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1829 1836 1839 1840 1841 1842
BOAT RACE COURSE 1836 - 1842 (only two bridges then!)
Westminster BridgeThe old bridge of 1730, renovations in progress in 1840s, replaced in 1854
(Lambeth Bridge)not built till 1862
Vauxhall BridgeThe old bridge of 1816, replaced in 1906
(Grosvenor Railway Bridge)not built till 1859
(Chelsea Bridge)not started till 1851, replaced in 1935
(Albert Bridge)not built till 1873
Battersea Bridgethe old bridge of 1766
(Battersea Railway Bridge)built in 1863
(Wandsworth Bridge)built in 1873
(Fulham Railway Bridge)built in 1889
Putney Bridgethe old bridge of 1729, replaced in 1886


The Boat Race Course 1836 - 1842 from Westminster Bridge to Putney.

Tracing the course from the start above Westminster Bridge: In 1836 a ten year programme of reconstruction had started on the old Westminster Bridge - it culminated in failure, and a new bridge was started in 1854. This was caused by the new much stronger tidal regime after the removal of the old London Bridge in 1823.

Westminster Bridge 1828 © MOTCO
Westminster Bridge. W. Westall A.R.A. delt. R.G. Reeve sculpt. Published 1828 by R.Ackermann, 96 Strand, London.

Via the future site of Lambeth Bridge: The Lambeth Suspension Bridge was not built until 1862.

Under the old Vauxhall Bridge: The old Vauxhall Bridge with nine arches, built in 1816 and replaced in 1906.

Vauxhall Bridge, Havell
Vauxhall Bridge, Havell

Via the future site of Victoria Railway Bridge (1859)

Via the future site of Chelsea Bridge (1858)

Via the future site of Albert Bridge (1873)

Under the old Battersea Bridge. The old Battersea Bridge of 1766 must have been a difficult challenge for coxes - indeed see 1840

Battersea Bridge 1858, watercolour, Greaves
Battersea Bridge 1858, watercolour, Greaves

The 1836-1842 course continued:
Via the future site of Battersea Railway Bridge. (1863)

Via the future site of Wandsworth Bridge (1873)

Via the future site of Fulham Railway Bridge 1889

To finish below the old Putney Bridge. The old Putney Bridge of 1729 - 1886 with 29 arches -

Old Putney Bridge, Whistler, 1879
Old Putney Bridge, Whistler, 1879


1830: After the first race in 1829 at Henley, Cambridge issued a challenge again, but the plans were dropped due to a cholera epidemic.

1831: An Oxford University crew challenged Leander for £200, and Lost.

In 1831 a race was rowed at Henley between Oxford and Leander, a full account of which is given in Mr. W. B. Woodgate's Badminton book. It is interesting to find that the 'Trinity' boat, used in 1828, was at first selected for this race, but rejected eventually for one built by Searle. Leander won the race by about two boats' lengths.

1834 - The Sportsman (in 1836 see below)

A match ... was wished for by the Cantabs, and a challenge was at that time forwarded to the Oxonians, who refused, it is said, but with what truth we know not, to enter into competition, in consequence of their deeming the Cambridge gents, not sufficient adepts in the art of rowing to render the contest an important one.

See 1836!

2: 1836, Friday, 17th June

In 1836 CAMBRIDGE WON by 1 minute, over the 5.75 mile course from Westminster Bridge to Putney. Time 36 minutes. Oxford 1, Cambridge 1

For the 1836 race a purse of £400 was put up. 'In order to make the affair as even as possible' the coxes were amateurs.
I don't quite understand that comment because obviously the 1829 coxes were amateurs (since one became a dean and the other a banker!) I think the answer is that though we see that race as one of the sequence of Oxford V Cambridge boatraces, that is hindsight and there were many races around then with paid boatman coxes.

The 1836 race is thought to have originated the use of the Cambridge light blue which was flown on the bows. It is said that R N Phipps of Eton and Christ's College obtained the colour. It was maybe the Eton colour or Gonville & Caius College colour. Perhaps it is as well that he did not choose the dark blue of Christ's College Cambridge rowing strip!
Oxford again used the dark blue of their Captain's college (Christchurch).

1836: The Sportsman -

AQUATIC REGISTER - OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE MATCH.

The eight-oared match between the gentlemen of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, took place on Friday afternoon, June 17, from Westminster to Putney.

