General Royal Regatta page


1900: The Grand was won by Leander Club in 7:06
1900: The Diamonds was won by E.G. Hemmerde (University College, Oxford) in 8:42

1901: The Grand was won by Leander Club in 7:05 ?

Movie of Leander v Pennsylvannia University

1901: The Diamonds was won by C.V. Fox (Guards Brigade R.C.) in 8:46
Christ's College Cambridge Boat Club records -

A four was put on for the Wyfold Cup. When we consider that the four was not beaten until the final, and then only by a length and a half by a crew of exceptionally high class for the Wyfold, we submit that the results will be reckoned satisfactory.

July 3rd, 2nd Heat.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Berks.), 1 ; Royal Artillery (24th Brigade), (Bucks.), 0.
Christ's won by threequarters of a length. Time, 8 min. 6 secs.

July 4th, 5th Heat.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Berks.), 1 ; Thames R.C. (Bucks.), 0.
Our crew got up level two strokes before the finish, and won by 4 feet. Time, 8 mins. 13 secs.
In neither of these two races was either boat ever clear of the other.

July 5th, Final.
Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Berks.), 1 ; Christ's College, Cambridge (Bucks.), 0.
Christ's were slightly ahead at Fawley (3.56), but the Hall then went ahead, and, drawing clear at the bottom of Phyllis Court, won by 1½ lengths. Time, 8 min. 9 secs.

