Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Dear readers and friends of HTBS
~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

We hope you will visit HTBS again in 2013...

And then a little information about HTBS:
this is the 1,146 entry on HTBS,
so far we have had close to 170,800 visits
and 454,400 pageviews - 
keep them coming...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Time for Lists...

 Not on this list...

At the end of a year, the media always publish their 'lists' of who was the best, most beautiful, or who wore the ugliest whathaveyou... Jacquelin Magnay, the Daily Telegraph's Olympic Games Editor, today published her list of the 12 top sportswomen of 2012. Of course several of GB Team female rowers are to be found on her list. Read her article here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Arise Sir David...

David Tanner, soon to be Sir David.

This always alert Tim Koch found a serious omission in the earlier posted entry today. Tim writes,

The HTBS report on rowers honoured in the Queen's New Year Honours List for 2013 did have one major omission: David Tanner, the Performance Director of British Rowing since 1996, has received one of the five highest honours given this year, that of Knight Bachelor, and so becomes ‘Sir David Tanner CBE’. (He was made a ‘Commander of the British Empire’ in 2009, an award which took precedent over the lower ‘Order of the British Empire’, given to him in 2003.) It was awarded ‘for services to Rowing and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’. He gave his reaction to Rachel Quarrell in the Daily Telegraph.

As Quarrell says: ‘Under his aegis the GB rowing team has established a national training base, an army of coaches and support staff, and a racing record that is the envy of the world.’

The other ‘rowing knights’ are Sir Harcourt Gilbey Gold (1876-1952), Sir Steven Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. I am a little disappointed that an honorary knighthood was not forthcoming for Jürgen Gröbler, something I had previously suggested may happen this year. He is, however, already an honorary OBE.

Understandably, many foreigners find the complex British honours system a little strange and anachronistic. Most of us here in the UK can appreciate this but, to receive an honour from an Empire that no longer exists or to be made a Knight when your abilities to fight in a suit of armour are limited does not seem to devalue the awards. In characteristic British style, self deprecating jokes are made about the system. In previous years, so many OBEs (Order of the British Empire) were given to undistinguished but time serving senior civil servants that it was known as ‘Other Buggers’ Efforts’. Higher up the scale, the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George has three classes, Companion (CMG), Knight Commander (KCMG) and, the most senior, Knight Grand Cross (GCMG). The old joke is that they stand for ‘Call Me God’, ‘Kindly Call Me God’ and ‘God Calls Me God’.

Tanner will be officially dubbed ‘Sir David’ by the Queen or other senior Royal at an investiture to be held later in 2013. While a sword will be used to touch the kneeling knight-elect on the shoulders, contrary to popular belief the words ‘Arise, Sir ...’ are not used. This does not stop its hackneyed use in article titles....

The Rowers on the Queen's New Year's Honours List

HTBS is happy to present the rowers on the Queen's New Year's Honours List of 2013.*

CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire):

Katherine Grainger, Double Sculls

MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire):

Anna Watkins, Double Sculls

Alex Gregory, Four

Sophie Hosking
Katherine Copeland

 Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland, Lightweight Double Sculls

Heather Stanning
Helen Glover

Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, Pair

Pamela Relph, Naomi Riches, James Roe, David Smith and cox Lily Van Den Broecke, Mixed Coxed Four

Paul Thompson, Coach

Robin Williams, Coach

Gordon John Day – For voluntary services to Rowing and charitable services through the Allen Glen’s School Club (sorry, no picture).

*Please see also Tim Koch entry Arise, Sir David... also posted today, 29 December, 2012.

Photographs: British Rowing (except of the Four)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rowing History Footnote: Towns Followed by Mishaps in London

George Towns

In April 1897, the 28-year-old professional sculler George Towns of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, who had learned to scull on the Hunter River, arrived to England. At the time, he was regarded as a ‘coming man’ and his financial backers back home in Newcastle had been eager to send him to England to be able to prove himself worthy to row for the World Professional Sculling Championships in a year or two.

Australian oarsmen had dominated the professional sport of sculling since August 1884, when William Beach beat the Canadian Ned Hanlan on the Parramatta River. But in September 1896, the World title went back to Canada when Jake Gaudaur of Ontario, defeated Jim Stanbury of New South Wales on the River Thames in London. In Australia, the hopes were set for Towns to reclaim the World title. In a race on 21 September, 1898, William ‘Bill’ Barry of Putney (Ernest Barry’s older brother) beat Towns on the Championship course between Putney and Mortlake for the Championship of England. Then, on 1 May, 1899, Towns beat Barry for the title, which should, if Towns and his backers played their cards right, open the doors for Towns to challenge Gaudaur for the World title.

 Jake Gauduar

However, Towns’s stay in England was followed by mishaps, the Australian newspaper The Star reported to its readers in an article published on 24 July (but dated 9 June), 1899. The paper’s correspondent wrote that Towns had been run into by an eight when he was training for his first meeting with Barry. Luckily, Towns only received minor injuries, though his boat got badly damaged. Then Towns had to pay foreit to William Haines of Old Winsor as the Australian was ill in influenza and could not race Haines. In another race Towns rowed into a big lump of wood which damaged his boat so he had to abandon the race (and by that losing money in stakes and bets).

In the beginning of June 1899, Towns could do with some extra cash. This was easily picked up by giving private lessons to amateur scullers who could pay his fees. One of these scullers was the young sculler Benjamin Hunting Howell (of New York, USA), who could do with some technical hints on a warm, nice day on the Thames. The article incorrectly mentioned him as a member of Trinity Hall, which he had rowed for between 1894 and 1898, but now rowed for Thames RC. The paper at least gave his championship titles correctly: ‘English amateur champion and holder of the Diamond Sculls.’

 Hunting Howell

Towns and Howell set off from the Leander boathouse in the afternoon, sculling up the river against the tide, rowing side by side, with Towns closes to the Surrey shore. At Barn Elms, a coxed four came down with the tide, and before anyone understood the dire situation, the four ran into Towns. The larger craft’s ironshod bow hit the Australian sculler in the back and missed his spine with a couple of inches, but broke two of his ribs. Towns fell overboard but managed, despite that he was half unconscious, to grab hold of an oar in the four. The oarsmen in the boat managed to pull him into their boat, while Hunting gave them order to row to Thames boathouse. We can only imagining what went through Howell’s mind at this point, as he had a scar on his right lower part of his leg to remind him about his own accident in October 1897. Then another sculler had rowed right into Howell, who had got the other sculler’s bow right through his calf of his right leg just below his knee.

