James Stewart Morrison

J S Morrison, who passed away on 24th October 2017 at the age of 91, was the senior member of the Club at the time of his death.

Morrison at Henley in his Wadham and LRC attire

Morrison at Henley in his Wadham and LRC attire

He started his love of rowing at Wadham College, Oxford, and rowed for college crews throughout his three years. He had lost an eye the year before going up so doubled his joy of discovering a sport where having only one eye made no difference at all. Wadham is of course well known in informed rowing circles for having participated in the Grand in the first ever Henley in 1839, and for having provided bar staff regularly in recent years at Remenham Club (where LRC is one of the seven founding member clubs).

He joined London as an Undergraduate Member on coming down in February 1947. He rowed in the Head of the River Race (probably the second VIII) in 1948, the year that he also became a Life Member. He was at 6 in the club’s Thames Challenge Cup crew the same year, and the records and family memory confirm that he rowed regularly for the Club until he was married in 1959. He was a member of the Stewards’ Enclosure for some 70 years, and a regular visitor to Henley throughout.

The family’s connections with the sport lived on when, in the famous 2003 Boat Race which Oxford won by one foot, he had two great nephews racing in opposing crews – Mathew Smith, who was President of Oxford, and Ben Smith in the Cambridge crew.

Morrison’s business career was in confectionery where he worked initially, until it was sold, for the family firm of Clarke, Nicolls and Combs, known as Clarnico, a name which older members will recognise. Later on he worked for other luminaries in the sector such as Ferrero, Suchard and Lindt, and in retirement he gave his time to confectionery industry charity causes.

He was most generous in donating to the Club’s collection a fine claret jug with an inscribed lid, a winner’s trophy for a Club fours race in the early years of the Club’s existence. The restored jug makes a regular appearance at annual dinners on the top table.

The LRC Victorian claret jug donated by Morrison in c. 2004

The LRC Victorian claret jug donated by Morrison in c. 2004

He also attended the 150th anniversary dinner at the Mansion House in 2006 shortly before his 80th birthday and presided at the end of one of the sprigs with family supporters. He must have been one of the very few to have also attended the Club’s centenary dinner at Grocers’ Hall in 1956 and the 125th anniversary dinner at Mansion House in 1981. Loyal to the last.

Boating at Putney Embankment, Head of the River, 1948

Boating at Putney Embankment, Head of the River, 1948

LRC 's HORR 1948 2nd VIII returns to the stools after finishing the HORR in 1948. Morrison is at 6. 'Stools' were the wooden platforms from which LRC and other Putney club crews used to embark and disembark in the days when clubs had boatmen/watermen. They went out of use some time in the 1970s.

LRC 's HORR 1948 2nd VIII returns to the stools after finishing the HORR in 1948. Morrison is at 6. 'Stools' were the wooden platforms from which LRC and other Putney club crews used to embark and disembark in the days when clubs had boatmen/watermen. They went out of use some time in the 1970s.

Passing under the rail bridge, Putney, heading towards Putney Bridge, Head of the River, 1948 – James Stewart Morrison in the 6 seat.

Passing under the rail bridge, Putney, heading towards Putney Bridge, Head of the River, 1948 – James Stewart Morrison in the 6 seat.