Raising the roof

09th May 2022

James Peill, Curator of the Goodwood Collection, delves into the history of The Kennels during Goodwood race meetings.

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When The Kennels were originally built in 1787, the building comprised a central, four-square house for the huntsman and senior hunt servant. This was a cube in shape. To each side of the house were long low wings in which the hounds were kept, not directly accessible from the house. These were divided into two long hound ‘lodging-rooms’ on each side.

After the hunt was disbanded in 1813, the wings were converted into accommodation and The Kennels became the home of the fifth Duke of Richmond’s racing trainer, John Kent, followed in turn by his son, also called John. The first public race meeting had taken place at Goodwood in 1802, a year after the third Duke of Richmond held a private race meeting for the officers of the Sussex Militia and members of the hunt. The fifth Duke did much to promote the horseracing and was a successful racehorse owner himself. By the time of his son, the sixth Duke, Raceweek had become a popular fixture in the racing calendar. Unfortunately, the racing attracted some rather unsavoury characters and large numbers of policemen were drafted in to keep the peace. To house the policemen, attic dormitories were built over the former hound lodging-rooms at The Kennels. This necessitated the raising of the rooves on both side wings and the addition of a row of sash windows above the original large arched windows.

The photograph above was taken in about 1870 before the alterations; it is possibly John Kent Jnr sitting on the bench outside.

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