After Towns received first aid at Thames RC, he was taken to the professional sculler Tom Sullivan’s house at Battersea to be examined by a doctor. Beyond the broken ribs, the part of the back where he was hit was bruised and swollen. The Star wrote: ‘The accident caused a tremendous sensation at Putney, where, by reason of his good nature and gentlemanly behaviour, Towns has become a great favourite amongst ‘wet-bobs’ of all classes.’ The author of the article goes on by speculating how this accident might effect Towns's future career. He even goes on saying that ‘it is quite possible that his career as a first-class sculler has closed.’

Luckily, Towns career as first-rate sculler did not come to an end that day in June. A year later, on 10 September, 1900, he defended his English championship title on the Championship course against his countryman J. Wray. The next year, on 7 September, 1901, Towns beat Gaudaur for the World championship title on Lake of the Woods, Canada.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Single Rivals and Best Buddies

Earlier in December, the Swede Lassi Karonen, who has semi-retired from elite rowing, travelled across the world to give Mahe Drysdale a match in the Billy Webb Challenge.

FISA's website writes in an article,

'The men’s single sculls is a special boat class. It attracts some of the biggest, strongest and toughest athletes the sport of rowing has to offer. They are the type that can put themselves through a world of pain during round after round of racing, with nobody else to rely on to motivate them or to coach them during the hard mid-race strokes.'

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Jolly Santa Row!

The start at the Opera House.

HTBS received Chrismas greetings from Louis Petrin our loyal contributor Downunder:

For a few years now the Sydney rowing community participate in the Santa Sprint – a 500-metre race from the Opera House to past the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The prize is telling families just waiting at home what a great row it was. All boats and crews are invited with singles to eights rowing. Santa comes along and tries, but always fails, to align the boats for a start.

 Past the finish line under the Sidney Harbour Bridge.

Yesterday, we had three rowers from various Tideway Rowing Clubs and it was great to share a good row. Our crew were leading but a Four that broke the start sopped us metres from the finish. Not a problem, everyone is a winner at Santa Sprints!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Eric Lupton - The Last European Sculling Champion

Doggett's winners, ca. 1960: Harold Green (1924), Eric Lupton (1940), George Gobbett (1913) and Kenneth Collins (1957).

Some days ago, HTBS received an interesting e-mail from Colin Collier in Gravesend. He wanted to say that he was pleased to have come across an entry on HTBS, from 10 June, 2009, where Eric Lupton, the professional sculler was mentioned. Lupton was the 1940 Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race winner in a race held in 1947 (as there were no Doggett’s races during the Second World War). Colin writes in his e-mail: ‘Just after the War the Gravesend Regattas were started and I lived then a short distance from the riverside pub The Ship and Lobster - this was the Gravesend centre for professional scullers. My father, who was a Thames Waterman, was involved with the revival and was a friend of Eric Lupton and the Palmer family who were all professional scullers.’

Eric Lupton is mostly famous for racing Eric Phelps (on the left) for the professional European Sculling Championship. First time they met for the championship was in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1950. One of the famous rowing journalists and writers at that time was the Evening Standard’s Hylton Cleaver. He was a good friend of many professional oarsmen and he was involved in setting up the first meeting between the two Erics. On a website run by Lupton’s grandson, Nigel, you can read a letter of 25 April, 1950 that Cleaver wrote to Eric Lupton, here.

Phelps won the title in 1950 time, but lost it in 1954 to Lupton, who became the last European Professional Sculling Champion. To continue with Colin’s e-mail: ‘Eric Lupton was aided in his training by Dan Blackman who went to Germany with Eric [Lupton], who lost to Eric Phelps. When they [later] raced at Gravesend, I saw the whole race in Palmer’s motor boat which was following [the race]. I was 15 years old at that time, and I had started sculling myself which was known as “best boat rowing” locally. My boat was called Squeak which was originally owned by another Waterman, George Morgan.’ And Colin adds: ‘what memories you have stirred.’

How did it then go with Colin’s own sculling career? He writes: ‘I subsequently had a accident and dislocated my elbow which finished my sculling activities.’ Colin goes on by saying, ‘Interestingly, I applied to join the Gravesend Rowing Club, I was an apprenticed engineer and was told I could not join because I was an artisan.’ Colin finishes his e-mail by saying: ‘Eric Lupton and I had been good friends ever since he lived near me and he passed away about four years ago.’

There is a 1950 race report from the German rowing magazine Rudern here (in an English Google translation!)

My warmest thanks to Colin for sharing this exiting information!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

While Walking with Wordsworth Across a Constable Landscape

While Walking with Wordsworth Across a Constable Landscape

I had not thought I could not
Grasp the light.
The light lay before me.
I went towards the light.
I could not but grasp it.
And yet the nearer to the light I went
The light kept, always, ahead of me,
Just beyond my grasp.

How half-a-century later,
I have yet to grasp the light,
Save the knowledge that the light
Is not meant to be grasped,
Which knowledge allows me
Grasp the light, after all,
Just like the light reflected
On the water in the rower's path.

Philip Kuepper
(December 2010)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Comes Early for British Rowing

£32.6M richer – The Priory, the headquarters of British Rowing on the Thames in Hammersmith, West London. The building was formerly the National Provincial Bank Rowing Club.

Tim Koch writes,

In my HTBS piece ‘....nobody expects you to win – you are bloody English’ on 15 August, I suggested some reasons for the current success of British international rowing. Top among these was the funding distributed by UK Sport. This body, established by an act of Parliament, is responsible for investing money from the National Lottery, from the Government and from private sponsorship in high performance sport. As I said in August:

‘UK Sport does not distribute Lottery money randomly; it is done with “tough love”. The more successful the sport, the more money it gets, less success may mean less money. Naturally rowing has benefited greatly, getting over £27M ($42M) for the Olympiad just past’.

I also quoted the BBC website:

‘No other sport exceeded their (2012) target by the distance rowing achieved, winning nine medals to the six demanded of them.... (rowing) will have few worries about sitting down with UK Sport for its performance review’.

Supporters of British Rowing are very happy.

The results of the performance reviews were announced on 18 December and, as expected, rowing kept its position as Britain’s best funded sport with £32.6M ($53.6M) guaranteed over the next four years, an increase of nearly 20%. In contrast, swimming missed its target of five to seven medals, taking just three and as a result its funding has been cut by almost 15% to £21.4M.

