Scope and Content

  • Certificate of Incorporation 1955
  • Memorandum and articles of association 1908
  • Minutes 1883-1891, 1907-1978
  • Directors report 1929
  • Financial records 1905-1977
  • Correspondence 1891-1977
  • Personnel records 1970-1977
  • Contracts, plans and works records 1891-1974
  • Ephemera including race cards, winners lists and fixture lists 1926-1978

Administrative / Biographical History

The Lanark Race Committee , a syndicate of innkeepers and tradesmen in the town of Lanark, had existed since the 1880s to encourage and promote race meetings at Lanark, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, a lease existing between the magistrates of Lanark and Thomas Watson, acting on behalf of the committee. The syndicate continued until 1903  with an annual racing meeting held in September, incorporating the 'Silver Bell' race, which originated in the 13th century and was reputedly Britain's oldest racing fixture. When the committee fell into financial difficulties in 1903 it approached Lord Hamilton of Dalzell suggesting that if the stakes could not be guaranteed, there would be no race meeting in 1904  . Shortly afterwards Hamilton and Newlands entered into a guarantee against loss and the first steps leading to the creation of the company were taken.

In 1908,  the Lanark Racecourse Co Ltd was founded by Lord Hamilton and Lord Newlands at Lanark with a capital of £5,000, to manage and organise racing fixtures, including the 'Silver Bell' race. A meeting of country gentlemen, held on 2 October 1908  , considered the advisability of taking over the race meeting. It was estimated that £4,000 was needed to furnish Lanark with a modern racecourse. The funds were raised by subscription from the landowners in the county and those who contributed were invited to join the Lanark Race Club which was founded at the same time. Membership of the Club cost £2 2/- per year and including a ladies badge.

Sir Loftus Bates had been appointed clerk of the course and manager in the early 1900s and he remained in this post until 1946  . The Royal Caledonian Hunt, which had been held at Lanark Races since the 1880s, was deferred from 1907  until 1909  , whilst the course, stands and grounds underwent improvements. There was no racing during the First World War and the race meeting of 1919  was abandoned due to a railway strike. In 1920  a second fixture was added to the Lanark racing calendar and this helped to place the executive in a sound financial position. Profits were ploughed back into meetings, stakes rose and improvements were made. In 1946,  William Robertson-Aikman succeeded Sir Loftus Bates and simultaneously took over the control of Hamilton Park Races, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, bringing both racetracks up to date.

On 30 December 1947,  the directors of the Lanark Racecourse Co Ltd resolved to repay the shareholders their share capital and to transfer the undertaking to the newly formed Lanark Racecourse Holdings Co Ltd , which was incorporated to hold in trust the buildings and organisation for the benefit of racing. There were now no private shareholders and the whole of the profits were ploughed back into racing. The company, now a non-profit making organisation, fell into financial difficulties in the late 1960s  and closed in 1978  .


This material is arranged into series as described in the scope and content note

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Gift : Lanark Racecourse Holdings Company Ltd :1978

Gift : Private deposit : 1999 : ACCN 1769

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom.

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)1842) and London (NRA21895)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

The collection has been weeded and duplicated material has been discarded

Custodial History

The initial deposit of pre-1970 records was received directly from the creator via the Business Archives Council of Scotland


None expected

Related Material

GB 243 TD916/67 Hamilton Park Racecourse Co Ltd correspondence 1932-1936 (Glasgow City Archives)

For contact details of all repositories with a GB code, see the ARCHON repository search page


Fairfax-Blakeborough, J,A Short History of Lanark Races(Reid Hamilton Publishers Ltd, London, 1952)

Additional Information

This material is original

Updated by Jenny Cooknell , Assistant Archivist, 17 November 1999

Updated by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 16 May 2002

Geographical Names