Three local books launched with Great Yarmouth facts

THREE “local” books have been launched with facts and memories of times gone by.

David Tubby has tackled the subject of Great Yarmouth Racecourse – and don’t be thinking the current course is the original. For more than 200 years there has been horse racing in Yarmouth with its early days steeped in the history of the militia barracked in the town.

Mr Tubby’s book tells the story of the racecourse on the South Denes, and then since on North Denes, from its early days to council control in 1904 and more recently to its current operators Northern Racing.

The paperback, published by Mr Tubby, of Gorleston, is a factual, informative and in some cases, a funny look at how the racecourse and racing came into being and developed into the multi-million pound business it is today.

Horse racing began, it is reported, on the South Denes in 1715 when a group of local innkeepers were granted the lease of a piece of land by the Corporation to construct a racecourse. However, it was not until 1810 that races were recognised by Weatherbys Racing Calendar.

Mr Tubby goes into detail to recount how the sport grew in popularity and, by 1866, the London excursion trains were bringing nearly 2,000 spectators.

Late in 1919, it was agreed to move to the North Denes and again it enjoyed good patronage, with its new course getting high praise in press reviews – and by 1921 the September meeting was attended by a crowd of more than 41,000.

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Champion jockey Gordon Richards attended the first two days of the autumn meeting in 1938 and notched up a hat trick of winners on both days.

However, the second world war was looming and the following autumn, racing was cancelled and the site converted to military use for the duration.

After the war, things returned to normality as did the sport of kings and it continues today with the author bringing us right up to date.

Mr Tubby’s book is a must for those interested in the fascinating history of horse racing in Yarmouth, an integral part of the town and resort.

The book, which costs �7.99, is available at Yarmouth Racecourse office, Veritas Books in Gorleston and A Novel Idea in Yarmouth’s Regent Street.

l Sheila Hutchinson’s latest book is another masterpiece of “how we used to live” – and she includes all the children of Freethorpe in her dedication.

Freethorpe Past and Present includes pictures, maps, documents and recollections of life in the small village.

Mrs Hutchinson’s attention to detail is second to none and this book will keep the reader engrossed for many an hour. Several current residents talk about their memories, and there are pictures galore of village events including school line-ups, groups, events and sporting teams.

There are descriptions of the history and life of Freethorpe Brickyard, which was marked on a map of 1797 and is believed to have closed in the early 1930s.

And the busy village also included thatchers, insurance agents, surgeons, doctors and nurses, drapers and a vet among the usual services such as a butchers, grocers and the local pub houses.

For villagers, and especially the young, Freethorpe Past and Present is something to treasure to show to their own children; and even for non-villagers it is a fascinating read.

Stockists include: Freethorpe post office, Reedham post office, Jarrold in Norwich, Yarmouth’s WH Smith, Beccles Books and Veritas Books in Gorleston, and the 140-page book costs �9.

l The Norfolk-based Larks Press specialises in books telling the stories of real people, in many cases in their own words and their own histories.

Its latest publication, A Boyhood in the Fleggs, is a collection of articles written for the Clippesby Parish magazine in the 1980s.

The author, Jimmy Leggett, was a Dunkirk veteran who, for a few years, edited the Dunkirk Journal. The book includes some wartime memories but mainly the articles concern his childhood in Clippesby, Billockby and Fleggburgh in the 1920s. And clearly he loved the wildlife, the dialect and the people he grew up with.

The stories of his childhood are gentle and whimsical; and concern a time which we will never see the like of again.

He recounts the time when he used the well in the garden as an experiment which backfired, and landed him in hot water; as well as his schooldays when the odd prank or two was pulled off – but many a time it ended with the cane!

The book, in paperback and 180 pages costs �8.50 and will be launched during An Evening of Memories on July 1 at Fleggburgh Primary School.