Verrall became manager and part owner of Croydon Steeple Chases in 1860/61 and made Croydon one of the most popular racing venues in the country. Races took place on about
13 afternoons in the year, one of the March events, the Grand Metropolitan Steeplechase, vying with the Aintree Grand National in importance. This very popularity forced the closure of the race- course in 1891 because of objections from local residents.
Streatham Races too were instituted under the auspices of Verrall and the Croydon Steeple Chases committee. Founded in March 1868, the races took place on fields then forming part of Lonesome Farm, areas today covered by the housing estates of Streatham Vale and Norbury. Meetings were held (In four or five occasions per year and in- cluded the Streatham Plate and the Norwood Stakes (!). The racecourse was closed in 1879, again as a result of crowd behaviour - see Streatham Races by John W Brown (Local History Publications, 1990).
(Bob Flanagan, Friends of West Norwood Cemetery)