John Scott’s Racing Stables in Cheltenham, 1822

This magnificent equestrian ‘palace’ was built at a time when innovation in the keeping and treatment of horses was a popular pastime for those with resources.

The cost of such a unique building for the housing of horses would have been very high. Even buying good quality horses was for the rich only. This brilliant design has probably never been bettered.

Most racehorses at this time were kept in stalls, loose boxes were still reserved for stallions and mares foaling. But reported in the Annals of the Sporting and Fancy Gazette was an article on John Scott’s stables.


These were trail blazers with rows of lose boxes. The centerpiece shows loose boxes around tall glass belvederes rising high up above the roofs to let in as much light as possible. Access from behind each box allows lads to come in and clean. ‘The boxes are paved with hard bricks and drained.’ The central viewing area is spotless.

It was noticed that the practice of leaving horses loose was most beneficial, they could be fed a light diet of hay, carrots and a few oats and could remain without any other exercise. A horse tied in a stall with limited movement is going to require more exercise.