The running of the Gr3 Langerman at Kenilworth today had us digging in the history books.
We found this snippet, courtesy of Milnerton Estates
The year was 1906 and the Stewards of the South African Turf Club held a meeting, at which the Milnerton Race Course question would be finally settled.
One entertaining glimpse was furnished on January 19, 1906, when the Milnerton Estates engineer was instructed “to put up a rough structure to give a better view of the whole ground, also to have a man on horseback in attendance so that he could ride round the proposed course, which would prove that a Race would be in full view of the Grandstand all round the course”.
In March the South African Turf Club authorised their representative “to enter into an agreement with the Company to provide racing at Milnerton”, and in this connection an arrangement was proposed arising from an unsuccessful previous scheme.
But sporting rivalry and the economic slump were responsible for the slow progress during 1906.
With the Great Depression at its worst, and the revenue of the Cape Colony down by nearly 50 per cent and thousands of people leaving the country, even the South African Turf Club, though already in existence for a century, became hesitant.
Yet at this point another group of sportsmen, to their permanent credit, decided to show their confidence by starting on their own account the Milnerton Turf Club, one of the most important being John William Stuckeris (Willie) Langerman, father of Dr. R. M. Langerman. a member of the firm of Langerman Brothers & Lawrie, who became one of the original stewards.
Born in Cape Town in 1878, he had started his racing career in 1895 at the age of 17. He gave his personal backing to this project, and mainly through this, made it possible, on February 13, 1907, for Mr Jeppe to express the Board’s appreciation of the good news that “a Racing Licence had been granted to the Milnerton Turf Club by the Jockey Club of Johannesburg”.
James W. Langerman, his elder brother and partner, private secretary of Sir James Sivewright as a young man, also played a major part in starting the Turf Club.
Construction work was vigorously taken in hand and, although not yet completed, the first meeting on the new Milnerton Race Course took place on May 28, 1908.