This contest had long been the theme of conversation, and had excited almost universal interest; but until the eleventh hour of the time appointed for its taking place, it was not definitely known that it would be rowed, owing to the parties differing in opinion with respect to the distance.

Two years since a match of this description was wished for by the Cantabs, and a challenge was at that time forwarded to the Oxonians, who refused, it is said, but with what truth we know not, to enter into competition, in consequence of their deeming the Cambridge gents, not sufficient adepts in the art of rowing to render the contest an important one.

In May last, however, Cambridge determined to write once more to their brother collegians at Oxford, stating that they were still willing to stand by their former challenge; but hefore this communication could have reached its destination the Cambridge gentlemen received a challenge from Oxford, which was of course instantly accepted, and arrangements made to come to a speedy determination respecting the preliminaries for a match. It was agreed on that the contest should take place in the London river; but it would appear that it was not so easy a thing to decide upon the distance to be rowed. Cambridge held out, on the ground that they were the challenged party, for it to be from Westminster Bridge to Putney, or from Vauxhall to Hammersmith with the tide, and would not listen to the propositions of the other party, to row either against tide, or from Putney to Hammersmith and back.

On Wednesday the Oxford arrived in London, and took up their quarters at Bachelor's, the Star and Garter, Putney, where in the evening both parties met, and after much argument, pro and con, the the distance, it was definitely settled, should he from Westminster to Putney, and the start to take place on Friday afternoon, at twenty minutes past four o'clock. Lord Loftus, of Balliol College, and Mr. Hickson, of Christ Church, were appointed umpires.

The afternoon proved exceedingly unpropitious; at four o'clock the rain came down heavily, and continued to do so until the evening was far advanced; but, notwithstanding the unwelcome showers, the river at Westminster presented such a phalanx of splendid cutters as has not, perhaps, been seen together for many years. Nearly the whole of the elite of the river amateurs assembled on the occasion, and long before the time appointed for the match there was not a cutter to be obtained at any of the boat-huilders' premises. In addition to the two competing boats, eight cutters had heen brought overland from Oxford and Cambridge, all of which were manned by gentlemen belonging to the two Universities. The Etonians also came down in their boat from Windsor, to be present at the match.

The Fly steamer, which runs to Putney, was engaged to accompany the contesting boats, with a numerous party, but she, as we anticipated, was left some distance in the rear, soon after starting.

The various bridges were crowded with spectators, in carriages and other vehicles, more particularly Vauxhall and Putney, where the carriages extended nearly the whole length of the bridges.

Betting was, from the first, decidedly in favor of Oxford ; but the offers of five and six to four, made in the beginning of the week, were in numerous instances taken, to the amount of some hundreds.

About four o'clock the contending crews made their appearance at Westminster, the Cambridge in the Pelican, built by Logan, and belonging to Corpus Christi College, and the Oxford in a boat built by Stevens and King, and belonging to Christ Church. The former were attired in white cotton elastic rowing shirts, and the Oxford in blue and white striped ditto, and blue handkerchiefs, the latter of which were thrown on one side previous to the start.
...
Each had a gentleman steerer. The Cambridge in our opinion, looked, on the whole, the finest crew, but there were several equally fine young men in the Oxford boat.

The preliminaries having been satisfactorily arranged, and the boats having taken their stations (the toss for choice being in favour of Cambridge), the signal was given for starting at 21½ minutes past four, it being then just the top of high water.

Both crews went away from the bridge in excellent style; the Cambridge however, taking the start, the Oxford lying close alongside, and off the wharfs in Milbank street, were, for a few seconds, stem and stem with Cambridge, who then went to work most gallantly, drew in advance at every stroke, and at Vauxhall Bridge were well ahead.

It was evident, even at this period of the match, that Cambridge had it all their own way; and at Battersea, notwithstanding the Oxonians made several determined pushes to come up with their opponents, the odds were ten to one in favor of the Cantabs, who pursued the "even tenour of their way," and reached Putney ahout one minute in advance of Oxford.

The distance was rowed in thirty-six minutes by the winning boat. They had scarcely any tide with them the whole way, and the ebb met them about Wandsworth.

We cannot say much in praise of the rowing of either party. Their style is bad for the Thames, whatever it may be for Oxford or Cambridge waters. No. 2 and No. 7 in the Oxford boat were particularly bad rowers: the former especially — it is surprising he did not shake his head off his shoulders by his frequent bobbings. We saw the Cambridge when they first went our after their arrival in London, and remarked upon their style of rowing as being nothing like that of the crack men of the Thames. They invariably begin to row where the London men leave off, and appear to have no notion of bending forward.

