Use the blue arrows <> on the left & right to go to the next-door shops
Click HERE to see photos of this building

No.144 High Street

King Edward VII Memorial Hall

House History

12th June 1953

Memorial Hall
- Newmarket UDC re-numbering map

1941 - 1951

Temporary home of the Newmarket Post Office [for further details see No.103 High Street]


King Edward VII, Memorial Hall, High Street, Fredk. Beeton, caretaker - Kelly's Directory

1911 -

King Edward VII Memorial Hall

2 April 1911

Grafton House: Robert Carlisle - sadler & caretaker - Census

Aug. 1904 - 1910

Grafton House: purchased by Sir Stanley Clarke on behalf of King Edward VII

1897 - Aug. 1904

Grafton House: Sir Ernest Cassel

May 4th 1883

Thomas Aldcroft died


Thomas Aldcroft, Gentleman


Grafton House: Thomas Taylor, Trainer of racehorses

1852- 1896

Grafton House: owned by Baron Maurice de Hirsch

May 1834

Grafton House purchased by Messrs. Bond for use as a Gambling Hell


Duke of Bolton - Chapman's Map of Newmarket


The Bear: Gilbert Bernard, Robert Bernard, John Bernard, Thomas Depden - Peter May's map


  • As shown on the front wall of the Memorial Hall:-
    'This foundation stone of the King Edward VII Memorial Hall was laid by the Right Hon. Viscount Villiers on the 14th March 1913.'

    The Memorial Hall is lucky to still be standing, as on February 18th 1941 it was the site of where the ninth bomb fell on Newmarket.
    A military conference was taking place in the hall at the time, and being set back from the High Street the bomb missed the building and fell outside, peppering the frontage with shrapnel and blowing its canopy (visible in the Frith photo below) onto the top of the next door Doric Cinema - No.146 High Street.

    Prior to commencement of the buiding of the hall in 1911 a quite commanding property stood here called Grafton House.

    The origin of the name was after the Duke of Grafton, Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Charles II. The nearby Black Bear Lane was originally called Grafton Street.

  • Photo of Newmarket, High Street 1929, ref. 81956
    Reproduced courtesy of Francis Frith.

  • King Edward VII at Newmarket

  • Aug 26, 1904 - Boston Evening Transcript

    London, Aug 26 - The Prince of Wales has acquired an imposing residence at Newmarket, which may be accepted as further indication that his royal highness is about to take a more active part in the business of racing. At the beginning of this season the princes took over the rooms which were occupied for so many years by the late Duke of Cambridge, but his royal highness's interest in Newmarket has become so great that he desires to have a more convenient residence there.
    The brood mares which the prince has at Lord Beresford's farm will be added to, and the methods by which the prince has decided to carry out the formation of his racing stud will be proceeded with as originally intended. The splendid residence at Newmarket known as Grafton House, formerly the property of Baron de Hirsch, has just been sold, furnished, to Major General Sir Stanley Clarke, equerry to the king. Sir Stanley Clarke was acting, it is freely stated at Newmarket, on behalf of the Prince of Wales.
    Grafton House in the High street, stands next to the Duke of Devonshire's establishment, and opposite the premises of the Jockey Club. After Baron de Hirsch died the residence was purchased by Sir Ernest Cassel, who has now sold it to the representative of the Prince of Wales. A fortune was spent by former owners on the remodelling and furnishing, which were carried out upon a sumptuous scale. The exterior, painted white, gives little indication of the beauty and comfort of the interior. The spacious entrance hall, twenty-six feet long and sixteen feet wide, leads to a lofty and beautifully fitted dining-room, with mirrored panels and antique carved mantel.
    The first floor is reached by a fine winding staircase. The corridors open into a splendid drawing-room, divisible into two parts, which run the full length of the house. The massive marble fireplaces are strikingly ornamental. There are several exquisitely furnished bedrooms, with carved panelling, and dressing-rooms and bath-rooms. The second floor contains accommodation for a retinue of servants.
    Adjacent to the mansion is a trainer's residence. Boxes have been constructed for twenty-eight racehorses, and all necessary provision exists for motor cars, carriages, riding and carriage-horses, as well as stable attendants' quarters, which have been built round a spacious lawn and yards. These open upon a road which communicates directly with the Heath. Since Sir Ernest Cassel went to reside at Moulton Paddocks he has used Grafton House very little, but from time to time his guests have stayed there. Among these have been Sir Pertab Singh and other Indian visitors.

