ACHG Talk – March 2021
by Terry Gilligan
I had always known that Paddy was a highly regarded jockey at the beginning of the 20th century, but knew little about him. On his retirement from active racing he became head lad and assistant manager at the Foxhill racing stables, then owned by millionaire entrepreneur Jimmy White. Unfortunately, Paddy died before I was born, but my mother often told me what a smashing chap he was, and a great family man. I was very fortunate in knowing his wife Mary – my grandmother – into my teenage years. However, neither my grandmother nor my father spoke much about Paddy, and I always regret not asking about him.
It was when we were clearing out Marlborough House, the family home for a couple of hundred years, when it was being sold, that I came across some of Paddy’s racing bits and pieces. With my grandmother’s scrap book that my father had given me some years before, together with some old family pictures, I was able to piece together a great bit of family history from over a hundred years ago, when my grandfather Paddy Gilligan became a Royal jockey for George V for a short time, but was also a top national and international jockey, and then a top mentor of up and coming young jockeys, including Gordon (later Sir Gordon) Richards.
This is his story.