We must confess there was a decided improvement on the day of the match, a circumstance no doubt attributable to some eight or ten day's practice in our river under the advice of the London watermen.

The Cambridge had the best boat. The one rowed by the Oxonians is too flat bottomed for the Thames. It may do well in shallow water, but she ought never to be brought to London again for a similar purpose.

The Red House, Lintell's, The Old Swan Battersea, and the Baron de Berenger at the Stadium, fired their artillery as the contending boats passed, and Avis's, The Bells, and the other houses at Putney greeted the parties witha volley on their arrival.

In 1836 the Cambridge Cox was Tom Egan who was the coach who took Cambridge to four consecutive wins. It was Cambridge's challenge and therefore they specified the rules and they chose "Gentlemen steerers" which of course meant they could take their coach with them. Oxford were using a professional waterman as coach - and he was thereby excluded. (It has to be said of course that Oxford when it was their turn remained with amateur coxes - the day of the professional waterman was ending).
Tom Egan began the change in style which was ultimately to lead to outriggers and sliding seats. We tend with hindsight to see that as inevitable - but it was certainly not obvious at the time.
The Sportsman (above) said "They invariably begin to row where the London men leave off' which suggests that he was emphasizing and lengthening the finishes - and that he was beginning to recognise that the bent back was not an efficient rowing style - they 'appear to have no notion of bending forward'. So he was shortening the beginning and started the way towards recognising that it is the power of the legs which a rower needs to harness.



Bow
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stroke
Cox
OXFORD 1836
G Carter, 10. 0
E Stephens, 10. 7
Sir W Baillie, 10. 7
T Harris, 12. 4
Sir J V Isham, 12. 0
J Pennefather, 12.10
W S Thomson, 13. 0
F L Moysey, 10. 6
E W Davies, 10. 3

Bow
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stroke
Cox
CAMBRIDGE 1836
W H Solly, 11. 0
F S Green, 11. 2
E S Stanley, 11. 4
P Hartley, 12. 0
W M Jones, 12. 0
J H Keane, 12. 0
A W Upcher, 12. 0
A K B Granville, 11. 7
T S Egan, 9. 0

1837: Oxford challenged Cambridge, designating Henley as the venue; Cambridge suggested London; the parties were unable to agree and no race occurred.
Cambridge challenged Leander and won a race against what was then a London Club.
The Sporting Magazine -

The Oxonians, not throwing down the gauntlet as expected, the [1836] winners, confident in their strength, aimed at higher game, and boldly challenged the Leander Club, then admitted to produce "the best eight" on the River. This was decided on the 9th of June, Parish of Strand Lane acting as cockswain to the Club, and Noulton of Lambeth to the "Men of Cam," the latter winning, after a severe contest, by seven seconds.

Also in 1837 at Henley St John's College Cambridge raced Queen's College Oxford on an occasion which was obviously viewed as being somewhere between a boatrace and a regatta. This race is recorded in Oxford as more or less equivalent to a University boat-race - but, understandably, hardly at all in Cambridge!
OXFORD ROWING -

The next college race with a foreign [ie not Oxford] crew was the famous one between Queen's College and the Lady Margaret Boat Club at Henley in 1837.

As it was found to be impossible to arrange an Inter-University race, it was agreed that the head boats in the Eights at Oxford and Cambridge should row against each other at Henley. A difficulty, however, arose through Christ Church, who were head of the Isis, finding it impossible to get leave to race. They solved the difficulty by taking off on the last night of the Eights, so that Queen's represented Oxford in their stead.

The race is important for another reason, as it possibly suggested the idea to the inhabitants of Henley of starting the regatta, which was first held two years later.

A full account of the race is given in the Oxford Herald, which we insert:

GRAND MATCH BETWEEN OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE, JUNE 10, 1837.

This match was decided on Saturday at Henley. The visitors were equally numerous with those of the contest in 1829. Opinion was greatly in favour of Cambridge, in consequence of the much talked of talents of the crew [the St. John's (Lady Margaret)], who were at the head of the twenty-three eight-oars their competitors, and the reputed excellence of their boat. Until Friday afternoon the odds were greatly in favour of Cambridge ; but when the Oxford rowers had been seen practising at Henley, the betting became even, and in some cases it was in favour of Oxford.

