Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c./Part 3/Kersal Moor Races


The yearly Manchester Whitsuntide races were established on Kersal Moor in the year 1730. Afterwards a long controversy arose on the propriety of continuing or discontinuing the races in a large manufacturing town. Ashton Lever, Esq., and William Hulton, Esq., advocated the races, which were opposed by Edmund Chetham, Esq., Mr John Byrom, M.A., and Mrs Ann Chetham, through whose exertions they were discontinued from 1745, the year of the second Jacobite rising, to about 1760, when they were resumed. For many years these local races formed one of the chief attractions to Manchester, and the population of the large manufacturing district of which it is the centre, during the Lancashire annual holiday at Whitsuntide. A few years ago the site of the races was removed from Kersal Moor to some flat ground forming a delta of the river Irwell, between Broughton Suspension Bridge and Pendleton, near Castle Irwell, the house of Mr Fitzgerald, the owner of the ground. Here the races were held for many years in the Whitsuntide week; but of late railway and other excursions and pleasure-trips have largely competed with the races in the popular favour of some half million of holiday Lancashire lads and lasses.