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Chapter 21 - Ascot Races - Braces

The Central, East Ham, my local folk club where I made friends with Sandy Denny and Ralph McTell

Going to Ascot every year is a ‘must do’ for the upper-classes and has been since 1711 when it was set up by Queen Anne, but it wasn’t until 1911 that the event extended to Ascot Week, also known as Royal Ascot, when people were forced to wear ridiculous clothing and drink very expensive champagne whether they wanted to or not.

That’s the only connection between Ascot and Ascot Races, braces, worn by working classes through the years. Its popularity cannot be denied, attracting over half a million punters every year, although I doubt that few ever came from The East End of London in their limos.

Until 1920 instead of groundsmen at the famous Royal racecourse they kept 400 sheep to keep the grass short. Other interesting facts for people such as myself who have very little interest in horseracing is that they have 400 helicopters operating during the week along with 1,000 limos to get the VIP guests to the course. It’s also estimated a quarter of a million afternoon teas and cakes are served, plus 60,000 sandwiches and 8,000 Cornish crabs. I didn’t even know that many crabs lived in Cornwall.

To continue reading this chapter click on this absolutely stunning picture I painted not unlike Bob Ross.


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