In our last, we stated that the Christ Church rowers had withdrawn their boat, which on Monday evening had recovered its long-standing priority. At the race on Wednesday, Queen's boat became victor ; which decided that it should compete with the Cambridge boat at Henley. It is impossible to speak too highly of the excellence of the crew of Queen's. The names are as follows:
Bow. Lee.
2. Glazbrook.
3. Welch.
4. Robinson.
5. Meyrick.
6. Todd.
7. Eversley.
Str. Penny.
Steersman : Berkeley.

In the Isis Boathouse of the Oxford Academicals club are the bows of a boat -

Queen's College Eight, 1837

These gentlemen appeared to have been formed for the boat, and the boat for them. All seemed perfection itself.

They left Oxford at noon on Friday in a barouche, the horses of which were decorated with ribbons. The boat had previously been sent to the scene of action. This beautiful vessel was built by Mr. T. King of this city, on whom it reflects the highest credit. Its excellence has become the theme of general eulogy ; its superiority has been proved by repeated trials with several boats sent to Oxford by the very first London makers, and it is acknowledged by all parties to be the very best that ever floated on the Isis.

At four on Saturday afternoon the rival vessels left Henley Bridge for the place of starting, two miles and a half below, hailed by the shouts of an immense assemblage of spectators. Cambridge won the choice of sides, and of course took the inner the most advantageous, as there is a considerable turn in the river in the first half-mile.

On the word 'Off!' being given, the start took place, and even during the first ten strokes it was clearly perceptible to the meanest capacity that Oxford was gaining on its opponent, although Oxford was pulling a very long stroke, and Cambridge using the spurting or quick one.

In less than a quarter of a mile from the bridge the stern of the Oxford boat was level with the bow of the Cambridge, when Mr. Berkeley gave the word. 'Away with her!' And immediately on passing the island at the bottom of the beautiful reach, the Oxford shot ahead at least 100 yards. From this point they gradually increased the advantage, and won by about 150 yards with perfect ease, the crew not being in the slightest degree distressed. The crew of the Cambridge, on the contrary, appeared in a state of exhaustion, marked by painful anhelation, when they shipped their oars.

The triumphant crew were immediately hailed by the flag of victory, which Mr. Randall had brought from Oxford with a most confident anticipation of the actual result The distance, as we have before stated, was about two and a half miles ; the time, fourteen minutes. The dresses of the crew were much admired. Wearing their emblems of victory, the crew and the Oxford visitors set off on their return home, and the road presented a most animating (and animated ?) scene, they being hailed by all who saw them, the inhabitants of every village appearing to feel a strong interest in the much talked of contest.

When the issue became generally known here, it was determined by the crews of the other Oxford boats to present Queen's with some testimony of the great pleasure they derived from the victory ; and Mr. Randall, of the High Street, who had supplied the handsome dresses of the crew, and the handkerchiefs and rosettes worn by the Oxford men who were present at the match, was requested to make as splendid a flag by Tuesday as the time would admit of.

This was done, and on that evening the flag was attached to the stern of the victor boat, amidst shouts of applause, after which it headed a procession of nearly all the racing boats, decorated with their various flags, to Iffley and back.

On returning to Christ Church Meadow, the crew of the Queen's boat pulled in with precisely the same stroke as they had used at Henley. The crews of the other boats stopped, and standing up, with all their oars raised, saluted the conquerors with loud cheers, which salutation was responded to by a very large assemblage of spectators on the banks of the river, who imagined that it was directed to themselves.

1838: Cambridge again rowed against Leander. The Sporting Magazine -

The Leander, not at all fancying that the "mastery of the flood" which they had so long held should be wrested from them [beaten by Cambridge in 1837], threw down the gauntlet last year for another "shy", which being picked up by their late antagonists with all the alacrity that marks the confidence arising from previous victory, the 13th of June was appointed for the contest.

This, however, did not end satisfactorily, as "fouling" seemed the order of the day with the River cockswains; and although the Leander passed through Putney bridge first by about a length, the victory was disputed, and the Umpire, on being appealed to, expressed his opinion that the agreement never contemplated any fouling, and in consequence of the violation of that agreement, he decided that it was "No Match".