  • Monday 31 October 1904 - The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA)
    The news that King Edward has bought Grafton House, Newmarket, reminds an English writer that more than one of his predecessors have had a palace in that sporting town. The First James built himself a lordly pleasure-house there: his grandson, the Merry Monarch, rebuilt it, and spent many a riotous week with his gallants under its roof. But one March night, in 1683, he was burnt out of his Newmarket home. "A great fire broke out where the King, and Queen, and the Duke of York were residing in the King's House, situate on the Cambridge side of the town". It was hastily arranged that the King and his Court should find a refuge for the night at Cambridge, where bells were jangled, and hundreds of candles were lit to greet his Majesty. But Charles declined to budge from Newmarket, "and continued there all night, and even went away from thence not until the Monday following."

    ... earlier in the year ...

  • Wednesday 11 May 1904 - Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser

    The King, attended by Captain Holford, left St. Pancras yesterday morning for Newmarket. Lord Farquhar travelled by the same train. His Majesty reached Newmarket at a quarter to one, and drove direct to the races in a closed carriage. Rain was falling, and the weather continued very unsettled throughout the day. After the races His Majesty, accompanied by Captain Holford, Lord Farquhar, and Lord Marcus Beresford, proceeded to Egerton House training establishment, where he met Mr. Leopold Rothschild, Sir Ernest Cassel, and others. The party were conducted round the stables, in which the King's horses are stalled His Majesty's trainer, Mr. Richard Marsh. About seven o'clock the King returned to his rooms, and later the evening he was driven to Moulton Paddocks, where he dined with Sir Ernest Cassel and several invited guests. The weather at Newmarket still continues very wet.

King Edward VII - 'Bertie'


    The Major General Sir Stanley de Astel Calvert Clarke detailed in the above newspaper reports was equerry (chief groom) to King Edward VII (prior to his coronation in 1902 Edward was the Prince of Wales).

    As can be ascertained from the above newspaper report transcription (see below in the photos section for a printed copy), Edward was clearly a keen race-goer and via Sir Stanley Clarke purchased Grafton House in August 1904, presumably so that he could own a property of his own in Newmarket (continuing the tradition of King James I, King Charles I and II, who all had palaces in Newmarket).

    Edward had his own apartment in the Jockey Club Rooms and visited Newmarket on many occasions to monitor the progress of his various horses, with little racing success until 1909 with his famous derby winner, Minoru, which was trained by Richard Marsh at his Egerton House stables.

    Edward died shortly after this on 6th May 1910 and Sir Stanley Clarke a year later, at which point for some reason, despite its reported splendour, Grafton House was demolished.

    Ownership of the property must have reverted to Sir Ernest Cassel by this time and it was he who oversaw the building of the King Edward VII Memorial Hall, which was subsequently donated to the town for its residents’ use in 1913.

  • [Note from webmaster - known by many as 'Edward the Caresser' (because of his overt love of women), it's believed that 'Bertie' bought Grafton House for his mistresses and it appears that he never actually lived there for any length of time.
    In it's very prominent position at the end of the newly constructed Avenue it was probably much too public for Edward - it's known that crowds would congregate and look in the windows, seeking to catch a glimpse of him.
    During his many visits to Newmarket Edward preferred the more private locations of his rooms at the Jockey Club or to stay with his close friend Leopold de Rothschild at Palace House (part of King Charles II's palace).
    It's rumoured that he would place police guards at both these locations during a visit in order to bluff the public as to where he actually was.]

