The Changing Face of Northampton Racecourse, a new documentary film by Northampton based film maker and director, Tim Coley (above, on the Racecourse), was shown at MMHS 21 March meeting.
Although the Racecourse has a long and varied role within the town, the film tells the story of it’s largely forgotten history -it’s role during WW1. Racing was banned in 1904 after a series of accidents and fatalities due to the courses open public access and tight turns. Just 10 years later it became home to thousands of troops preparing to be sent to the front line during WW1.
The film documents the arrival of 16,000 Royal Welsh Fusiliers and around 7,000 horses in 1914. They left in 1915 and later went to fight at Gallipoli, where a huge number of them died.
Made with the help of Heritage Lottery funding and a research team, using historical documents, books and testimonies of local residents, the film outlines the impact of the military billeted there on the local environment and population, as well as the logistics of providing accommodation, stabling, food, water, welfare, clothing and military hardware for the men and horses.
In 1917 the Racecourse was dug over and returned to allotments for the war effort, before returning to it’s present day role as a public park.
The film is available for showing to interested groups and societies. If you are interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org