3: 1839, Wednesday, 3rd April

In 1839 CAMBRIDGE WON by 1 minute and 45 seconds. Oxford 1 Cambridge 2
Oxford's 1839 challenge was Westminster to Putney, in the Easter vacation, with gentleman steerers, no fouling permitted.
OXFORD ROWING -

In 1839 Oxford engaged a London professional, Jones, to coach them, and cut a channel through the ice, so as to lose no time.

We have the following entry in the Balliol Boat Club book: 'University boat launched, and christened Isis with due honours. Length 51 ft. 6 in. Colour white inside, with dark blue gunwale inside and out. Oars only varnished above the neck, and painted white below with dark blue blades.' MacMichael adds that the arms of the University were emblazoned on the rudder.

The New Sporting Magazine says : 'Until the eleventh hour appointed for its taking place, it was not definitely known that it would be rowed, owing to the parties differing in opinion with respect to the distance.' Cambridge wanted to row from Westminster to Putney or from Vauxhall to Hammersmith with tide. Oxford wanted to row against tide, or from Putney to Hammersmith and back.

But the course was decided as the 1836-1842 course (see above)

Cambridge moved away straight from the start and took a considerable lead -

The race was as hollow as it well could be: from start to finish Oxford were never in it, and Cambridge won in a common canter by upwards of a minute and a half.

Annual Register, Edmund Burke -

ROWING MATCH ON THE THAMES.

A rowing-match, between gentlemen of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, "came off" on Wednesday, in great style. The number of spectators who lined the sides of the Thames, and covered the bridges from Westminster to Putney — the distance agreed on for the match — was very numerous, though the wind blew coldly from the North-east.

The Cambridge gentlemen were victorious; showing their superiority both in vigour and rapidity of stroke. The distance was performed in thirty-one minutes.

There were eight rowers in each boat.

The Sporting Magazine carried this report -

GRAND EIGHT-OARED MATCH BETWEEN OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE.

The opening Match on Old Father Thames for the present season was between the rival Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
...
The challenge on the present occasion [1839] originated with the Oxonians, which the Cantabs readily accepted, and Thursday the 28th of March was named as the "great, the important day," but, by mutual consent, it was postponed till the 3rd of April.

The crews for the previous fortnight had been in active training, and on the day they appeared in two boats built for the occasion — that for the "Men of Isis" by King of Oxford, and the one for the "Men of Cam" by Messrs. Searle of Stangate.

At half-past four o'clock the gentlemen were at their stations, every position from which a view could be obtained being thronged to excess; and notwithstanding a cutting east wind prevailed, sufficient to deter the most ardent lover of aquatic sports from venturing from "his own fire-side", the River presented a most animated appearance, every description of boat having been put into requisition. Every preliminary being settled, and Umpires chosen, Mr. Harrison, Commodore of the Thames Yacht Club, accepted the office of Referee, at the mutual request of the contending Colleges.
...
The Oxonians, having won the toss for choice of station, took their position on the Middlesex side, the second pier from the centre arch, and the Cantabs on the Surrey side.

The start took place exactly at 13 minutes to five o'clock, both going off in admirable style, and continuing stroke for stroke to the Bishop's Walk; but as they neared the Horse-ferry, the Cantabs obtained a palpable lead, and continued in advance to Vauxhall bridge, which they passed four boats' length a-head, and continued to increase the distance, shooting through Putney-bridge in one minute and forty-five seconds before their opponents, doing the distance in thirty-one minutes.

Several steamers accompanied the Match, which were crowded to excess. The two crews, with a large party of friends, afterwards dined at the Bells, Putney, Mr. Stanley, the stroke-oar of the Cambridge boat, presiding, and Mr. Bewick, the stroke-oar of the Oxford, facing him. It is almost unnecessary to add, that the utmost cordiality subsisted between the rival crews, and the evening passed in the utmost conviviality.

This race in 1839 was the second of Tom Egan's wins for Cambridge as Coach and Cox. But he taught bow too well! Bow was Albert Shadwell whose younger brother Arthur Shadwell became Oxford Cox in 1842 and successfully taught them the Egan style.
Meanwhile Oxford appear to have persevered in the orthodox waterman's style - and were reputed to be rating 53 in practice! No wonder Cambridge won - and the above reference to a 'common canter' presumably means they could bring the rating right down in the last part of the race.


