Royal Ascot Bowler Hats

Ascot Anecdotes – Part 6

Staff bowled over by dress code

The wearing of Bowler Hats by the Ascot Stewards is a tradition that is proudly protected and maintained by the longer serving stewards.

However the dress instruction was met with near mutiny when it was introduced in the late 1950s in an attempt to address slipping standards. The trustees had to give pay rises at the time to stop the staff striking over the issue. When the racecourse closed for redevelopment in 2004, the management had to assure staff that there were no plans to alter the much loved “uniform” when everyone returned in 2006.

How to make an entrance at Royal Ascot

In the early 1920s, Lord Lonsdale drove every day from his rented house in Ascot, up the High Street to the racecourse entrance with outriders, drivers and footmen, all wearing his distinctive yellow livery. The processions were so grand that it was thought by some that he was trying to rival the Royal Procession.

Carriage clubs make a stylish entrance

A familiar sight at Royal Ascot is the arrival of horsedrawn carriages along the High Street, to the sound of hunting horns. These carriages belong to members of the country’s carriage clubs, who stable their horses during racing whilst they enjoy their club facilities on course prior to departure.

Singing round the bandstand

Ascot’s much loved tradition of “singing round the bandstand” or “community / traditional singing” began in the 1970s under the stewardship of Lady Beaumont, wife of the then Clerk of the Course, Captain Sir Nicholas Beaumont.  The now unmissable sing song of British favourites and flag-waving after racing was an immediate success with thousands of racegoers staying on and making it an integral part of their day.  Now, traditional singing is listed as part of the day’s formal proceedings in the racecard and song books and flags are handed round.

DID YOU KNOW? On Saturday 15th October 2011 Ascot Racecourse hosted the inaugural British Champions’ Day – the conclusion of the new British Champions’ Series. This has now become an annual addition to the Flat racing season.



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