  • Sir Ernest Cassel - Ernst Cassel


    Sir Ernest Cassel 1906

    Ernst Josef Cassel was born on 3rd March 1852 in Cologne (Köln), Germany. At the age of 14 he began as a bank clerk in the Bank of JL Eltzbacher in Cologne and by 17 came to England, where he worked at a firm of grain merchants in Liverpool.

    At the beginning of the 20th Century, he became known as Ernest Cassel and after being knighted for his contribution to british finance - Sir Ernest Cassel.

    Following the death of Baron Maurice de Hirsch and as can be seen in the Building Changes section below, Grafton House was  purchased by Cassel in 1897.

    Cassel gained a fervent interest in horse-racing and set-up Fred Day (who lived next door in Lowther House - No.146 High Street for a while) as his trainer at Moulton Paddocks. A full story about Fred and his famous trainer son Reg Day can be found on the page for Terrace House - No.125 High Street.

    Sale of Moulton Paddocks in September 1898

    Since 1892 Moulton Paddocks had been in the ownership of George Alexander Baird (further details about him can be found on the page for the Bedford Lodge). Baird had planned to move his stables from Bedford Lodge to Moulton Paddocks, but he died on 18th March 1893. Baird's executors let Moulton Paddocks on short-term leases until the auction shown above, when Cassel took ownership.

    During a visit to the races Cassel met Edward, the then Prince of Wales and subsequently remained very close friends with Edward throughout his life, naming the Memorial Hall he had built here in his honour.

    One of the photos below shows Cassel at a shooting party near to his stables at Moulton Paddocks.

  • Sir Ernest Cassel is remembered in one of the meeting rooms in the recently refurbished King Edward VII Memorial Hall being named after him.

  • Baron Maurice de Hirsch


    From 1852 until it his death on 21st April 1896 Grafton House had been owned by Baron Maurice de Hirsch. Various occupants during this period are shown below.

    Baron Maurice de Hirsch (1831 - 1896) was a German-Jewish philanthropist who set up charitable foundations to promote Jewish education and improve the lot of oppressed European Jewry. He had quite an active association with Newmarket.

  • Thomas Aldcroft

  • Jockey Thomas Aldcroft was born in Manchester in 1835. He started his career before 1851 as a stable boy for racehorse trainer Thomas Dawson (Matt Dawson's elder brother) at his stables at Tupgill near Middleham, Yorkshire. He won the Epsom Derby for Dawson in 1856 riding Ellington.

    By 1871 he living with his wife Jane (nee Cartwright) in No.2 Morton Villa, Park Lane and then by 1881 he'd moved here into Grafton House.

    His Gravestone in Newmarket Cemetery is inscribed: 'In Loving Memory of Thomas Aldcroft of Grafton House who Died May 4th 1883 Aged 48 Years - Also Jane his Wife who Died August 31st 1921 Aged 77 Years '.

Thomas Aldcroft's Will
This is the last Will and Testament of me Thomas Aldcroft of Grafton House Newmarket. I direct that all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses be paid and discharged by my Executrix hereinafter named as soon as conveniently may be after my decease I give and bequeath All my household furniture plate linen china books pictures wearing apparel and other effects and also all sum and sums of money which may be due owing or belonging to me at my decease or which may be invested in or upon any stocks funds or other securities And also all other my estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever both real and personal and whether in poƒseƒsion reversion or expectancy unto my dear wife Jane Aldcroft her executors administrators and aƒsigns absolutely to and for her and their own use and benefit And I nominate constitute and appoint my said Wife sole Executrix of this my Will And I hereby revoke all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made and do declare this to be my last Will and testament In witneƒs whereof I the said Thomas Aldcroft have to this my last Will and testament set my hand the sixteenth day of June in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and eighty - Thomas Aldcroft - Signed and declared by the said Thomas Aldcroft the testator as and for his last Will and testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other all being present at the same time have hereunto subscribed our names as witneƒses - Alexander Dawson Hogg - John Cartwright.