Bow
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stroke
Cox
OXFORD 1839
S Lee, 10. 4
J Compton, 11. 5
S E Maberly, 11. 4
W J Garnett, 12.10
R G Walls, 13. 0
R Hobhouse, 12. 0
P L Powys, 12. 0
C Bewicke, 11. 5
W Fooks, 10. 2

Bow
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stroke
Cox
CAMBRIDGE 1839
A H Shadwell, 10. 7
W W Smyth, 11. 0
J Abercrombie, 10. 7
A Paris, 11. 4
C Penrose, 12. 0
W H Yatman, 10.10
W B Brett, 12. 0
E S Stanley, 10. 6
T S Egan, 9. 0

The 1839 Cambridge win galvanised Oxford into organising - and indirectly into obtaining a ceremonial barge from one of the livery companies to use as a training headquarters. This started the tradition of college barges.
I suspect that the ceremonial barges were being sold off as a result of the building of the new London Bridge in 1829. The currents above the bridge were greatly increased as a result of removing the old bridge - and maybe the barges became difficult to manage.

4: 1840, Wednesday, 5th April

IN 1840 CAMBRIDGE WON by three quarters of a length. Oxford 1 Cambridge 3
Which is a close race in rowing the five and three quarter miles from Westminster to Putney!
OXFORD ROWING -

1840. A professional, Coombes, champion of the Thames, and familiarly known as the Little Wonder, was hired to train the [Oxford] crew for a fortnight for £10. Queen's and St. John's sent Eights to the race.

The start was disturbed by wash from steamers and Oxford drew away rapidly, opening up a lead of three lengths. The great advantage of the short rapid stroke was acceleration at the start. That and the likelihood that the professional waterman's style was less disturbed by wash gave Oxford their substantial lead at this part of the race.
However three miles later it was another story. Oxford could perhaps not sustain their high rating and Cambridge, with Egan's longer steadier style, caught them. Whatever subsequently happened must have been triggered by that achievement. But then there are three suggestions - the first is that as Cambridge approached from behind, Oxford came across their bows and had to give way, losing ground in the process - the second is that the Oxford Cox going with the flood tide tried to take a racing line around the Battersea bend and failed to stay in the strongest stream (it pays to take what looks like a longer route) - and the third is that Oxford fouled Battersea Bridge and were delayed.
Anyway Oxford were leading till Battersea and then were overtaken and lost by three quarters of a length.

1840: The Times -

... no spot on the river banks from one terminus of the race to the other that had not an occupant ...
... both crews were using cutters especially built for the occasion, and had a vast deal of practice and though considered amateurs were equal if not superior to any rowers on the river.


Bow
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stroke
Cox
OXFORD 1840
J G Mountain, 11. 1
I J I Pocock, 11. 2
S E Maberly, 11. 4
W Rogers, 12.10
R G Walls, 12. 7
E Royds, 12. 4
G Meynell, 11.10
J J T Somers-Cocks, 11. 3
W B Garnett, 9. 7

Bow
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stroke
Cox
CAMBRIDGE 1840
A H Shadwell, 10. 7
W Massey, 11. 0
S B Taylor, 11. 7
J M Ridley, 12. 8
G C Uppleby, 11.12
F C Penrose, 12. 1
H Jones, 11. 1
C M Vialls, 11. 6
T S Egan, 9. 0

5: 1841, Wednesday, April 14th

In 1841 CAMBRIDGE WON by 1 minute and 5 seconds. Oxford 1 Cambridge 4 The course was again the five and three quarter miles from Westminster to Putney
OXFORD ROWING -

This year Fletcher Menzies introduced the long stroke with a catch at the beginning. Coombes was engaged to train the crew at a salary of £5 per week.

We have from the Brasenose book a quaint letter written by our coach this year. It is addressed to:

Mr. John Cox,
Brasnall Colledge
Oxford

I have riting thouse fue lines to ask you if you have enney idier wether you will want me this turme or not as I dont like to ingadge with anney other parte tell I year from you. Please to send me word wether you like your oars or not.
No mor from
Your humble servent
ROBERT COOMBES

It is said that the date which had been agreed was Easter Tuesday, 13th April.

Cambridge training on the Thames involved daily racing a Cambridge Subscription rooms crew (and a waterman or two) over the five and three quarter mile course, giving them two hundred yards start and expecting to pass them half way.
On Good Friday, five days before the race there was no training outing, but the Cambridge 7, the Honorable George Denman took out a wherry and collided with a pleasure boat, injuring his shoulder. He managed to avoid training the next day, and there was none on Easter Sunday, on the Easter Monday he took his place and they practiced starts and had a few short rows - and, he recorded, took his place for the race on the Tuesday. Obviously somebody remembered the dates wrongly!