"Up the Thames" by Savile Lumley, 1901


"Who's going to win?" I asked the Captain of the Oxford University Boat Club as we sat discussing the prospects of the rival crews just under the shadow of Oriel Cottage,
"Ah, March 30 will show, beyond that we cannot tell."
The speaker was F. W. Warre, the son of the Head-Master of Eton (who himself rowed in the races of 1857 and 1858), and who this year was in charge of the crew.
Last year he was in the Eight, but did not row.
because an attack of scarlatina spoilt his chances.
What he has done this year you already know.
"Now, how do you start getting ready for the race?"
"Well, it is the duty of the defeated crew to send a challenge, and of course this was done in the present year by Oxford.
It is usually done some three or four months before the race.
The University Boat Club always accept it at a meeting.
The fixture is, however, very firmly established, and it would not be easy for anyone to try to introduce any innovation.
Immediately after the Long Vacation the President begins to see what are the prospects for the race.
Some of the public schools may be relied on to send a supply of men.
Eton, Radley, Bedford Modern and Bedford Grammar Schools, with Shrewsbury, are perhaps the best rowing scholastic centres.
Eton has a great advantage in being near the Thames, and the Bedford schools have the Ouse.
But so many schools have no chance.
with the result that there is but little competition among boys, in comparison with other sports, in the rowing world.
But year by year there are races on the Thames and the Ouse, and the records are watched with great care, and any lad who does well in them is sure to have a chance of display ing his prowess at the 'Varsity.
"But to get into the Eight is no easy task, and, really, one is never sure of the position until almost the last moment.
The preparation begins in October, and before Christmas what are called the Trial Eights are rowed.
This latter event is in its final stage a race between the best sixteen oarsmen, and from them the President forms his crew to row against Cambridge.
But, first and foremost, there is no end of anxiety to get an opportunity to row, and every College has its boat, or perhaps two or three, and also a club of its own.
They may have several boats on the river, but there is a limit to those that may enter for the Torpid or other races.
You will thus see that there is a large number of men who row, and an excellent choice is afforded.
These are the sources whence the final selections are made.
" "But what of the Eight chosen at the commencement of the Lent Term ?"
"They at once begin to practise, and gradually to shape a bit, and the President does all he can to coach them; He must give each man a thorough trial, and must also take him Out individually and correct his faults.
In that way a set of men are got together, and finally the right lot.
But even then illness may intervene and upset all one's calculations."
"Where is your early work done?"
"On the Isis ; and there we remain, up and down the river, until we go on the Thames for our final training.
Some six weeks before the day we go into strict training, and this is somewhere about Ash Wednesday.
Then we pass into the hands of our coach; it may be Mr. C. W. Bourne, or some one else like Mr. D. H. McLean, one of the best we ever had.
I believe Cambridge as well as ourselves have been hit very hard by the [Boer] war.
The coach directs the training, and that in vogue now is as follows : We rise early, and begin the day by running a hundred yards and walking a couple of miles.
We breakfast at 8.30. lunch at 1. have dinner at 6.30. and no tea.
while we are in bed by 10.30 pm.
No one dreams of breaking any of the rules ; all are too anxious to do their best.
The one idea is to try and win.
The coach has absolute control of the training."
"What is rowing the race like, Mr. Warre?
You rowed in 1898 and 1899."
"Yes; and I suppose this will be my last race.
It is not usual to row more than four years; though, of course, there is no hard-and-fast rule about the matter, and men have gone on for five seasons; but it always seems to be just a little unfair.
But you ask me what it feels like to row the race.
I do not know, and never met a man who, having taken part in it, attempted to describe it.
It was a terrible race in 1898 when Cambridge were nearly sunk and ourselves not much better.
Then too, one is bent on winning, and there is no time for thought.
You are not so exhausted because on the day you are generally very fit; and all the weeks of careful preparation are in your favour, and so you feel fit.
As you know, the winning crew generally come back in the bows of the vessel which follows the race."
"We hear of trial races - what are they?"
"Oh, during the last stage of our training in London we often come in contact with scratch crews belonging to the London, Leander, or other rowing clubs.
Why they are called 'trials' one cannot conceive?
The plan is for us to row, and perhaps after we have gone a mile, a Scratch eight will pick us up and take a start, and then we row a mile or two together; a little later another crew will take us on, and sometimes two or three in a day.
This year our boat, by the bye, is built by Simms of Putney.
Generally before the race we row fully the course, which I think is about five miles long."
"How should a young oarsman train?"
"That is a most difficult question.
He must have good health, and everything will depend on the state of that.
He must not have a weak heart, and there must be good stamina.
Beyond that, when racing, diet is of great and urgent importance.
We do not smoke, nor drink wine or beer; and the 'Blues' value the coveted honour far too much to deliberately break any rules.
Every man in the boat must do his best, or else he is only a passenger, and not worth his position.
There is only room for hard workers, and each member must pull his hardest."
Concluding my conversation, Mr. Warre told me that he had met with some success at Henley in 1900, having formed one of the Leander winning Four and Eight; and the oars around his room showed this.
Usually, he says, "the crew preserve the oars of great aquatic events," and the cox. takes the rudder.
The Oxford Captain believes that the race was very popular when his father rowed in the fifties, but the diet and method of training were quite different.
The Head of Eton helped abolish raw steak ad lib., and his son is a splendid specimen of the improved twentieth-century system of training.
T. C. C.

1902: The Grand was won by Third Trinity B.C., Cambridge in 7:17
1902: The Diamonds was won by F.S. Kelly (Balliol College, Oxford) in 8:59
R C Lehmann described Third Trinity's victory in the Grand -

[Third Trinity] came to Henley in 1902 with a very brilliant crew containing seven Blues, with R. H. Nelson at stroke, W. Dudley Ward No. 7, C W. H. Taylor No. 6, J. Edwards-Moss No. 5, P. H, Thomas Na 4, C. J. D. Goldie No. 3, C. P. Powell No. 2, and W. H. Chapman bow.

Not many days before the race Nelson had an accident, which compelled him to withdraw from the crew. His place was supplied by J. H. Gibbon, who happened to be at Henley, and was not very much out of condition. He had stroked Cambridge to victory against Oxford in 1899 and 1900.

Such a catastrophe as a change of strokes so soon before the race might well have upset any crew. Gibbon, however, did extremely well for them, and so excellent was the uniformity which they had already attained that their pace seemed in no way to suffer from the change.

Against them Leander had brought a crew of Oxonians, all Blues. Third Trinity, however, in the final gave them very little chance, though Leander had the best of the station. They went ahead at once, and won with great ease.