The BBC Sport website quotes UK Sport Chief Executive, Liz Nicholl:

‘Today will be good news for some and it will be painful for others who haven’t met the criteria... some of these sports have to improve their base, their competition structure, and drive up competition before they can really compete for medals at a world level...We have been guided by our no-compromise approach’.

The victorious British Four at the London 2012 Games, one of the winning teams that earned British Rowing its increase in funding in the run up to the 2016 Olympics.

While British Rowing, the sports national governing body, is presumably delighted by these developments, Greg Searle put forward an interesting suggestion on how it should spend its money in an article by Simon Briggs in the Daily Telegraph on 20 December.

Briggs quotes Searle as saying:

‘I don’t have any quibble with (the men's chief coach, Jürgen Grobler’s) coaching record... But [his] consistency cuts both ways: we are still doing what we did 20 years ago. On the men’s side, we won two golds at Barcelona and at Sydney. This summer we won one, whereas New Zealand picked up three men’s golds from a far smaller population...Then you look at cycling and think how adventurous and different they are: how much these guys learn and take risks and do different things. (British) Men’s rowing doesn’t take risks and do different things.’

Searle further suggests that British men’s rowing could not only learn from the Team GB’s cyclists but also from its women rowers who were more successful than the men at Dorney Lake, winning three gold medals. It is worth reading Briggs’s article in full, also scrolling down and looking at the online comments and social media reactions.

Searle’s ideas are very thought provoking, especially as UK Sport’s plan is for Britain to be the first host nation to win more medals at the following Olympics than at the ‘home’ Games. To achieve this very ambitious aim, rowing and the rest of ‘Team GB’ must certainly raise their game for Rio 2016.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Toad, Tom, Jack and Billy!

The always alert Greg Denieffe writes,

Colonel 'Toad'
Everyone loves The Wind in the Willows and the recent post Colonel F. C. Ricardo was Toad? – by HTBS editor Göran R Buckhorn reminded me that there are numerous online personality quizzes that can help you decided what character in the book you are. The one on satisfied my curiosity and revealed that I am in fact, Ratty (which I knew anyway!): “He is devoted to his interests, he loves nature and peacefulness. He is very intelligent and he is very outspoken and poetic”.

I would go as far as to say that you don’t need online quizzes to find out which character in the book someone is; a little people-watching in the Stewards Enclosure at Henley Royal Regatta soon reveals all!

Something else that was of interest to me in Göran’s post was the fact that ‘Toad’ was in the Eton crews that won the Ladies’ Challenge Plate at Henley in 1869 and 1870, and he was Captain of the Boats at Eton in 1870 and 1871. All throughout 2011 and up to May of this year, I was researching the story of The Rowing Bunburys of Lisnavagh. This is the story of the McClintock-Bunbury family from Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, County Carlow, Ireland, who between them won the Ladies’ Plate seven times (1867, 1868 (2), 1869, 1870, 1896 and 1897), all for Eton College; the Grand Challenge Cup once in 1871 for Oxford Etonians and had a seat in the Oxford crew in the 1871 Boat Race. The decorated pencil oars for seven of the Henley wins are now displayed in my home club – Carlow Rowing Club. The research of 6,000 words and numerous photographs rambles through the wins of Tom (later Lord Rathdonnell), his brother Jack and Tom’s son Billy and the characters they encountered and rowed with at Eton College. It was published recently in Carloviana, the journal of the Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society.

From “The Oarsman’s Farewell to his Oar” by R. C. Lehman (1901)

Many oars have I had – lo! These cups are a token –
Since first a raw Freshman I splashed in a crew;
Their shafts may be warped and their blades may be broken,
But their staunchness lived on to be centered in you.
Lo! All these old oars that I lost with or won with
Return to remind me of failure or fame.
The traditions are yours of those blades I have done with;
The wood may have changed, but the soul is the same.

Four of the seven McClintock-Bunbury oars on display in Carlow Rowing Club.

1869 Ladies’ Plate winning oar with F. C. Ricardo at ‘2’.

1870 Ladies’ Plate winning oar with F. C. Ricardo at ‘4’.

Eton’s best-known holiday takes place on the so called ‘Fourth of June’, a celebration of the birthday of King George III. The day is celebrated with the Procession of Boats, in which the top rowing crews from the top four years row past in vintage wooden rowing boats. The ‘Fourth of June’ is no longer celebrated on 4 June, but on the Wednesday before the first weekend of June. The first boat in the procession is the ten-oar Monarch. This is followed by the rest of the fleet in the following order and seniority of crew; Victory, Prince of Wales, Britannia, Thetis, Hibernia, St. George, Alexandra, Defiance and finally Dreadnought. There are two excellent articles by Tim Koch on the procession on HTBS. The entry dated the 11 May 2010  is called Etonians and their Boaters and that on the 5 June 2011 is called Tim Koch on the 2011 Eton’s Procession of Boats.

The above photograph originally appeared in Vivian Nickalls’ autobiography Oars, Wars and Horses which was published in 1932. It reappeared on page 50 in Peter Mallory’s epic 2,500 page The Sport of Rowing in 2011. Colonel F. C. Ricardo is seated left, beside him, Tom Bunbury (Lord Rathdonnell) is seated center, being the elder “Captain” with his son Billy standing on the right. Unfortunately, there appears to be two errors in the caption both of which relate to the Bunburys. The Eton Registers published in 1901 and 1906 list Tom as Captain of the Boats in 1868 (not 1863) and J. L. Philips as Captain of the Boats in 1897 and not Billy. It is still a wonderful picture and I am very grateful to Peter for the scan of the photograph.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Easy' beats 'Quick' with 0.6 sec.!

Photo: Newton Women Boat Race website
While Cambridge’s women in Tonic did not have a problem easily winning over their opponents in Gin, which HTBS reported on Monday, the Oxford University Women’s trial eights race was truly a battle to the finish line on the Henley course on Sunday. After the crews had crossed the line, they eagerly waited for the result from Umpire Matthew Pinsent. His verdict: Easy defeated Quick by 0.6 seconds – an amazing race.

Read more about the race here.

To get more information about these two crews, please click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Colonel F. C. Ricardo was Toad?

Colonel F. C. Ricardo coaching on horseback at Henley.

Almost two weeks ago, Tim Koch wrote about coaching crews on the Isis and Cam from horseback.

