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Hamilton Park Racecourse, Weighing Room Bothwell Road, Hamilton

A Category C Listed Building in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.7908 / 55°47'26"N

Longitude: -4.0526 / 4°3'9"W

OS Eastings: 271397

OS Northings: 657183

OS Grid: NS713571

Mapcode National: GBR 014H.F0

Mapcode Global: WH4QP.QQD2

Entry Name: Hamilton Park Racecourse, Weighing Room Bothwell Road, Hamilton

Listing Date: 12 December 2013

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 401998

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52132

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Hamilton

County: South Lanarkshire

Town: Hamilton

Electoral Ward: Hamilton North and East

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Bothwell

Description

Harold Oswald, circa 1926; with later additions. Single storey, 5-bay, symmetrical, purpose-built Racecourse Weighing Room in classical style with large curved flat roofed canopy extending over entrance on rounded pilasters. Centrally sited opposite parade ground of wider racecourse complex on ground sloping to rear. Central entrance door flanked by paired windows with further windows to outer ends. Piended rectangular roof with recessed shallower pitched section to rear with large rooflight and 4-bay box dormer to rear. Further later 20th century flat-roofed section beyond. Rendered with projecting moulded window margins. Projecting base course.

Paired timber multipane entrance doors, 12-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roof. Single rendered stack (formerly paired).

INTERIOR: (seen 2013). Large open main space weighing room with circular and octagonal timber boarded rotunda with rooflight to the rear (N). Cast-iron fireplaces. Saddle hook to rear changing room area.

Statement of Interest

Hamilton Racecourse Weighing Room is the only known historic weighing room in Scotland and as such is a unique example of this building type. It is a fine classical design executed in simple materials and makes a positive contribution to the group of racecourse buildings with which it forms a crescent plan.

Horse racing has a long history in Scotland, dating back to the 16th century. Many of these early races were held at rural country fairs and all levels of people within society were involved. Horse racing in Hamilton began as early as 1782 although this was unregulated. The Royal Caledonian Hunt Club was formed between Scottish racecourses in 1818, and the first time it was played at Hamilton was 1895. The first modern racing at Hamilton Park began in 1888 on a suitably flat park of Hamilton Park leased from Hamilton Palace where it continued until 1907 when The Duchess of Hamilton declined to renew the lease for fear of promoting gambling in the working classes. She later changed her mind but by that point the underground mine workings had caused sinkages and the site was no longer suitable. A company was formed to reopen the course in 1926 with £100,000 capital and a new track was built on the Hamilton Low Parks, a site further away from the river than the original track. The Weighing Room building dates from the construction of the new course in that year along with the main stand which has undergone additions and alterations in the later 20th century.

During the 19th and early 20th century, there was gradually more standardisation of racing and courses over the country and many courses closed and fewer races were run. Hamilton Racecourse was the first course in Britain to introduce evening races in 1947. It has an unusual track layout; a long straight with a right-handed looped section at one end, similar to that at Goodwood in England.

The racecourse has been managed by the Hamilton Park Trust since 1976 predominantly as a racecourse venue for flat racing from May to October but also as a multipurpose venue for social, corporate and music events. The weighing room is licensed as a wedding ceremony venue, using the canopy as a focal point.

The architect Harold Oswald (1874-1938) is credited as having worked on the racecourse at some point between 1920 and 1938 and it is likely he carried out the original designs for the site which opened in 1926. He specialised in racecourses and also worked on Musselburgh and Lanark Racecourses.

Betting was only legal at racecourse sites until the 1960s when legal betting shops were introduced in high streets thereby leading to a decline of visitors to the racecourses and some subsequent racecourse closures.

Listed as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).

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