1903: The Grand was won by Leander Club in 7:09
1903: The Diamonds was won by F.S. Kelly (Leander Club) in 8:41
R C Lehman described Third Trinity's defeat by Leander in the Grand -

In 1903, although [Third Trinity] were beaten, they accomplished an even more remarkable performance [than in 1902].

They brought another brilliant crew to Henley, and were, to all appearances, sure of victory. Two days before the Regatta, however, their No. 5, C. J. D. Goldie, fell ill, and had to leave the boat. They rearranged their crew, and brought in a new and untrained man, N. Chalmers, at No. 3.

Their chief opponents, again, were Leander, and the race between these two crews will ever be remembered. Everybody anticipated an easy victory for the "Brilliants" [Leander], but for at least a mile Third Trinity kept desperately challenging for the lead. Even at the White House it seemed as if they were going to win, but their tremendous efforts had exhausted them, and their pace began to fall off. They were finally beaten by 6 feet

1904: The Grand was won by Leander Club in 7:20
1904: The Diamonds was won by L.F. Scholes (Toronto R.C., Can.) in 8:23

1905: The Grand was won by Leander Club in 6:58
1905: The Diamonds was won by F.S. Kelly (Leander Club) in 8:10
Some Henley Afterthoughts, C B Fry's Magazine, 1905 -

From the oarsman's point of view interest in Henley Regatta this year was centred in the contest of styles provided by the Leander crew, on the one hand, and the American and Belgian crews on the other. Not even the least instructed eye could fail to remark the striking differences in the appearance and work of these crews.

The Leander men exemplified admirably the best points of our English style. Experience of innumerable races over a long period of years as convinced us that we get the best results in pace and in endurance out of a crew when we have taught them to sit erect to their work, to swing long and very steadily forward, to reach out far, to catch the water sharply at the full extent of the reach, to apply the weight-power of the body firmly to the blade by a quick and solid backward swing, to combine with this swing the driving power of the legs, to force the stroke home with an unwavering pressure until the last fraction of value has been secured from it, then to release the blade from the water with the utmost promptitude and cleanness, and finally, to extend the arms swiftly and to recover the body with elasticity in preparation for the slow and balanced swing that rests the body and serves as a prelude to the next stroke.

Performing these movements with a precision and grace and rhythmical regularity that made them a pleasure to the eye, the Leander men were enabled to defeat with some ease as powerful a foreign opposition as has ever shown itself in the fight for the Grand Challenge Cup.
While we are entitled to congratulate ourselves on the decisive result of the racing, it is only fair to remember that no crew but Leander could have secured it. It may be hoped that there will now be an end to the ignorant and often jealous abuse which has been showered on this great rowing organisation.

Christ's College Cambridge Boat Club records -

After five days' practice at Cambridge the crew appeared at Henley, C. C. Garbett having abandoned a holiday in Norway to coach the crew. S. F. P. Blyth, who had steered the May Boat in the two previous years, returned as cox but otherwise no change was made in the crew.

Practice continued steadily up to the races, during which the crew came on a good deal. Our best course was rowed in 7 mins. 10 secs, a time that was only beaten in practice by Leander and the Americans, who got over on the same day in 7.01 and 7.06. It was eventually decided to enter for the Grand Challenge Cup and for the Ladies' Plate. This is the only occasion on which the College has competed in the Grand.

Grand Challenge Cup, 3rd Heat, July 4th.
Vesper B.C., Philadelphia, U.S.A. (Berks.), 1 ; Christ's College, Cambridge (Bucks.), 0.
We had the Bucks, station. Both crews rowed 40 in the first minute, but the Americans went right away from the start, and had nearly a length lead at the top of the Island. This they had increased to nearly two lengths at the half-mile post.
Then picking it up we held them, and spurting past Fawley Court, the half-way mark (3.23), we began to go up on them steadily. At the mile we had reduced their lead to a length and a quarter, and opposite Phyllis Court we were only a length to the bad. Here our opponents began to feel the advantage of the slack water on their side of the river ; we could get no nearer to them, and were beaten by a length in the good time of 7 mins. 12 secs., after the best piece of rowing we ever did." The Americans were 'all out', finishing at 36.