In my little collection of rowing memorabilia, I have a page from The Sketch of 5 July, 1899, with a photograph of a coach training a crew at Henley from horseback and with a megaphone. Below the photograph it says “Colonel Ricardo coaching the St. George Hospital Four”. I have to confess that I have not heard about a ‘Colonel Ricardo’, so I started a little investigation about this man. Here is what I found:

Francis Cecil Ricardo was born on 3 July 1852 in London and died on 17 June 1924 at his house Lullebrook Manor, Cookham, Berkshire. He was the son of Percy Ricardo (1820-1892) and his wife Matilda Hensley (who died in 1880). Francis Cecil – who was called Cecil by his friends, but in later writing about him as an oarsman and officer was called ‘F. Ricardo’ or ‘F.C. Ricardo’ – studied at Eton where he rowed. He was in the Eton crews that won the Ladies’ Challenge Plate at Henley in 1869 and 1870. In 1870 and 1871, Francis Cecil was Captain of the Boats and Keeper of the Field, the latter in non-Etonian language: Captain of the Field Game. In 1872, he joined the Grenadier Guards, where his older brother, Horace, was an officer. Horace, too, had studied and rowed at Eton and would also reach the rank of Colonel. While in the Grenadier Guards, Francis Cecil continued to row and joined Leander Club, according to his obituary in The Times. He married Marie Annie ‘May’, nee Littlefield, (who died in 1907).

In the 16 January, 1907, The Bystandard had an article about a fire in Colonel Ricardo's house, The Elm.

In Rudie Lehmann’s The Complete Oarsman (1908), W. H. 'Piggy' Eyre writes that in 1877 he rowed in a Thames RC’s eight which beat a ‘strong but not half fit Guards eight […] stroked by F. C. Ricardo.’ This was actually the first heat of the Grand Challenge Cup at the 1877 Henley Royal Regatta. Looking into the Henley record books, in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guard’s crew was two Lieutenant Colonels at bow and 7, four Captains in 2, 3, 4 and 5 seat, and three Lieutenants at 6, stroke (Ricardo) and the cox. ‘The Guard crew led for a short distance, but were caught before reaching Remenham. At Fawley Thames led by half a length, clear below the Point, and won by a length and a half. Time 7 min. 37 sec.’ Piggy Eyre was in 7 seat in the Thames crew which in the final lost to London RC.

In the Ricardo’s obituary, published in The Times on 19 June, 1924, it states that: ‘Colonel Ricardo was active and generous in the service of his neighbours. He gave a parish hall, and was a great patron of Cookham and other regattas. During the war he was acting Chief Constable of Berkshire, and received the C.B.E. in 1920. He was made C.V.O. in 1902.’

There is an entry on Wikipedia about Ricardo where it states that he became the inspiration for Toad of Toad Hall in Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, who also lived in Cookham – remember Toad was a sculler in Grahame’s book, although not very successful one. Like Toad, Ricardo drove round the village in a yellow Rolls-Royce and would offer lifts to any residents he saw.

According to this blog both Toad and Colonel Ricardo were driving a yellow Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.

Monday, December 17, 2012

'Tonic' Ahead of 'Gin'

Photo: Newton Women Boat Race website
For the Newton Women’s Boat Race, which is going to be raced on 24 March, 2013, at Henley-on-Thames, Cambridge University Women Boat Club (CUWBC) held their trial eights race at Eton Dorney on Saturday, 15 December. The two eights Gin and Tonic (and spare four) raced over the 2,000-metre Olympic course into a stiff cross head wind on an otherwise glorious day.

Despite an early lead from Gin, rowing in a new Hudson shell, Tonic, in a Empacher, proved their spirit was in the crew and, with the more experienced stern pair, hauled Gin back before the 1000-metre mark. Fay Sandford, the stroke in Tonic, was able to settle to a nice long stride and set a good rhythm, moving slowly away and taking clear water by 1500-metre and winning by a margin of 5 seconds.

To get some more information about these crews, please click here.

Oxford University Women Boat Club (OUWBC) held their trial eights race on Sunday, 16 December, more information about that race will follow.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Katherine Grainger - Sport Personality of the Year?

Today, Sunday, Katherine Grainger is going to be appointed 'Sports Personality of the Year', or at least many rowers in the U.K., and I, for sure, hope so. She has proven that 'dreams do come true' - which is actually what Gary Herbert yelled when Grainger and her sculling partner, Anna Watkins, crossed the finish line to take the Olympic gold in the London Games this summer. The Scottish rower has shown a tremendous fighting spirit for years, and kept on rowing to be able to get that Olympic gold medal that she was lacking in her collection. The Guardian's Rob Bagchi gives us some strong arguments in this video why Grainger should be 'Sports Personality of the Year'.

And while I am at it, please, Your Majesty, give Grainger a damehood this New Year's.

Update: Sunday evening, 6:30 p.m.: winner of the BBC Sport Personality of the Year award is cyclist Bradley Wiggins - however, I still stand by my damehood for Grainger!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blue Coat for Anness

Louis Petrin writes,

I do love the Doggett’s Race and I only just noticed that there is no report on HTBS of the Diamond Jubilee Coat and Badge Race. Its old news now, but then HTBS is a rowing history website.

On September 4, 2012, a special race to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was held by the Watermen’s Company.  The participants of this special race qualified from heats contested by 14 apprentices over 2,000 metres at the Royal Albert Dock.

The race from Shadwell Basin, the entrance of the Old London Dock, to London Bridge was won by Christopher Anness in a time of 12 min. 19.77 sec.

1. C. Anness                12:19.77
2. P. Spencer                12:31.68
3. D. Arnold                12:54.03
4. A. Anderson            13:03.18
5. S. Coleman              13:33.40

Unfortunately, Merlin Dwan, who had qualified for the race and had won the Doggett’s Coat and Badge earlier in July, was not able to take part through injury.

The blue Winner’s Coat was made to accompany the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Badge, the design of which has been based on the Deptford Apprentices Annual Regatta Badge of 1861, which is in The Company’s collection.

Photo: Tim Koch

Friday, December 14, 2012

The 2012 Pre Christmas Trial VIIIs

Oxford approaching Hammersmith Bridge. Spirfire on the left and Hurricane on the right.

HTBS's Tim Koch reports from London,

In my piece for HTBS on 28 November I gave an historical perspective to the Boat Race Trials. I suggested that, with modern scientific selection methods, they are not as important as they perhaps were in choosing the final crew. However, I omitted to say that, as far as selecting the cox goes, these inter-club races can still be vital deciders. There is simply no test that is a substitute for steering the simple yet difficult ‘S shaped course other than doing it in a side by side race – as the coxes found in the pre Christmas trials held in good conditions over the full Boat Race Course on 13 December.

