Tattersalls is the main auctioneer of racehorses in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Tattersalls was founded in 1766 by Richard Tattersall. Richard had been the stud groom for the second Duke of Kingston.
Tattersalls Repository reigned supreme throughout the Regency period.
The first location was near Hyde Park corner on the outskirts of London. Tattersalls sold horses, carriages, hounds, harnesses, etc.
Approximately one hundred horses were auctioned a week during the Regency period. Sales during the winter months were held every Monday and Thursday. In the spring and summer, auctions were held on Mondays only. The Hyde Park location could house up to 120 horses, a large number of carriages, and kennels for hounds. On the mornings where there weren’t any sales, it was a fashionable place for men to visit and be seen with other racing and betting enthusiasts.
The Jockey Club had two subscription rooms reserved at Tattersalls. Subscribers to the Jockey Club paid one guinea per year, and all sporting bets were settled there; regardless were the event took place.
The Jockey Club was founded in 1750, but it was not a club for jockeys. The Jockey Club was the most exclusive, high society club in the United Kingdom, carrying many of the same standards as the Gentleman’s Clubs at the time. The club first held meetings at the Garter Pub in Pall Mall, London, but the club later moved to Newmarket, a town known as “The Home of Racing.” The Jockey Club became the governing body and regulator of horseracing. They wisely established their headquarters at Tattersalls.
Richard Tattersall was succeeded by his son Edmund, who expanded the business to France in 1833. After Edmund Tattersall’s death, his oldest son, Richard, became head of the auction house and made it even more famous by name recognition. This Richard had a son named Richard who took control of the business yet again, and he would move the location of the auction house to Knightsbridge due to an expired lease in 1865.
Tattersalls remained a family business into the 20th century. Currently, Tattersalls is now based in Newmarket. There is a separate company in Ireland, but they share some of the same directors of Newmarket. Tattersalls is still one of Britain’s foremost bloodstock auctioneers, selling over 10,000 horses a year.
Tattersalls specialized in selling Thoroughbreds. Thoroughbreds were primarily bred for horse racing, although they were often used as jumpers, hunters, and riding. To be a Thoroughbred, a horse had to have its name and pedigree recorded in the General Stud Book. The General Stud Book was one of the first breed registries created. All modern Thoroughbreds can trace their pedigrees to three stallions imported into England in the 17th and 18th century (the Byerley Turk 1680’s, the Darley Arabian 1704, and the Godolphin Arabian 1729.) During the Regency period, pedigrees were recorded in the General Stud Book by the Weatherby family for the Jockey Club. The Jockey Club is the largest commercial organization in Britain for horseracing. Although since 2006, it is no longer responsible for the governance and regulation of the sport, this power was transferred to the British Horseracing Authority. This transfer was not due to failure on the Jockey Club’s behalf, but a demand to meet modern day conditions. The Jockey Club currently owns 14 of Britain’s most famous racetracks.
More on Racetracks and Races in my next blog. http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=77