Scope and Content

The records comprise minute books, ledgers and other volumes from a racked store room; the contents of metal deed boxes holding deeds and agreements and a variety of other documents, many of them doubtless preserved for their historical interest; and files from a filing cabinet of older files. No records later than 1970 were taken, except for examples of publications. A good series of minute books, many deeds and agreements, and a wide range of ledgers and other financial records have survived.

The headquarters of the Association were in London until 1969, when they transferred to Epsom, and probably much of which survives was consciously selected at that time for transfer to Epsom, either as historic archive or for current administrative purposes.

A detailed summary of the collection is below:



3434/1/ Constitution of the Association: deed of settlement and other records 1829-1967
Records of the formation of the Association and later changes to its constitution.

3434/2/ Register of Directors' Holdings and Interests 1953-1966

3434/3/ Companies Act Returns 1937-1968

3434/4/ Official Returns 1963-1969

3434/5/ Records of issue, transfer and redemption of shares 1829-1953

3434/6/ Registers of share ownership 1885-1968


3434/7/ Annual reports and accounts 1904-1968

3434/8/ Draft minutes 1828-1885
The earliest surviving minute book begins in 1844. Three bundles of draft minutes, one loose double sheet per meeting, cover most of the preceding period (1-3 below). The bundles including a certain amount of non-minute material, are in some disorder, and in some cases do not give a year, but probably a majority of committee meetings for 1829-41 are covered.

3434/9/ Minute books 1844-1965
Includes finance, policy, relations with lord of the manor, share claims and transfers; copies of reports and letters; committee minutes less detailed from c.1900 to c.1920.

3434/10/ Directors' attendance books 1934-1959

3434/11/ Proxies 1829

3434/12/ Chairman's Correspondence 1969


3434/13/ Secretaries' correspondence: subject files 1935-1969
Most of these records are twentieth century and can be regarded as records of successive secretaries to the Association. Some files are clearly the secretaries' correspondence files; others, such as most of the items in -/13, can only be presumed to have been held by the secretary. In some cases the papers may relate to matters handled by a leading committee member or director, and have accrued in his hands. Except for -/14, which comprises the contents of three labelled parcels of files, the sections of the list are artificial ones, arranged by subject, although in some cases one file is clearly a continuation of another (eg -/13/1-2).

3434/14/ Secretaries' correspondence: original bundles of files 1936-1948
Three bundles of files which comprised 1-16, 17-30, 31-38.

3434/15/ Secretaries' correspondence: files relating to company and property developments 1949-1968

3434/16/ Secretaries' correspondence: miscellaneous 1924-1964

3434/17/ Correspondence relating to the organisation of race meetings 1930-1968
Some aspects of the organisation of meetings were put out to agents working from home or their own office. 1-5 are correspondence files of the secretary with the person or on the subject named. 6-7 are files of W E Davis and 8-12 files of C G W Clarke and were presumably returned to the secretary.

3434/18/ Rating appeal papers 1868-1936
The valuation of the Association for rating was a subject of several appeals. The activities of the Association, based on the profitability of their rights on the Downs, were not as easily assessed as normal property rights, and on several occasions they appealed against valuations, stressing in particular the vulnerability of their tenure and of the holding of races. The dates in 1-4 are the dates of the rates appealed against. In one or two cases, papers in one case may have been reused in a later case, but the original bundles were no longer intact.

3434/19/ Legal cases 1884-1927

3434/20/ Papers relating to World War I 1914-1917

3434/21/ Papers relating to World War II 1942-1943

3434/22/ Epsom Downs Railway Bill papers 1892
Proposal to extend Epsom Downs line to Walton-on-the-Hill. The proposed railway would have affected EGSA property.


3434/23/ Six Mile Hill and Walton Downs 1867-1926
Acquired in 1888.

3434/24/ Tattenham Corner 1879-1890
Acquired in 1890.