Two Boat Race legends, Umpire Boris Rankov (a six times Boat Race winner) and Dan Topolski (who coached Oxford to twelve victories). Sir Matthew Pinsent will umpire the main race for the first time on 31 March.

The Trials are not Oxford v Cambridge races. CUBC and OUBC each race their final 16 oarsmen and two coxes against each other, not against the other place’. This year the Dark Blues raced first in boats named Spitfire and Hurricane for the occasion. Just over an hour later, the Light Blues put out Bangers and Mash. Former BBC sports reporter Martin Gough got one of the much sought after seats in the press launch and later gave me his impressions of the races.

The Oxford Race
Hurricane (Surrey Station)
Bow: James Stephenson (GB)
2: Oliver Bristowe (GB)
3: Joseph Dawson (GB)
4: Benjamin French (USA)
5: Karl Hudspith
6: Constantine Louloudis (GB)
7: Dr. Alex Woods (GB)
Stroke: William Zeng
Cox: Katie Apfelbaum (USA)

Spitfire (Middlesex Station)

Bow: James Mountain
2: Maurus Wuethrich 
3: Nicholas Hazell
4: Iain Mandale
5: Tom Watson
6: Samuel O’Connor
7: Alexander Davidson
Stroke: Malcolm Howard
Cox: Laurence Harvey (GB)

Oxford's Spitfire goes afloat.

Martin Gough: (In the Oxford Race) it was fairly marginal off the start, both went off quite high... If anything, Spitfire took advantage of the Fulham Bend and were half a length up by Barn Elms. Their cox, Laurence Harvey, was warned quite severely by umpire Boris Rankov early on. Spitfire were 3/4 of a length up at the Mile but as the bend came back in Hurricane’s favour they put their move in. They looked longer and looked as if they had a better rhythm throughout, Hudspith
and Louloudis in the middle playing a really important part. As they came around the Hammersmith Bend, Hurricane were perhaps half a length up. Just before Chiswick Eyot, very close to where the race was stopped last year, there was a clash of blades. Alex Wood in the seven seat lost his blade and lost it again as he tried to regain it. In the time it took Hurricane to get going again, Spitfire were a length up. Even then, even with Spitfire about to have the bend in their favour, I wondered whether Hurricane might come back. They looked looser, they looked like they were getting more length per stroke. (Tim Koch: Some have suggested that, if the Trial were the real thing, cox Harvey’s crew would have been disqualified, even though he otherwise took a better course than Apfelbaum). Both crews put pushes in and Hurricane got back to perhaps 1/4 of a length down. They both put in a great sprint finish, Hurricane taking it up to over 38 strokes per minute and Spitfire to 40, an absolute nail biter, a really good race.

Time: 17 minutes 45 seconds, Spitfire won by 1/4 length.

Cambridge going to the start. Mash is nearest Putney Bridge and Bangers is in the foreground.

The Cambridge Race
Bangers (Surrey Station)
Bow: Chris Snowden
2: Mike Thorp (GB)
3: Josh Hooper 
4: Alexander Leichter 
5: Ty Otto (USA)
6: Stephen Dudek 
7: Milan Bruncvik
Stroke: Niles Garratt
Cox: Henry Fieldman 


(Middlesex Station)
Bow: Rowan Lawson (GB)
2: Alex Ross (NZ)
3: Jack Lindeman (USA)
4: Helge Gruetjen (Germany)
5: George Nash (GB)
6: Grant Wilson (USA)
7: Alexander Scharp (Australia)
Stroke: Alexander Fleming (Australia)
Cox: Sam Ojserkis 

Cambridge going away from Hammersmith Bridge. Bangers lead Mash. Both have Four and Five on bowside (starboard) with tandem rigs.

Martin said this of the less exciting Cambridge Race: Mash took an early lead and were half a length up at the Mile Post. Bangers... took a while to hit their stride but started to claw back... and were level by Harrods. It was a decent move. To spite some minor clashing and some errant steering they came through to gain the lead by Hammersmith, a length by St Paul’s, they just moved on from there. There was some interesting steering after this, Henry Fieldman, the Bangers cox, went really tight at the Bandstand. The cox who is missing that the moment is Ed Bossom (who steered Cambridge last year and who is still around)... It could end up that he gets the Cambridge seat after all this... Fieldman was the better of the two coxes on display but it may prove that there are better ones available...

Time: 17 minutes 46 seconds, Mash won by four lengths.

On their return, Cambridge found the Putney Embankment flooded by a spring tide.

Read what The Daily Telegraph writes about the Trial Eights here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

While We Wait for the Trial Eights...

While HTBS is getting ready to cover the races of Oxford's and Cambridge's trial eights today, we give you a Swedish tradition that falls on 13 December every year, the 'Sankta Lucia' celebration. Every school and every town and city elects their own Lucia, who also has maidens and 'star boys', the latter in funny hats (yes, I was forced to do that at school, and I hated every second of it). 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Greg Denieffe: Jack Beresford – In His Own Words, Part 3

Here is the third, and last, of Greg Denieffe’s installments about Jack Beresford:

In September 1964, World Sports, the official magazine of the British Olympic Association, published an article ‘How I Won Gold’. In the article, four Olympic gold medallists from the past: Anita Lonsbrough, Harold Abrahams, Jack Beresford and Harry Mallin, recall their greatest triumph.

Jack Beresford had no hesitation in picking his victory in Berlin in 1936. Here is a transcript of the article for HTBS readers who might not have seen it before.

With Blades Almost Clashing

It was in 1920 that I had my first lesson of race technique – beaten by John B. Kelly of the United States by one second for the gold medal in the sculls. That final made me decide to prepare for 1924 and I got my first gold medal in Paris. Four years later I was captain of the British eight in Amsterdam and we won a silver medal behind the Americans. Then four of us in Thames Rowing Club got together for Henley, went to California for the 1932 Games and won gold in the coxwainless fours.

In 1935 Dick Southwood teamed up with me in a double-sculler – object Berlin, 1936. By that time we were both pretty tough and mature, with the confidence and will-to-win well ingrained in us. In those days there were no open double-sculling races in England, but with 10 months’ practice behind us and 2,000 miles in the boat plus daily early-morning running and exercises, we were strong and fit.

