50 Years Ago Today


50 Years Ago Today

Today (Saturday 16th February 2013) marks exactly 50 years ago to the day that The Queen made her first visit to The National Stud at its new site in Newmarket.

On 16th February 1963, Queen Elizabeth visited the 520 acre site on the edge of the town and was given a tour by Peter Burrell so she could see the progress the project had made.  Some of the building work had already begun at this point but it was not until 4 years later that the Stud would be officially opened for business. 

The National Stud originated in Ireland and moved to the UK when the British Government sold the Irish site to Irish Government in 1943.  From then until 1967 the English National Stud occupied the Sandley Stud in Dorset and a farm in West Grinstead, Sussex.  It was early in the 1960’s that the Levy Board was charged with giving The National Stud a new direction and it was under this directorship that an agreement with The Jockey Club was undertaken that 520 acres of Newmarket Heath land would be leased to the Stud for 999 years at a peppercorn rent.

Once this agreement was cemented, the then director of The National Stud, Peter Burrell set about investigating different potential designs for the farm, scouring the world for the best options.  The chosen design was a series of isolated yards which could be shut off from one another in the event of a disease outbreak.  The template of Peter Burrell’s vision remains today and a statue of him can be seen at The Stallion Unit.

A selection of archive photos have been posted on our Facebook page showing the building work in progress: facebook.com/nationalstud.

Rachael Gowland

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