The Club will be privileged to once again be represented in this famous race, which this year will be held on Tuesday 25 July at 11.30 a.m. Amongst the four competitors will be LRC members, Alfie Anderson and Perry Flynn.
The sculling race is steeped in history, and in fact is believed to be the oldest continuously held sporting event in the world. It was started in 1715 by Thomas Doggett, an Irish comedian and a one time theatre manager in Drury Lane. It has been organised every year since 1721 by the Fishmongers’ Company and the competitors, originally those in their first year of their freedom from apprenticeship, are provided by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen. The course is an unlikely one, from London Bridge on the incoming tide to Chelsea, and numerous bridges, wharves, moored passenger vessels, pontoons and buoys have to be negotiated. It is a real test of skill as well as watermanship. The PLA closes the river to all traffic whilst the race is under way, and HMS Belfast usually sends off resounding warning salvos as reminders to vessel masters. The winner of the race is presented with a spectacular scarlet coat in 18th c. design, plus a large silver badge worn on the left arm.
The Club has been honoured to be associated with the Race for nearly a century. Tom Phelps (waterman and boatman 1936-67) and his brother Jack (waterman and boatman 1929-36) won in 1922 and 1928 respectively. 13 Club members have won since 1959, the last winner being Merlin Dwan in 2012. The Club has also monopolised the special anniversary ‘wagers’ – for the Silver Jubilee in 1977 (F J Burwood), the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 (C G Anness) and Alfie Anderson himself in the 2014 wager to mark the 500th anniversary of the first Act to regulate watermen and wherrymen.
At the 2014 annual dinner Robert Prentice presented to the Club an honours board listing all the names of London winners; this now hangs in the Long Room.