In our first race in Berlin we met five other countries, including the Germans, European record-holders. They were very fast off the mark and their tactics were to get ahead and then edge over and “line” us up, i.e. scull dead in front of us, giving us their wash. They succeeded in doing that the first time and the other four countries were so much behind that the single umpire in the launch wasn’t able to control the course of the two leaders. At the finish we had to ease up or we would have bumped them and damaged our boat. So we just smiled and made no comment after the race.

Next came the repêchage heat, which we won very easily and so got back into the final. By then we had the “Indian sign” well and truly on those Germans, at least so we reckoned, and it worked out that way. In that final, beside Britain, were Germany, Poland, France, USA and Australia. We were determined to stay with those Germans but even at halfway (1,000m) they led by 1½ lengths, with the other countries out of the hunt.

At that point we challenged for the lead and went on doing so until they “blew up”. We literally gained foot-by-foot for the next 800m until at the 1,800m mark we were dead level. And so we raced to the 1,900m mark with blades almost clashing, for they had tried the old game of trying to line us (up) but not again! Right in front of Hitler’s box the Germans cracked and we went on to win by 2½ lengths.

The air was electric, for until we broke the spell Germany had won five finals off the reel. Yes, the last win in the doubles was the greatest and the sweetest, for we had come out to Berlin without a race and beaten the world.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Greg Denieffe: Bedford School B.C. v Shrewsbury School B.C., Part 2

Greg Denieffe continues here his story about Jack Beresford and Bedford School:

Bedford School, founded in 1552, and their annual race against Shrewsbury School mentioned in yesterday’s HTBS post was celebrated in verse and published in the School Journal, The Ousel. It followed their victory in 1915 by 3½ lengths. The programme for the 1916 race, in which Jack Beresford had stroked Bedford to victory by 8½ seconds, had the results of previous races between the schools printed on the back page. The first race, in fours, was in 1895 and the 1897 race was the first in eights. The 1915 victory was therefore achieved in the school’s 364th year (CCCLXIIII).

The 1919 publication Annals of Public School Rowing (1919) included the results, updated to for the races from 1916 to publication. In 1918, the schools met again over a part of the Henley course. This race also included Eton College, who won by a fifth of a length with Bedford finishing second, four-fifths of a length ahead of Shrewsbury.

There was no private race between the schools in 1919, but they met in the final of the Elsenham Cup at the Henley Peace Regatta. The qualification for which was similar to the Ladies’ Challenge Plate, being open to schools and universities. They both had beaten three college crews on the way to the final which Shrewsbury won by 1¼ lengths. Rowing at ‘four’ in the winning Shrewsbury crew was A. C. (Sandy) Irvine, who was a member of the Oxford Boat Race crews in 1922 and 1923, winning in 1923, the only occasion upon which Oxford did so between 1913 and 1937. He is most famous for being part of the 1924 British Mount Everest Expedition in which both he and George Mallory lost their lives. Julie Summers, who wrote the 2012 Shire publication Rowing in Britain, also wrote Fearless on Everest: The Quest for Sandy Irvine (2000).

Bedford versus Shrewsbury
(With apologies to Lord Macaulay)

[A lay sung at the meeting of Shrewsbury and Bedford, at the Summer Solstice, in the year
Of the School CCCLXIIII.]

Ho! Umpire, sound your trumpet,
  Ho! Third VIII, clear the way!
The boats will ride in all their pride
  along the course to-day.
To-day our School and Shrewsbury
  Will race to win renown
from the rushes near the Main Bridge
  to the island by the town.

Each man is robed in colours,
  the colours of his team;
the gallant light-ship under each
  floats proudly on the stream.
While flows our muddy river,
  while stands our old Cleat Hill,
the Great Race versus Shrewsbury
  shall have such honour still.
Gay is a cricket House match:
  a Dulwich match is gay:
but the proud day, when the light-ships sway
  shall be our greatest day.

“Hear,” said the Irish starter,
  “I will say, ‘will you go,’
and if you are not ready
  hands up – or else say ‘no’;
but if I get no answer
  of course you’ll start away.”
All happened quite serenely
  and the best crew drew away.

Of course, that crew was Bedford,
  with three strokes we’re ahead;
quite easily we held them,
  and all their hope is fled.
They raced us to the Town Bridge,
   but after they were ‘done,’
and Bedford did but paddle,
  for the race was almost won.

The Bedford cox quite neatly
  gave Shrewsbury all the wash,
and near the Locks they spurted:
  a “Tommie” said “By gosh,
Oi wish I’d backed ‘em sonny,
  but now my ‘bob’ is ‘losh.’”

Oh, Bedford finished nicely
  three and a half ahead.
They were not pumped like Shrewsbury,
  And now enough’s been said.

Part 3 will be posted tomorrow!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Greg Denieffe: Jack Beresford – The Early Years, Part 1

Jack Beresford is one of the most famous of oarsmen in the history of rowing although it is now 35 years ago he died, in 1977. In a three-piece article HTBS’s Greg Denieffe writes about Beresford and the school that made him a man and an oarsman, Bedford School. Greg writes,

There is a wonderful entry by Christopher Dodd for Jack Beresford in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB). If you have a British library card you can access the online edition for free. Like most reviews of Jack’s life, it concentrates on his remarkable rowing career with Thames Rowing Club and his five Olympic medals. HTBS readers will be familiar with his long international rowing career (1920-1939) and his ten Henley medals, two Olympic silver medals (1920 and 1928) and three Olympic gold medals (1924, 1932 and 1936).

The first paragraph of the ODNB briefly covers Jack’s early years:

Beresford, Jack [formerly Jack Beresford Wiszniewski] (1899–1977), oarsman, was born at 36 St Mary’s Grove, Chiswick, Middlesex, on 1 January 1899, the elder son and eldest of the three children of Julius Beresford Wiszniewski (b. 1868) and his wife, Ethel Mary Wood. *His father, Julius, was taken to Britain from Poland by his governess at the age of twelve, and became a furniture manufacturer. Jack was educated at Bedford School, served with the Artists’ Rifles in 1917, was commissioned in the Liverpool Scottish regiment, and was wounded in the leg in northern France in 1918. At school his sporting ambitions were directed at rugby, but prescribed physiotherapy of rowing a dinghy at Fowey, Cornwall, turned him to rowing. He then entered his father’s business, and began working at the furniture factory Beresford and Hicks, of Curtain Road, London.

