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On track – Portsmouth’s two former racecourses

The grandstand at Portsmouth Park racecourse, Farlington, which closed during the First World War

The grandstand at Portsmouth Park racecourse, Farlington, which closed during the First World War


 

Clare Ash asked last week if anyone could shed light on pony racing in Portsmouth.

Her plea came after she found a 1938 betting book among her late grandfather’s possessions which mentioned Portsmouth as a venue for the sport.

Many of you got in touch to say that it would have happened at the old Paulsgrove racecourse which closed, never to reopen, in 1939 when war was declared.

Indeed it appears that Paulsgrove was famed nationally for pony racing as well as for horses.

Eddy Amey, of St Michael’s Grove, Fareham, reminds us that before Paulsgrove there had been a race track at Farlington called Portsmouth Park. It opened in 1891 and closed during the First World War.

Of the Paulsgrove track, Eddy says: ‘The last trace of it is at the south end of Racecourse Lane off Southampton Road, almost opposite Tesco. This lane originally ran from there up to Paulsgrove chalkpit.

‘The racecourse was to the left and Hillside Infant school’s playing field with a corn field was to the right running as far as Washbrook Road.

‘This field was covered during the war with wooden piles to foil German glider landings. During air raids, if the tractor driver was working in that field he would be warned by Washbrook Road residents as he could not hear the sirens over the tractor noise.’

 

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