Both boats were built by Searle though Cambridge's was more traditional clinker and Oxford's a Carvel construction giving a much smoother outline.

The race itself was less interesting than most. Cambridge went into the lead and stayed there.


Bow
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stroke
Cox
OXFORD 1841
R Bethell, 10. 6
E V Richards, 11. 2
J G Mountain, 10. 9
E Royds, 11.13
H W Hodgson, 11.10
W Lea, 11. 7
G Meynell, 11.11
J J T Somers-Cocks, 11. 4
C B Wollaston, 9. 2

Bow
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stroke
Cox
CAMBRIDGE 1841
W R Crocker, 10.12
Hon. L W Denman, 10.12
A M Ritchie, 11.10
J M Ridley, 12. 7
R H Cobbold, 12. 4
F C Penrose, 12. 0
Hon G Denman, 10. 7
C M Vialls, 11. 7
J M Croker, 10. 8

6: 1842: Saturday, 11th June

In 1842 OXFORD WON by 13 seconds. Oxford 2 Cambridge 4
OXFORD ROWING -

From the Brasenose book we also learn that the race in 1842 was not, as usual, the result of a challenge sent by one University to the other, but of an advertisement, inserted in Bell's Life by Cambridge, challenging the world. Both crews this year agreed to take the London water three days before the match.

This was not so much the end of the Egan era at Cambridge as the spread of the Egan era to Oxford. Fletcher Menzies the Oxford Stroke had trained an eight in opposition to the orthodox style of the watermen with its high rating short digging stroke. He preached the quick catch and long draw through, much as Tom Egan had at Cambridge. He achieved success and was elected President.

On a glorious hot summer day it was still hot at 8.45pm when they started.

The Times -

They both caught the signal at the same moment and after half-a-dozen smart strokes on each side the boats dashed through the water as evenly as we remember to have seen a start.
Off the Speaker’s house the Cambridge crew had drawn the head of their boat about a foot in advance of their opponents and facing the horseferry had increased it about two more feet.
At Chandler’s the Oxford boat-head was as nearly as possible level with their adversary’s main thwart, but on the discharge of some cannon the Oxonians at that moment picked up their boat as though it had been suddenly propelled by the wadding and went up to their adversaries.
For a quarter of a minute they were oar and oar and then the Oxonians gradually gained, passing the Vauxhall Bridge a length and a half in advance.

Then there were problems in the Oxford boat because of heat. We are told Stroke passed his straw hat to seven who was feeling faint! And then they all sucked a piece of lemon! During a boatrace? It was a very different world!

And then the Leander Club (who presumably were unaware that a boatrace was taking place? - or was this a deliberate foul? Perhaps Leander had a professional waterman as Cox ... ) came right out in front of the two crews who had to take rapid evasive action. Arthur Shadwell, the Oxford cox, STOOD in the boat to see more clearly his way through Putney Bridge. (To those who do not know I can assure you that for the cox to stand in a modern eight would have much the same effect as a jet pilot using an ejector seat!)

So Oxford won the sixth boatrace making it Oxford two, Cambridge four.

 OXFORD 1842st. lb.  CAMBRIDGE 1842st. lb.
BowF T McDougall 9. 8 BowF E Tower10. 2
2Sir R Menzies11. 3 2Hon. L W Denman10.11
3E A Breedon12. 4 3W Watson10.13
4W B Brewster12.10 4F C Penrose11.10
5G D Bourne13.12 5R H Cobbold12. 6
6J C Cox11. 8 6J Royds11. 7
7G E Hughes11. 6 7Hon G Denman10. 9
StrF N Menzies10.12 StrJ M Ridley12. 0
CoxA T W Shadwell10. 4 CoxA B Pollock 9. 7

That was the last boat race over the Westminster to Putney course


Click for Hammersmith Bridge  
 
 
 