On the 29th day of September 1883 Probate of this Will was granted to Jane Aldcroft Widow the sole Executrix.

Be It Known, that at the date hereunder written, the last Will and Testament of Thomas Aldcroft late of Grafton House Newmarket Saint Mary in the County of Suffolk retired Jockey deceased, who died on the 4th day of May 1883 at Grafton House aforesaid was proved and registered in the Principal Registry of the Probate Division of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice and that Administration of the personal estate of the said deceased was granted by the aforesaid Court to Jane Aldcroft of Grafton House aforesaid Widow the Relict of the said Deceased the sole Executrix named in the said Will she having been first sworn well and faithfully to administer the same.

Dated the 29th day of September 1883.

Gross value of Personal Estate £1098-2-10

  • Following Thomas' death Jane moved next door to Lowther House - No.146 High Street and can be seen living there on the 1891 census and was listed as 'of Lowther House, Newmarket aforesaid, Widow' when the Will of her cousin, Alexander Dawson Hogg, was proved in April 1891.

    In 1898 Jane remarried to trainer Frederick (Fred) William Day and the couple can be seen there on the 1901 census, by 1911 they'd moved and were living in Terrace House - No.125 High Street.

    The marriage of Frederic William Day, of full age, widower, veterinary surgeon, of Exning, son of William Day (deceased), farmer, and Jane Aldcroft, of full age, widow, of Newmarket St. Mary's, daughter of John Cartwright (deceased), jockey, was solemnised at St. Martin's Church, Exning, Suffolk, on January 12th, 1898. The witnesses were Mathew Dawson and Alice Leach. The ceremony was conducted by the Revd. Arthur Vaile, vicar.

    Newmarket Journal 15th January 1898
    Day - Aldcroft. - January 12, at St. Martin's Church, Exning (by licence), by the Rev. Arthur Vaile, vicar, Mr Frederick W. Day, trainer, Newmarket, to Mrs Aldcroft, Lowther House, Newmarket.'

  • Thomas Taylor from Northumberland

  • On the 1861 census Thomas Taylor from Elsdon, Northumberland and his family are shown living in Grafton House, with a cook and housemaid, plus a groom and 10 stable lads. Thomas is shown as a 'Trainer of Race Horses'; so clearly the stables were here at this time.

  • Messrs. Bond & the Gambling Hell

  • In May 1834 Ephraim Bond of Messrs. Bond (a Jewish operator of the Athenaeum at No.26 St James's Street in London) paid £1,000 to set up Grafton House as a Gambling Hell - a building operating as a business where money can be staked on playing games of chance.
    This was in direct competition with William Crockford's establishment in Newmarket at Rothsay House.

  • Building Changes

  • Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds Branch
    Newmarket Urban District Council Records
  • Grafton House, High St., Newmarket St. Mary EF 506/3/97 1789 - 1897
    26 items
    Harrison - Grafton - Golding - Barnard - Playfair - Thornhill - Taylor - Hirsch
    [Plans in 1852 transfer of mortgage and 1858 conveyance]
  • Drainage, Grafton House, for Mr Cassell EF 506/6/1/2/71 Aug 1897
  • Re-drainage of trainer's house behind Grafton House EF 506/6/1/2/72 Sep 1897

  • Many thanks to Roger Newman for his postcards 'Kings Residence', 'Kings House - posted May 1911', 'The Kings House 24th Sept 1910'.

  • Many thanks to 'Old Newmarket' for the photos 'The Memorial Hall c. 1960', 'The Memorial Hall c. 1920',
    'Grafton House c. 1910', 'Grafton House c. 1905' & 'Grafton House c. 1900'.


Click on image to view full size

No.144 High Street

Newmarket Memorial Hall

Click on an image below to select above
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select
Click to select