Leander beat Jesus College, Cambridge, on the first day easily by 1¾ lengths in 7.26,
the Americans on the second by a length after a very good race,
and Sport Nautique de Gand (Belgium) in the final rather easily by 2¼ lengths, so probably Christ's was the third best crew in for the Grand.

Ladies' Plate, 4th Heat, July 4th.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Berks.), 1 ; Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Bucks.), 0.
The same evening we rowed our first race for the Ladies' Plate, against Trinity Hall, this time having Berks, station. Hall went away steadily from the start and were ¾ length ahead at the half mile. Here we came within range of our coach's megaphone. The rowing improved and we began to go up. Very slowly we overhauled them, got level by the ¾ mile post, and were leading by ¼ length at the mile. Rowing well and steadily we gradually left them and won by a length in 7 mins. 14 secs.
6th Heat, July 5th.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Berks.), 1 ; Jesus College, Cambridge (Bucks.), 0.
Jesus, with the Bucks, station, went ahead very slowly, rowing 41 in the first minute to our 39. At Fawley Court (3.35) they were leading by less than ½ length, and at this point, as in the previous races, we began to go up. At the ¾ mile only their canvas was showing in front, and soon after we got up and for some time rowed dead level. By the time the mile post was reached we were leading by a few feet. Both boats spurted in hard at the finish, and we just won a desperate race by ½ length in the bad time of 7.30. The crew were feeling the effects of their two hard races on the first day, and the boat did not travel so well.

Final, July 6th.
Eton College (Bucks.), 1 ; Christ's College, Cambridge (Berks.), 0.
Though rowing up to our form we were beaten by a length in 7.12. To the top of the Island we kept level, but then our opponents gradually went ahead and had nearly ¾ length lead at the ½ mile. All our efforts made no impression on their advantage,which they increased to a length from the mile in. We were perhaps unfortunate in having to meet in the final after three very hard races a crew who had come within a second or two of the Eton records. The races at any rate showed that we were the fastest College crew at Henley. The Eton crew contained five future rowing blues.

1906: the Regatta was extended to four days.
1906: The Grand was won by C. Naut. de Gand, Belg. in 7:09
1906: The Diamonds was won by H.T. Blackstaffe (Vesta R.C.) in 8:35
Thames' Cup Winners: Christ's College, Cambridge - Boat Club records -

The crew entered for both the Ladies' Plate and the Thames Cup. They were coached by J. E. Ferrar (Sidney Sussex College) to whom "our heartiest thanks are due for his able and tactful coaching. His tact made itself felt before the races. When other crews had a bad needle, we were in the best of spirits owing to his jests which were good, bad and indifferent."

Ladies' Plate, 1st Heat, July 3rd.
Christ Church, Oxford (Bucks.), 1; Christ's College, Cambridge (Berks.), 0.
Christ Church won a hard race by ½ length in 7.14.

Thames Cup, 3rd Heat, July 2nd.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Bucks.), 1 ; Vesta R.C. (Berks.), 0.
Christ's were almost clear at the top of the Island and won easily by a length, 7.35.

Thames Cup 8th Heat, July 3rd.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Berks.), 1 ; Trinity College, Oxford (Bucks.), 0.
Fortunately the morning's race (in the Ladies' Plate) had not exhausted all our energy, and at the ¼ mile we were ½ length to the good. We kept on improving our lead and won by 1¾ lengths in 7.25.

Thames Cup 9th Heat, July 4th.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Bucks.). 1 ; Kingston R.C. (Berks.), 0.
This was the easiest race we had and we won by 2¾ lengths in 7.28.

