Marking the loss of Lewes Racecourse 50 years on

A day of spectacle and nostalgia is promised on Sunday, September 14, when the 50th anniversary of the closure of Lewes Racecourse will be marked.

Classic vehicles, a fashion parade, Victorian sideshows, refreshment booths, horse racing games and live music are all part of the programme.

Nearly five decades have passed since the last-ever race was held in the spectacular South Downs setting of the fourth oldest racecourse in England, 500ft above sea level.

When jockey Bobby Elliott strode past the finishing post in first place on 7/1 shot Miss Rhondda at 4.32pm on Monday, September 14, 1964, a fascinating racing tradition spanning two and a half centuries came to an abrupt end.

The several heydays of Lewes involved royalty, some of the world’s finest equine bloodstock, famous jockeys such as Lester Piggot, Sir Gordon Richards and Scobie Breasley plus a host of suitably shady characters and the infamous ‘Razor Gangs’ from Brighton – not to mention the colourful tipster Prince ‘I Gotta Horse’ Monolulu.

Now a group of enthusiasts, led by Lewes horse racing historian Barry Foulkes, are determined to ensure that the anniversary is appropriately marked.

The big day will see a grand parade from the town centre to the old course featuring a Hunt, costumed people on floats from the Georgian period through to the Swinging Sixties and vintage transport– plus Mods and Rockers.

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact 01825 761727, email or visit