Mike Huggins
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Racing culture
The racecourse and racecourse life

This chapter deals with the changes in travel over the period, social relationships, behaviour and attendance in relation to social class and gender. While support for racing could be found at all levels of society, the nature of support varied with wealth, status and social class. Changes and continuities in the comfort and facilities of the course, and in the ancillary activities such as sideshows, food and drink provision, tipsters or bookmakers are also explored. The chapter presents an assessment of the ‘moral panic’ associated with the racecourse crime of the early 1920s. The racecourses were a liminal locus for sociality, dressing up in one's best clothes, drinking, betting, some gambling, a temporary relaxation of social inhibitions, and a high level of goodwill and social interaction. Reformist, respectable morality was also challenged by the more overtly criminal element attracted by the large crowds and the liminality of the course.

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