Final, July 5th.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Bucks.), 1 ; First Trinity, Cambridge, 2nd crew (Berks.), 0.
We rowed 42 to their 40 in the first minute, and at the ¼ mile post were ½ length ahead ; by the ½ mile we had the advantage of ¾ length, but at the mile they had reduced it to ½ length. The pick up was simultaneous, but ours was rather scrappy, and by the time we passed the winning post they had drawn up within 6 ft. of us. The time was 7.23, 1/5th of a second less than the time in the final heat for the Ladies.

Henley Regatta, 1906
Henley Regatta, 1906, boats going down to start

1906: Mary Howarth writing in Vanity Fair -

Toilettes for Henley Week: Fashions the River Gods Approve

The liquid tones of the river gods beguile us to Henley this week, where there are fascinations, material as well as aquatic, though I write a little too soon to be able to state whether the elements will be favourable to so sylvan a fête as the Regatta. I only know that there have been some very pretty and dainty dresses and also some charming specimens of millinery prepared for the event.
Specially have I approved the white handkerchief lawn gowns, with their wealth of plumetis embroidery, and the blanche linen skirts, quaintly made en corselet, with short pleated jackets to match, worn with a pair of blue or mahogany brown suède gloves to match, and white hat with soft blue or brown ribbon on it to match.

Last week's heavy downpour has freshened the country most delightfully. How green is the wheat now, already heavy in the ear, and how scarlet are the poppies; how the wild roses gem the verdant hedgerow. Everything is essentially juvenile, and so must the Henley toilette be (I refer to its newness or freshness), or perish the hope of its success.
It would be ungrateful to the dressmakers to forget to mention the practical little toilettes they are presenting in checked zephyr; simplest and least pretentious of fabrics, but most effective for a river fête. The chance of introducing a touch of daring colour is possible when a black and white zephyr is chosen that permits a little cherry coloured silk to figure as an outline to the soft white mousseline vest, and about the high collar of the same fabric.
That most useful adjunct, the sunshade, may be requisitioned to intensify the brightness of the cherry shade, and thus to throw up the cool black and white check of the gown.
The simpler the muslin frock the better for Henley week. White haircord and coloured dimities may prove the most successful of frocks. Then for older wearers it would be foolish to forget the very soft glossy foulards that are so useful, and Tokio silk that makes so graceful a dress for a club lawn.

Henley Regatta, Mortimer Menpes, 1906
Henley Regatta, Mortimer Menpes, 1906

1907: The Grand was won by Sport Naut. de Gand, Belg. in 7:31
1907: The Diamonds was won by W.H. Darell (Household Brigade B.C.) in 9:24
Thames Cup Winners: Christ's College Cambridge - Boat Club records -

An eight to defend the Thames Cup and a four for the Wyfold Cup entered for Henley Regatta. They were coached by F. S. Lowe of the London R.C.

Thames Cup, 8th Heat, July 3rd.
Christ's College Cambridge (Bucks.), 1; Molesey BC (Berks), 0.
Christ's, leading all the way, won a good race by ¾ length in 7 min. 45 secs.

Thames Cup, 12th Heat, July 4th.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Bucks.), 1 ; Trinity College, Oxford (Berks.), 0.
Christ's, leading all the way, won with a little in hand by a bare length in 7 min. 59 secs.

Final, July 5th.
Christ's College, Cambridge (Bucks.), 1 ; Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (Berks.), 0.
Corpus led by half a length at the half mile, but the crews were nearly level at Fawley (3.40). From here Christ's went ahead and won by a length in 7 min. 45 secs.

There was a strong down stream wind throughout the Regatta, which made all the times very slow. The Belgians, who won the Grand by a bare length took 7.31, which was the fastest time done in the Regatta.

Henley Royal Regatta, 1907

1908: The Grand was won by Christ Church, Oxford in 7:10
1908: The Diamonds was won by A. McCulloch (Leander Club) in 8:25

1908: Olympic Rowing at Henley (page on this site)

1909: The Grand was won by R.C. Naut. de Gand, Belg. in 7:08
1909: The Diamonds was won by A.A. Stuart (Kingston R.C.) in 8:30