Her Majesty The Queen will officially open the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art on 3rd November 2016. The opening ceremony will take place in the morning when Her Majesty will be introduced to a few of the equine stars in the Rothschild Yard before she is shown the museum including the Robert’s Veterinary Gallery and the Pivotal Racehorse Simulator Gallery supported by the Thompson Family Charitable Trust, as well as a gallery showing for the first time the recently excavated skeleton of Pot8os an important 18th century stallion. This will be followed by the unveiling of the official opening plaque and a tour of the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art, in Palace House.
Her Majesty The Queen is Patron of the National Horseracing Museum and opened the original Museum on Newmarket High Street on 30th April 1983. Since that date the collection in the museum has grown significantly and it became clear that a larger venue was needed to showcase its internationally renowned collection, the sport of horseracing in general and related artwork. In March 2005 the Home of Horseracing Trust was formed by local partners and plans for the National Heritage Centre were developed. 11 years on, a world-class destination has been created in a venue that showcases the ‘Sport of Kings’ in every element, preserving its past, safeguarding its present and celebrating its future.
The National Heritage Centre is situated in the remains of Charles II’s sporting palace and stables built in 1671, and spans five acres in the heart of Newmarket. It comprises three complementary attractions: the new National Horseracing Museum, a national gallery of British Sporting Art, and a chance to meet former racehorses, in the flagship yard of the Retraining of Racehorses charity.
Her Majesty will tour the venue and will be introduced to many of the individuals and organisations whose support over the years has made the redevelopment possible. Children from All Saints School will line the drive to welcome the arrival of Her Majesty and one of the pupils from the school will present a posy to The Queen.
Peter Jensen, Chairman Home of Horseracing Trust:
It will be a great honour to welcome Her Majesty The Queen to Newmarket on Thursday 3rd November to open our new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art. We are extremely proud of what has been created, over many years. Many of the people and organisations who will be attending the opening ceremony have donated large amounts of time, enthusiasm and money to enable this project to happen, and I know they will be honoured the The Queen has agreed to open the National Heritage Centre for us.
Chris Garibaldi, Director National Horseracing Museum:
We are delighted that Her Majesty The Queen is honouring us in this way by opening the new the National Heritage Centre. Horseracing is a sport that we know is close to Her Majesty’s heart and we hope that she will be impressed with the new facilities – providing as it does the opportunity for visitors to understand the fascinating historical context to the modern sport and the horseracing industry.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, Heritage Lottery Fund:
The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to have played a role in the opening of this wonderful new cultural destination, which will support the development and regeneration of Newmarket, and make a huge contribution to the local economy. We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we’ve been able to fund this fantastic project, helping visitors engage with the global history of horseracing and underlining the significance of the sport’s heritage story.
Richard Smith MVO, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Heritage:
As someone who previously served in an honorary position in Her Majesty’s Household at St James’s Palace for 13 years, I am especially proud and delighted, on behalf of the County of Suffolk, that The Queen has agreed to open the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art. I have been involved over the last three years with various aspects of planning for this stunning new attraction and pay tribute to the skills and fortitude of the project team, charities involved, and Suffolk County and Forest Heath District Councils. The culmination of these efforts will be recognised and celebrated by Her Majesty when she officially opens this superb heritage attraction, which will be a ‘must-visit’ for those who both live in and visit Suffolk. There is no better excuse for us all to rejoice together on the occasion of this, the ultimate Royal visit.
Cllr Andy Drummond, Forest Heath District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture:
The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art is a celebration of Newmarket’s regal and racing past, a celebration which the local community can and should be proud of. It is fitting, that in the year that we mark 350 years of the sport of Kings here in Newmarket, that we welcome our longest serving monarch to formally open this heritage centre, a World class attraction that commemorates Newmarket’s unique status as the international headquarters of horseracing.
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