LONDON – Roots
In 1903, Jack and his parents moved to The Belfairs, 19 Grove Park Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3RY and lived there throughout his youth, during his time as a boarder at Bedford School, and throughout his glittering rowing career and up until his marriage in 1940. According to Gillian Clegg, compiler of, the house, the largest in Grove Park, was built in 1898 with its own coach house and rooms above.

English Heritage erected a blue plaque on the wall of the house to commemorate his time at this address. There is a photograph of the house on their website. His birth place lies a few streets away. Thames Rowing Club hosted the unveiling of the plaque in 2005.

BEDFORD SCHOOL – The making of a man
In 1913, Jack started at Bedford Grammar School and whilst there learnt to row, was elected “Captain of Boats” and stroked the first eight. His preferred sport was rugby and he made the first XV in the 1915-1916 season. They played 14 games winning seven and losing seven. Their coach H. A. Henderson quoted in the school journal summed up the season: “We finished the season a better side than we began… We are not now a dangerous side, but we are useful combination. The team is a very young one” (The Ousel, 25 March 1916).

The captain that year was the full back Basil McFarland who later played international rugby for Ireland (1920–1922). He retained the captaincy for the 1916-1917 season but as Bedford had done many times before, they changed their captain for the Easter Term and Jack took over for the rest of his time at the school. The overall results for 1916-1917 mirrored those of the previous year (P14, W7, L7). Owing to frost and raised railway fares the Easter Term was reduced to a single game against a Rolfe-Rogers XV which Bedford won 49-0. Five of the team gained representative honours during season “B A T McFarland, C K Davies, J Beresford, St J B Nitch and E R Peachey played for the Public Schools in the Christmas holidays” (The Ousel, 6 December 1917).

Jack’s exploits with an oar will be of more interest to readers of HTBS. Bedford School Boat Club was founded in 1861 and made its first appearance at Henley in 1879: they won the Public Schools’ Challenge Cup twice (1880 and 1881) rowing as Bedford Grammar School. The school’s next success at Henley would be as the first winners of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup in 1946. The PE was retained in 1947 and again in 1948 and won for a fourth time in 1951. The First World War put an end to Henley Royal Regatta for five years and Jack did not get to race there for Bedford. Aylwin Simpson writing in his 1986 book Winning Waters, The Homes of Rowing had this to say about the situation:

Important as Henley was, the main event of the year for Bedford started in 1895 with its annual race against Shrewsbury School, rowed alternately on the Great Ouse and the Severn.

By 1916 Jack was stroking the 1st VIII and the race against Shrewsbury took place on the Severn on 22 June. The event that year also included a race for 2nd VIIIs and Shrewsbury produced a race card which gave the crew names and weights and the results of all previous races back to 1895.

In 1919, L. Cecil Smith edited a publication titled Annals of Public School Rowing. The chapter on Bedford School was contributed by the Rev. W. M. Askwith and this is probably the source of the above quote by Aylwin Simpson. However, the earlier work has an important insight to the quality of the Bedford crew of 1916:

In 1916 a challenge came from Eton to row them either at Eton or Henley in a boat borrowed from them, or on the Ouse. Bedford accepted for the last-named course, having already been away to Shrewsbury, but owing to the impossibility of fixing a mutually convenient date the race fell through. The Bedford crew of that year was without doubt the best on record, and would certainly not have disgraced itself even against such redoubtable antagonists. 

Bedford won the race by 8½ seconds in a time of 5.25 and Rev. Askwith also gave the result of the race for 2nd VIIIs:

In 1916 the second eight went over to Shrewsbury and beat the Shrewsbury second eight, but this fixture is not generally feasible.

The results of the Bedford School ‘In House’ fours and pairs events are also listed in the 1919 publication and the crew of R. C. L. White (bow) and J. Beresford (stroke) coxed by E. W. Parkes won the 1916 Crosbie Challenge Pair Oars. There was no race against Shrewsbury in 1917, the year Jack left Bedford, and therefore his 1916 exploits may be assumed to be his highest achievements on the water for the school.

The Ousel, The Journal of Bedford Grammar School, covers in great detail the progress of the Boat Club and from this we get a detailed picture of Jack’s progress as an oarsman. He was not in the 1st VIII in 1915 when Bedford beat Shrewsbury by 3½ seconds on home water and he gets his first mention in the ‘Rowing Notes’ section in February 1916:

The weeding out process is gradually taking effect, and it is now possible to make a guess at the probable composition of the Eight for next term, subject always to surprises and disappointments caused by the racing capacity displayed in the House Fours.

BERESFORD’S style is more suited to a pair or sculling boat than to an eight. If he can learn to mark the beginning more firmly and clearly, not to bend his arms too soon, and so to hold out a longer finish, he might make a good seven. He races well, keeps good time, and has a really good idea of watermanship.

In total, the rowing profile of 18 boys is given together with a short report on the number of crews on the water since the previous September and the type of work (some fixed seat) that the boys were doing. (The Ousel, 26 February 1916).

The ‘Rowing Notes’ section of the 25 March 1916 edition of the journal previews the House Fours:

While frost and snow, rain and mist have imposed unwilling activity on mere landsmen, the House Fours have carried out their regular work in spite of considerable discomfort. Successive floods have given opportunities for rowing on livelier water than is usual on our river, and this ought to be a distinct advantage to next term’s Eight.

Each House Fours chances are previewed:

CRESCENT have W. Waldecker (bow), S. Waldecker, Schofiel, Beresford (stroke). They appear to be going in for the so-called ‘Sculling Style.’ They are fairly well together and taking to the eye, but seem to lack the drive of some of the other crews. In practice they already owe a great deal to Beresford, and the races may prove that the debt is still greater.

Following the races the journal reported:

CRESCENT showed to distinct advantage in both their races. It was easy to do this in their heat, but they deserve great credit for the way they kept their form and length when rowing a losing race in the Final. Beresford showed good watermanship and improved rhythm, but if he is going to row stroke in a light eight he must learn to show his crew a much marked beginning.

The report concludes by confirming “The Shrewsbury race, on the Severn, has been fixed for Thursday, June 22nd. If all the likely heavy-weights can acquire the necessary quickness and polish, the crew will probably be one of the heaviest that has ever represented the School”. (The Ousel, 5 April 1916).

The focus was now on the forthcoming race with Shrewsbury and May’s journal reported:

The Eight started practice for the Shrewsbury race on Friday, May 5th, in the following order: .... J. Beresford (stroke). On May 10th, the 1912 light ship was used, and there was comparatively little rolling, although, owing to the want of smartness at the beginning, the boat was running away from them a good deal.

