Town’s racing heritage centre is well into its stride

Palace House work underway last year
Palace House work underway last year

Work on Newmarket’s National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art is on track for an official opening early next year.

Racing museum director Chris Garibaldi gave a update on progress as part of a community briefing on Monday.

“A year on from when we started we are like a foal nearing its first birthday we find ourselves at an awkward yet exciting stage in our development,” he said.

“The most important redevelopment that Newmarket has seen for a generation will create a cultural hub in the heart of the town.”

The project, which is costing more than £15 million, has three main elements.

The trainer’s house and the King’s yard will house a new national horseracing museum with interactive displays, education and seminar rooms and research rooms. “Finally we will get education facilities worthy of the national museum of the sport,” said Mr Garibaldi.

He explained that buildings on the site were being restored to how they would have looked in 1855 “the glory days under trainer Alfred Hayhoe,” he said. While work was going on a large portion of the wall of King Charles II’s original 
stable, dating back to the 1670s had been discovered and 
was now being restored to feature as part of the new galleries.

These will include displays examining the science of the racehorse using the skeleton of Hyperion as well as looking at genetics and the Sport Glory gallery will feature big race trophies and how they were won as well as the historical story of the Sport of Kings.

The complex’s Rothschild Yard, which was originally built in 1903 will become a flagship home for the Retraining of Racehorses charity with six to eight horses from the charity in residence as popular retired equine heroes.

Palace House will house the British Sporting Art Trust’s collections as well as works from public and private collections including Tate Britain.

“We could have gone for a new site and there were other options in Newmarket,” said Mr Garibaldi, “but this site was chosen because of the economic benefit we know it will bring to the centre of Newmarket.

“We have put this redevelopment at the heart of the community and we are putting the community at the heart of the redevelopment.”