3434/25/ The Warren (or Hare Warren), Epsom, and Withy Gate Bottom and other properties, Walton on the Hill 1768-1911
Acquired in 1911. For detailed research notes on Short Oaks and Round Wood which became substantially The Warren, see typescript held in Surrey History Centre Local Studies Library, 'The Hare Warren, Langley Vale' by Brian Bouchard. Some of -/24-47 below probably relate to 1860-61 enquiry to authorise Carew trustees' property dealings.

3434/26/ Portion of Glebe Land, Walton on the Hill 1861-1911
Acquired in 1911.

3434/27/ Epsom Downs 1828-1925
Acquired in 1925.

3434/28/ Land registration and mortgage to National Provincial Bank 1926-1931
Epsom Grand Stand Association's purchase of Epsom Downs was funded by a mortgage of their properties to National Provincial Bank.

3434/29/ Bundle of documents relating to tithes 1906-1929

3434/30/ Leases 1848-1940

3434/31/ Agreements for utilities 1902-1931

3434/32/ Licences for use of Epsom Downs 1858-1936

3434/33/ Easements granted by Epsom Grand Stand Association 1898-1929

3434/34/ Licences relating to race meetings 1843-1939

3434/35/ Bundle of legal papers 1845-1941

3434/ PERSONNEL 1960-1963

3434/36/ Staff assurance schemes 1960-1963

3434/ FINANCIAL RECORDS 1846-1969

3434/37/ Annual accounts 1846-1967

3434/38/ Ledgers 1887-1966

3434/39/ Bought ledgers 1937-1950

3434/40/ Bought journals 1945-1969

3434/41/ Cash books 1928-1969

3434/42/ Dividend account books 1928-1958

3434/43/ PAYE deduction book 1932-1967

3434/44/ Race meeting analysis books 1935-1963
Totals of income at various stands, and from bookmakers, racecards, etc day by day and noting weather.

3434/45/ Booking office book 1959-1968

3434/46/ Entertainment Duty returns 1952-1957

3434/47/ Bills payable book 1928-1929

3434/48/ Register of Debentures 1905-1931

3434/49/ Race fund account vouchers 1846-1855
Bundles including payments from subscribers and to workmen (named), suppliers, police and clerk to magistrates.

3434/50/ Race meeting rent accounts 1923-1962
Rents paid for booths, marquees, plots, camera positions, at meetings.

3434/51/ Race meeting carriage site account 1906-1931

3434/52/ Profit and loss account: Derby Day services 1931-1958
Derby Day Services provided services including attendants, marquee, catering, etc and received income from parking receipts, stall pitches, bookmakers' badges etc. They made a service charge and divided profits with the Epsom Grand Stand Association.


3434/53/ Race meeting statistics 1932-1959

3434/54/ Plot licence duplicates 1963-1969
Books of licences to occupy plots on the Downs at race meetings. The licences were issued to the stall holders; the carbon copies, signed by the stall holders, remain in the books.

3434/55/ Bookmakers' register 1951-1966

3434/56/ Record of tickets given out 1935-1954

3434/57/ Numbers book 1958-1963


3434/58/ Buildings and development: plans and other records 1857-1960

3434/59/ Plans 1920-1965
The plans comprised a single bundle. Most relate to proposed development or to road widening schemes; some show access to the course.

3434/ PUBLICITY 1929-1984

3434/60/ Publicity reports 1952-1967
Publicising of the race meetings and some correspondence relating to the sale of advertising at the meetings.

3434/61/ Press cuttings 1948-1968

3434/62/ Derby publicity and cup design 1929-1984

The race cards (7-15) seem to be an artificial collection.

Epsom Grand Stand Association was a member of the Racecourse Association, the business association for racecourse proprietors.

3434/65/ EPSOM CLUB STAND 1898-1966
The Club Stand was built in 1886 and rebuilt as the western part of the new grand stand of 1927. Members were elected by the stewards of the Jockey Club and paid an annual subscription. The stand also included the royal suite.


3434/67/ UNITED RACECOURSES LTD 1933-1968

3434/ SANDOWN PARK LTD 1889-1969


3434/69/ LEASES, AGREEMENTS, ETC 1889-1969
Mostly numbered, with existing list (see -/69/27).