Boat Race 1845 - 1849




Introduction
Estuary
PLA
QEII Br
Barrier
Tower Br
Custom Ho
London Br
; Frost Fairs
Cannon St Rb
The Great Stink
Southwark Br
Millenium Br
Blackfriars Rb
Blackfriars Br
Waterloo Br
Charing Cross Rb
Westminster Br
Lambeth Br
Vauxhall Br
Victoria Rb
Chelsea Br
Albert Br
Battersea Br
Battersea Rb
Wandsworth Br
Fulham Rb
Putney Br
Hammersmith Br
Barnes Rb
Chiswick Br
Kew Rb
Kew Br
RICHMOND
Twickenham Br
Richmond Rb
Richmond Br
TEDDINGTON
Kingston Rb
Kingston Br
Ditton Slip
Hampton Br
MOLESEY
SUNBURY
Walton Br
Desborough Cut
SHEPPERTON
Chertsey Br
CHERTSEY
M3 Br
Laleham Slip
PENTON HOOK
Staines Rb
Staines Br
Runnymede Br
BELL WEIR
Magna Carta Is
OLD WINDSOR
Albert Br
Datchet
Victoria Br
Black Potts Rb
ROMNEY
Eton
Windsor Br
Windsor Rb
Windsor Slip
Elizabeth Br
BOVENEY
Dorney Lake
York Cut
Summerleaze Fb
MonkeyIsland
New Thames Br
BRAY
Bray Slip
Maidenhead Rb
Maidenhead Br
Below Boulters
BOULTERS
Cliveden
Hedsor
COOKHAM
Cookham Slip
Cookham Br
BourneEnd RFb
Quarry Woods
A404 Br
MARLOW
Marlow Br
Bisham
TEMPLE
HURLEY
Medmenham
Culham Ct
Aston Slip
HAMBLEDEN
Temple Is
Fawley Ct
Remenham
Regatta
Phyllis Ct
Henley Slip
Leander
Red Lion
Henley Br
Angel on Br
Landing
Hobbs Boatyard
Hobbs Slipway
MARSH
Hennerton
Bolney
Wargrave
Shiplake Rb
R.Loddon
SHIPLAKE
Sonning Br
SONNING
Dreadnought
K&A Canal
CAVERSHAM
Reading Br
Caversham Br
Reading Slip
Purley
MAPLEDURHAM
Hardwick Ho
Whitchurch Br
WHITCHURCH
Hartswood Reach
Gatehampton Rb
Goring Gap
Goring Br
GORING
Swan
CLEEVE
Moulsford
Moulsford Rb
Papist Way Slip
Winterbrook Br
Wallingford Br
BENSON
Shillingford Br
R.Thame
DAYS
Burcot
Clifton Hampden
Clifton Church
Clifton H Br
Barley Mow
Long Wittenham
CLIFTON
Appleford Rb
Sutton Courtenay
Sutton Br
CULHAM
Culham Cut Fb
Abingdon Slip
Abingdon
Abingdon Br
ABINGDON
Nuneham Rb
Nuneham
Nuneham Park
Radley Boats
SANDFORD
Rose Island
Kennington Rb
Isis Br
Iffley Mill
IFFLEY
Oxford Rowing
Isis
Donnington Br
Riverside Slip
Boathouses
Punting
Lower Cherwell
Upper Cherwell
Islip
Head of River
Salters Steamers
Folly Br
Bacons Folly
Oxford Fb
Osney Fb
Weir stream
Osney Rb
Bullstake Stream
Osney Marina
OSNEY
Osney Br
Four Rivers
OLD RIVER
CANAL
Medley Weir Site
Medley Fb
Bossoms
Perch
Trout
GODSTOW
Godstow Nunnery
Godstow Br
Thames Br
KINGS
River Evenlode
EYNSHAM
Swinford Br
Oxford Cruisers
PINKHILL
Farmoor
Stanton Harcourt
Bablock Slip
Arks Weir Site
NORTHMOOR
Harts Fb
//Rose Revived
Newbridge
//Maybush
River Windrush
below Shifford
SHIFFORD
Shifford Fb
Tenfoot Fb
Trout Inn
Tadpole Br
RUSHEY
Old Mans Fb
RADCOT
Radcot Cradle Fb
Swan Inn
Radcot New Br
Radcot Old Br
GRAFTON
Eaton Hastings
Kelmscott
Eaton Fb
BUSCOT
Bloomers Hole Fb
Trout Inn
St Johns Br
ST JOHNS
Halfpenny Br
Marina Slip
LIMIT
Inglesham
Hannington Br
Kempsford
Castle Eaton Br
Marston Meysey
A419 Br
Cricklade
SOURCE?
THAMES HEAD
SEVEN SPRINGS