BERESFORD is a better hand at moving a boat than he is at stroking one. He has done so much rowing that many of his faults appear almost incurable. The success or failure of the crew largely turns on whether he can learn to give them the necessary steadiness and ease in the swing forward, followed by a crisp and decided “attaque.” (The Ousel, 24 May 1916).

In the June journal there were reports on various timed pieces, and despite a poor performance on 22 May, described as probably the slowest and worst piece of rowing by the School crew for many years, by 2 June they had improved enough so that over the course from the Town Bridge to the Three Trees the previous record was broken by 2½ seconds. The report went on to add that “Beresford and Simpson received their Colours on May 23rd”. (The Ousel, 9 June 1916).

The School journal of 8 July dedicated four pages to the Shrewsbury races. It covered the final preparations on the Ouse and the travel arrangements as well as detailed race reports on both the 1st and 2nd VIIIs.

Along the straight and round the second bend we steadily increased our lead, finally winning, with something to spare by 8½ seconds. The time, 5 mins. 25 secs., was distinctly fast considering that the wind was against the crews until they rounded the final bend.

The School crew rowed right at the top of their form, and Shrewsbury critics confirmed the impression given in the last few days on the Ouse that they are the fastest crew that Bedford has turned out.

Beresford stroked his crew with judgment, he gave them time both at the finish and on the swing forward, and seeing that he had the race well in hand never bustled his crew at any part of the course. (The Ousel, 8 July 1916).

Bedford School 1st VIII – J. Beresford at stroke


At Shrewsbury, 22 June, 1916.

The next publication of The Ousel on 27 July, 1916, had a real gem of a supplement; a group photograph of the combined Shrewsbury and Bedford crews that raced on 22 June 1916. Jack Beresford proudly wearing his 1st VIII blazer, collar turned up. No names are given, but none are needed to identify him. One can assume that many of those photographed did not see the end of the Great War that would engulf the world a couple of years later.

Jack Beresford aged 17.

The same issue gives the results of the heats and final of the School Senior Pairs held on 10, 11 and 12 July. As mentioned above Jack and his partner R. C. L. White coxed by E. W. Parkes won the event after racing a heat, semi-final and final over the three days. “The winners were a good pair, and had they been pressed would have beaten the 2.45 done in 1910”.

Under the heading "1st VIII Characters, 1916" the journal has this to say about Jack:

J. BERESFORD (stroke). – A really fine waterman, a strong oar, and when it came to racing, a good and level-headed stroke. In practice, especially in the early stages, he was inclined to try much too fast a stroke, and, in addition, he never had any idea of counting his rate of striking. At the end of practice he was showing his crew the beginning fairly well, and was driving out a fairly long finish, but even then he must have been a difficult stroke to follow.

This edition of the journal has one final mention of Jack Beresford: another victory too, not his most famous but perhaps his most unusual. He coxed CRESCENT to win the House ‘Junior’ Eights beating both ASHBURNHAM in a heat and ST. CUTHBERT’S in the final. (The Ousel, 27 July 1916).

AFTER BEDFORD – Gone but not forgotten
On leaving school he served in the First World War in France where, still a teenager he was shot in the leg. This ended his rugby career and after the war he concentrated on rowing. He joined Thames Rowing Club and his first year there (1919) is described in Geoffrey Page’s 1991 book Hear the Boat Sing: The History of Thames Rowing Club and Tideway Rowing as follows:

Although he did not compete at Henley that year, Berry’s son Jack was beginning to make his mark. He had stroked the Bedford School during the war and had later been wounded in the leg on active service. At 19 [sic] he made his first appearance at Marlow, winning the junior sculls. He followed this up by winning the junior-senior event at Kingston and the senior event at Molesey. He stroked a four and a Thames Cup eight, both of which won at Staines.
The following year, Jack won his first Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley and his first Olympic medal in Antwerp and the rest, as they say, is history. He was a very proud 'Old Bedfordian' and the oak sapling presented to him after his victory at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games was planted in the school grounds. You can read an earlier HTBS post about the Bedford School ‘Hitler Oak’ here.

In 2011, Bedford School Boat Club celebrated their 150th anniversary with a ball on the 5 March, and on display were the cased medals won by Jack Beresford which were on loan from the River and Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames. A games room was also named in his  honour  and The Old Bedfordian club reported the occasion in the June 2011 edition of their journal OB Review:

Until Sir Steve Redgrave CBE powered across the finish in Sydney, OB and Pemberley House boy Jack Beresford (13-17) laid claim to the world’s greatest oarsman title, having won three gold and two silver Olympic medals in successive Olympics. But Jack wasn’t the only Beresford to row or the first Beresford at Pemberley (see note below). With both his OB father and nephew Michael Beresford (47-53) Olympic oarsman, the Beresfords are thought to be the only family in history with three generations of Olympic finalists in the same discipline and to have won c.1000 top class races between them. Michael returned to Pemberley in March with his wife, Roma, to help celebrate the opening of the Jack Beresford Games Room and to attend the Bedford School Boat Club 150th Anniversary Ball.

Jack’s son, John, was also invited but he was away for the anniversary, which, John writes, “was a great pity as I also was Captain of Boats in 1964. My cousin Michael took my place in opening the Jack Beresford Games Room at Pemberley, but I have been able to give them some pictures, sculls etc.”

Note - Bedford School has six houses. Each house consists of a day house and a partnering boarding house. Whilst these are the official house names, it is common for boarders to refer to their house by the name of their boarding house. Jack’s house was officially called ‘Crescent’. The day house is situated in a two storey building towards the south of the school site. The boarding house ‘Pemberley’, is situated just off site on Pemberley Avenue. The house colours are black and white.

Beresford Road, Bedford, England.

In 1947, Bedford Borough Council adopted as public highway; Beresford Road. It is very close to The Embankment which runs alongside the stretch of the river Great Ouse on which Jack learned to row. According to the council, the road would have been built shortly after the Second World War and was named in honour of Jack Beresford although they could not say exactly how the name came about.  On 12 August, 2012, Bedford local paper, Bedfordshire on Sunday printed an interesting article about Jack with the title 'Historic Olympic hero shouldn't be forgotten'. It is a sentiment that I, and many readers of HTBS wholeheartedly agree with.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

*See information about Julius Beresford here.