers of "Old Surrey, West Kent and Burstow counties" over 3/4 of a mile which had 10 runners.

The last race was a hurdle race with an entrance fee of a sovereign, limited to horses which had run in any of the previous races and had six runners.

In the foot race there were 19 starters over a distance of 100 yards.

The high jump attracted five entries and was won with a clearance of 4ft. 9ins.

The pole vault was won by Mr. ft. Lubbock who cleared 8ft. 6ins.

The foot hurdle race was won by Mr.M. Lubbock.

and the final race was over half a mile.

The refreshments, which were greatly in demand, were supplied by Mr. Thompson of the New Inn, Farnborough, and Mr. Divers of the Plough Inn, Bromley Common, all at moderate charges.

Apart from one person being suspected of pickpocketing the afternoon passed peacefully enough and gave no trouble to the police under Inspector Kent, assisted by Inspector Townsend and Sergeant Grey.

John Edwards

This article first appeared in the magazine of the Bromley Borough Local History Society , and is reproduced here with their permission

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