The General Stud Book.Volume III.

Printed: 1832

Publisher: Charles Wetherby. London

Edition: Second edition

Dimensions 15 × 23 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 15 x 23 x 4

Condition: Very good  (See explanation of ratings)


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Item information


Full tan leather . Raised banding with gilt title on the spine.

F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feel and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available

A very rare historic example almost impossible to source

Horse racing is the second largest spectator sport in Great Britain, and one of the longest established, with a history dating back many centuries. According to a report by the British Horseracing Authority it generates £3.39 billion total direct and indirect expenditure in the British economy, of which £1.05 Billion is from core racing industry expenditure and the major horse racing events such as Royal Ascot and Cheltenham Festival are important dates in the British and international sporting and society calendar.

The sport has taken place in the country since Roman times and many of the sport’s traditions and rules originated there. The Jockey Club, established in 1750, codified the Rules of Racing and one of its members, Admiral Rous laid the foundations of the handicapping system for horse racing, including the weight-for-age scale. Britain is also home to racecourses including Newmarket, Ascot and Cheltenham and races including The Derby at Epsom, The Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup. The UK has also produced some of the greatest jockeys, including Fred Archer, Sir Gordon Richards and Lester Piggott.

Britain has also historically been a hugely important centre for thoroughbred racehorse breeding. In fact all racehorses are called English Thoroughbred, the breed having been created in England. All modern thoroughbred racehorses can trace a line back to three foundation sires which were imported to Britain in the late 17th/early 18th centuries and the General Stud Book first published by James Weatherby still records details of every horse in the breed.

Gambling on horseraces has been one of the cornerstones of the British betting industry and the relationship between the two has historically been one of mutual dependence. The betting industry is an important funder of horse racing in Great Britain, through the betting levy administered by the Horserace Betting Levy Board and through media rights negotiated by racecourses and betting shops.

The General Stud Book is a breed registry for horses in Great Britain and Ireland. More specifically it is used to document the breeding of Thoroughbreds and related foundation bloodstock such as the Arabian horse. Today it is published every four years by Weatherbys. Volume 48 was published in 2017

In 1791, James Weatherby published Introduction to a General Stud Book, which was an attempt to collect pedigrees for the horses racing then and that had raced in the past. It was filled with errors and was not at all complete, but it was popular and led in 1793 to the first volume of the General Stud Book which had many more pedigrees and was more accurate. Volume one was revised many times, the most important being in 1803, 1808, 1827, 1859 and 1891.

The General Stud Book has been owned by Weatherbys ever since; the two horse racing authorities that cover the United Kingdom, the British Horseracing Authority in Great Britain (historically the Jockey Club) and Horse Racing Ireland for all of the island of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, do not maintain the registry. This differs from the American Stud Book which is owned by the United States Jockey Club.

The Weatherbys Group is a UK conglomerate involved in a wide range of activities largely within banking and horse racing. The original business was founded by James Weatherby in 1770.

James Weatherby was appointed to serve the Jockey Club as its Secretary and stakeholder in 1770. He was an able and entrepreneurial man and over the next 25 years laid strong foundations for the business. Under his aegis, his first racing calendar was published in 1773, followed, in 1791, by the publication of The General Stud Book, a definitive record of the pedigrees of approximately 400 horses which became the foundation for all thoroughbred bloodstock worldwide.  He was assisted in this by his nephew, whose work on racehorse pedigrees dovetailed neatly with James’s racing work.

For the next 250 years, Weatherbys has continued in the role of administrators to the Jockey Club. Today, every data detail relating to horses, owners, trainers, jockeys, stable employees and races is processed through Weatherbys. All of the 10,500 Thoroughbred races held in Britain each year are drawn together at the company’s Northamptonshire HQ. The firm still owns and publishes the General Stud Book, recording the production of thoroughbred bloodstock in Britain and Ireland.

There has been diversification.

Into printing – the Racing Calendar, racecourse racecards and even publications entirely divorced from racing and breeding form an impressive portfolio. Into laboratory testing – with Weatherbys owning one of Europe’s most prestigious genomic-testing facilities for equine and agricultural stock.

And into banking.

There was always the handling of money. From the guineas of 18th century aristocrats to more than £160m of prize money in 2018, the role of “Stakeholder” has always remained vested in Weatherbys.

For the principal participants in the sport, Weatherbys offered accounting facilities. Holding their winnings to fund their future race entries. By the 1980s, the firm was effectively offering racehorse owners a current account alongside an option for short-term borrowing. Discussions with the Bank of England in 1994 resulted in Weatherbys acquiring a banking licence and the founding of their banking division.

For the first few years, Weatherbys Bank served its traditional client cohort – racehorse owners, breeders, trainers and a payroll office for jockeys. The banking licence enabled a full suite of financial offerings. Clients had chequebooks, debit cards, loans, term deposits and foreign exchange services.

In 1997, Arkle Asset Finance, a 100% subsidiary of Weatherbys Bank, was established to provide commercial asset finance services. By 2006, Weatherbys Bank was ready to develop into Weatherbys Private bank and Weatherbys Racing Bank. An office was opened in central London, and Weatherbys Private Bank was devised with wealth criteria applying, but Thoroughbred connection for clients removed. Weatherbys Bank continued to provide services for those engaged in racing and breeding, with approximately 10,000 owners, trainers and jockeys on the books today. The majority of Weatherbys Private Bank’s clients are now unconnected to racing.

In 2012, the insurance broking business, Weatherbys Hamilton was constituted as a partnership with a number of partners providing brokerage services for bloodstock, property and liability insurance.

In 2020, it will be 250 years since the Jockey Club appointed James Weatherby effectively as its secretary The firm has prospered since and remains in family ownership. Johnny and Roger Weatherby, the seventh generation of the family, run the company today – an unbroken history of family ownership for 249 years.


Condition notes

Boards worn, title plate missing

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