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BTM TALK–GOODWOOD BY HARRY SHERRARD News


through events such as the Festival of Speed and Revival, and even featured in a recent BBC series with Mary Berry. Indeed the estate now comprises many ventures, including an historic cricket pitch, two 18-hole golf courses, a 91-bedroom hotel, an organic farm as well as the motor sport activities and horse racing. The Goodwood story was described in the February Brooklands Trust Members’ talk by Harry Sherrard, the second time he has entertained us at Brooklands. Goodwood House is the family home of the


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Duke of Richmond and Gordon, a connection that dates back to the 17th century. The first Duke of Richmond was Charles Lennox, one of King Charles II’s illegitimate children by his mistress Louise de Kerouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, who was given the title by his father in 1675. Charles visited Goodwood House for hunting, liked it and bought it in 1679. It is a tradition that Charles is the given name of the first born male in every new generation of the family. This tradi- tion continues with the current Duke, the well- known creator of the Festival of Speed and Revival, previously Lord March, who became the 11th Duke of Richmond and Gordon on the death of his father last year. It is another tradition that when the heir apparent reaches the age of 40, he takes over the running of the estate from his father, which is how the Festival of Speed began in 1993. With nearly 350 years of history there is plenty


of material to fill a whole series of BTM talks so Harry Sherrard’s talk concentrated on the last century, with particular reference to the airfield and subsequent racing circuit, a topic members will be more familiar with. A hugely influential figure from the 20th century was Freddie March, the 9th Duke and the only one not called Charles – his elder brother Charles was killed in Russia in 1919 fighting against the Bolsheviks. Freddie was following the family tradition of Eton and Oxford, but his studies at university were overtaken by an interest in motor racing and flying, with the result that he didn’t complete his degree. Instead he got a job as a mechanic with Bentley Motors. Towards the end of the 1920s he had a brief but successful career at Brooklands, winning the JCC 500 and the Double Twelve. He subsequently ran his own team, winning the Irish Grand Prix and Ulster TT in 1935. His father, the 8th Duke, died in 1935


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ver recent times the name Goodwood has become familiar to the general public


Harry Sherrard (Gareth Tarr).


and that year Freddie organised a hill-climb at Goodwood House. This was a one-off but if we roll forward 60 years, this event inspired his grandson to start the Festival of Speed. For that first Festival of Speed the organisers expected around 2,000 spectators... and 15,000 turned up. One final story about Freddie, who was the 9th Duke of Richmond and Gordon, the ‘Gordon’ part of the title relates to Scottish lands and property inherited by an earlier Duke from his uncle. Although the Gordon assets were sold by Freddie to cover his father’s death duties, the title remained. On one occasion his secretary had booked him accommodation for a trip to New York. On checking into his hotel there was some confusion, they didn’t have a booking in the name of Freddie March, or indeed another name he used, but ah yes, they did have a suite booked for the Duke of Richmond – with an adjoining room for Gordon! Freddie March was the incumbent Duke


during World War II and Goodwood House was used as a hospital, the family maintaining only a small apartment. Near to Goodwood was Tangmere aerodrome, an RAF base, and this was likely to be subject to German bombing raids. So the RAF identified possible dispersal landing strips nearby, one of which was at Westhampnett Farm on the Goodwood estate. An aerial photo taken during the war shows no sign of an airfield


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