3434/71/ KEMPTON PARK LTD 1938-1969

Administrative / Biographical History

Organised horse racing on Epsom Downs seems to have begun in the seventeenth century. The Oaks was first run in 1779 and the Derby in 1780. By the early nineteenth century there was one permanent stand, Prince's Stand. In 1828 Charles Bluck leased one acre of the manorial waste from John Briscoe, lord of the manor, to build a grandstand. In Dec 1828 Epsom Grand Stand Association was established to buy out Bluck's lease and E W Trendall, architect, built the stand, which was in use, although unfinished, for the 1829 Derby. The affairs of the Association were in the hands of a committee of management, and there was also a body of trustees.

The Association controlled only the stand itself. Organisation of the races was in the hands of the clerk of the course, appointed by the lord of the manor of Epsom, and the stewards of the course. In 1839 Henry Dorling was appointed clerk of the course and in 1845 he leased the grandstand from the Association for 21 years. From this time, the races were developed so as to enhance the value of the grandstand. In 1866 Dorling did not renew his lease but became, with Francis Knowles, joint managing director of the Association. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards the Association effectively controlled racing at Epsom.

The Association increased their land holdings, mainly on the Epsom Downs and on the adjacent Walton Downs over which part of the racecourse lay. In 1870 they leased land near the grandstand on which temporary stands and booths had long been erected and carriages parked; in 1876 they leased land for an extension to the grandstand; in 1879 they leased from the Earl of Egmont land in Banstead near Tattenham Corner; in 1884 they leased land west of the grandstand; and in 1886 they purchased 205 acres at Six Mile Hill, including part of the Derby course and racehorse training ground and gallops.

In 1890 the Association leased Epsom Downs, except the Downs Hotel which was already leased to a tenant, for 29 years, and they took out a 106 year lease in 1902. This gave them greater power to control the use of the Downs for training and other purposes and to control side-shows in and around Derby Week. Other acquisitions included the Warren estate in 1910. In 1904 the Association was incorporated as a company limited by shares. In 1925 most of the Six Mile Hill property was sold to Stanley Wootton and in the same year the Association purchased Epsom Downs. A new grandstand was built in 1926-7.

Racing rights over the Downs and the erection of structures, were subject to the commoners' rights. In 1936 the Epsom and Walton Downs Regulation Act established Conservators appointed by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, the Association and Stanley Wootton. The Association adopted a new constitution, with a board of directors replacing the committee of management, in 1932.

In 1965 United Racecourses Ltd was formed as a holding company, and in 1967 it acquired Sandown Park. In 1969 Stanley Wootton offered the Walton Downs gallops to the Horserace Betting Levy Board and in the same year the Levy Board acquired United Racecourses. Subsequently the Levy Board, through Metropolitan and Country Racecourse Management and Holdings Ltd, acquired Kempton Park.


Several of the bundles bear numbers which relate to a modern brief listing but there is no evidence of original archival arrangement.

Access Information

There are no access restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the Secretary to United Racecourses (Holdings) Ltd in July 1987. The records are primarily the archive of Epsom Grand Stand Association and were held at Epsom racecourse, in the offices of the Secretary to United Racecourses (Holdings) Ltd which controls Epsom, Sandown Park and Kempton Park racecourses. A small number of records of United Racecourses, which was formed in 1965, were deposited, together with certain records of United Racecourses' other two courses, Sandown Park and Kempton Park, which were held at the Epsom office.

Other Finding Aids

An item level description of the archive is available on the Surrey History Centre online catalogue

Related Material

The racecourse and grandstand at Epsom and Epsom Downs are extensively documented in the photograph and postcard collections at Surrey History Centre.

For records of Hurst Park Syndicate Ltd, and Hurst Park racecourse, West Molesey, 1857-1961, see 462.


David Hunn, Epsom Racecourse, its story and its people (London, 1973) is the standard history of the course and is based to a large extent on these records.