Long before there was National Heroes Circle, or George VI Memorial Park, there was 'Race Course', where so many important events in the lives of Kingston's citizens took place.
Before the Race Course land was bought in 1804, Kingston held its races at a track in the area now taken up by the May Pen Cemetery through to the remains of the Jamaica Government Railway terminus; this area was then, apparently, known as Littleworth, a name which does not seem to have survived. Horse racing was among a variety of sports authorised by Governor's patent to be held every year at Littleworth as far back as 1718, when a Patent was granted by the Governor Sir Nicholas Lawes to Thomas Spencer, Bricklayer, to hold a Fair for three days on West Street at Littleworth in Kingston beginning on May 1, "where there will be all manner of sports and pastimes like Horse Racing, Cockfighting, Bullbaiting, Cudgelling, Playing for hats. Dancing for Knots, Wrestling for Belts, Troll-Madam, Coits, Leaping, Pitching the Bar, the Raffling Plate." ('troll-madam' was a game for women, something like bagatelle, rolling ivory balls into, or perhaps through, holes in a board.)
This painting, from c1796, by a French artist, F. J. Bourgoin, entitled Kingston Racetrack, seems most likely to be an image of the track at Littleworth.
* * * * * * * * * *