The Turf Tavern, Wrexham
This pub’s name dates from when horse races were held where the Racecourse stadium now stands. Football, cricket and other sports were played here too. In 1859, for example, a cricket match was played “on the grounds of the Wrexham club, at the Turf Tavern” between Wrexham’s second eleven and a side from Brymbo’s new cricket club.
Wrexham Football Club was founded at the Turf Tavern in 1872. Its roots can be traced back to October 1864, when the chairman of Denbighshire County Cricket Club addressed the end-of-season dinner here. Bemoaning the lack of entertainment in winter, he said he was about to buy a football and expected a “good many down to the field next Saturday”. Later that month, 10 men from the cricket club played 10 from the Prince of Wales Fire Brigade and lost 2-1.
Other events at the racecourse included circuses, army drill and the Flint and Denbigh Show (agricultural). In 1870, 3,000 miners from collieries in Wales, Yorkshire and Lancashire met at the racecourse to adopt a Parliamentary petition aimed at improving working conditions in collieries.
In 1897 Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, a major landowner in the area, sold the Turf Hotel and one-third of Wrexham Racecourse to a local solicitor. This sparked speculation about the racecourse’s future, as the sale included the location of the stand, ring and paddock for the horse races. However, racing continued until it was decided, in late 1913, not to apply for any more fixtures because some of the racecourse was to be built on, and there had already been “encroachment at the turn out of the straight near the Turf Hotel”.
The Turf Tavern was a venue for society balls. The 1857 Christmas Ball was attended by a “select and respectable” group of more than 60 ladies and gentlemen, who danced to a quadrille band from 9.30pm to 6am with a break for refreshments at 2am. In 1859 the press reported that “the admirers of dancing and the fair sex may look forward to a very pleasant evening’s entertainment” at the tavern’s annual ball.
Also in the 1850s, annual pigeon shooting matches were held at the tavern.
Postcode: LL11 2AH View Location Map