The London Roar


Thanks to the generosity of members and other friends of the Club we have very nearly raised the money we need not only to build our magnificent new gym but also to equip it to an appropriate standard. Sincere and grateful thanks go to all who have donated and to those who have helped in so many ways to bring this substantial project to fruition.

Very nearly there!

Very nearly there!

We have now reached the Progress Board and, as everyone who has competed at Henley knows, it is just a matter of holding on for a few strokes and we will be there!

 We do, however, still need further funds to complete those final few strokes and so, if you haven’t yet donated anything or you have but can find it in you to donate a bit more, we would be delighted if you will do so now.

To make a donation, please will you either send a cheque payable to London Rowing Club to me at the Club or contact the Club office directly at or telephone us (020) 8788 1400.. Please will you reference your payment ‘gym’ followed by your name.

Make a donation via PayPal

Ben Helm
Vice President, London Rowing Club



Our contractor continues to make very good progress and we are getting ever closer to the end of our exciting gym redevelopment.

The high-level ventilation units and the low-level ventilation louvres have been fitted and look terrific. They will provide us with a sustainable passive ventilation system that will ensure good ventilation and fresh air. The changing room flooring has been laid, the shower and WC fittings are being installed, the accessible shower/WC is being fitted out and work is currently being undertaken on plumbing and electrics. The physio room is largely finished and will be an exceptional space.

The frame for the glazing to the apex of the weights gym has been fabricated and will be finished in the same anthracite grey colour as the cladding. The steel bridge link that will give access to the new men’s changing room has also been fabricated. We hope both these items will have been fitted by the time this update is published.

Photograph showing the ventilation louvres under each window. Louvres are shown in the closed position and are opened with a simple lever control. The ridge mounted units are opened by a simple cable and cleat mechanism.

Photograph showing the ventilation louvres under each window. Louvres are shown in the closed position and are opened with a simple lever control. The ridge mounted units are opened by a simple cable and cleat mechanism.

The new changing room taking shape

The new changing room taking shape

There is still a lot to do but our contractor is aiming to complete the main base build by the end of March (there may be some external works to complete) and we hope the specialist gym flooring can be laid in the first week of April. The ergos and watt bikes that are currently in the crew room will then be moved to the large gym.

At present we do not have sufficient funds for all of the gym equipment we would like and, unless more funds come through, the weights gym will need to be equipped in stages as and when funds allow. It would be great to be able to fit the weights gym out in one go and if you have not yet contributed to this wonderful project and feel able to do so, please do. Every donation is welcomed enormously.

For more information contact Peter Halford, Eddie Markes or Simon Harris

See more ongoing updates and follow the story at LRC Gym Redevelopment



15 March: Schools’ Head

16 March: Women’s Eights Head

23 March: Kingston Head

23 March: Oxford v Cambridge Lightweight Men’s Boat Race

30 March: Head of the River Race

31 March: Vesta Veterans’ Head

03 April: Irregulars’ Dinner

07 April: Oxford v Cambridge Boat Races

19/21 April: GB Senior and U23 Trials (Caversham)

27 April: Hammersmith Amateur Regatta

01 May: Irregulars’ Dinner

04 May: Chiswick Amateur Regatta

05 May: Wallingford Regatta (Dorney)

18 May: Putney Town Regatta

24/26 May: National Schools’ Regatta (Dorney)

29 May/01 June: Oxford Summer Eights

01/02 June: Metropolitan Regatta (Dorney)

05 June: Irregulars’ Dinner (provisional)

09 June: Vogalonga (Venice)

12/15 June: Cambridge University May Bumps

See more detail for these events, visit our Calendar of Events…


The month of HORR, the winter slog has flown by, and despite the lack of changing facilities a great many of you have kept up the pressure and made it onto the water. I admire your fortitude and steadfastness! 

As you will see in this issue, we are in the final push to get the gym open and fully fitted so we can operate properly as well as start to offer the squad essential strength training facilities and indeed the opportunity to raise further revenue through monetisation of dead periods in the gym. Please, if you are considering donating, now is the time we need you most.  If there are elements of approach or concerns you have that are causing you to hold back, please contact me ( so we can discuss the position and find the best way forward. LRC is a club which is focussed on its members and we will always push for your ideals.

The squad have had an undulating couple of months with a few niggling injuries and some athletes having work commitments that have seen numbers fluctuate. We have some new joiners including two gap year students who are staying in Resis. Please ensure that you make them feel welcome.

Over the coming two weeks we have the Schools’, Women’s, Veterans’ and Men’s Heads of the River Races and we will be having another Rugby International showing in the bar. The regatta season will then be upon us.

 You will see many of the volunteer coaches wearing dashing new Musto gear. If you would like to order some of this for yourself, please email Rob Dauncey (  

Finally, please do join me in welcoming Shane Dorsett as the Club’s General Manager. Taking the step of appointing a General Manager marks a significant move for the club to establish a formal approach to the business management and delivery of membership services. Shane will be doing all he can to make sure that you get as much as possible out of the Club.

Bang the drum

Tim Grant
LRC Captain

DENNIS ASHTON 1925 - 2019

We are sorry to inform you that Dennis Ashton died on 03 March.  

Dennis was Captain of the Club in 1958-9, having previously served as Vice-Captain.  A fuller obituary will appear in the next edition of The London Roar.

His funeral will be on Wednesday 20 March at 1.45pm at the Chapel at East Sheen Cemetery, Kings Ride Gate, Sheen Rd, Richmond TW10 5BJ

The wake will then be held at the Club at 3.30 pm. Transport will be provided from the Cemetery to LRC. 

Club members and friends of Dennis will be most welcome. 

Dennis Ashton, 1925 - 2019

Dennis Ashton, 1925 - 2019


It seems that, in the UK rowing fraternity at least, when one talks of the “the Head”, everyone knows you are referring to the Men’s Head of the River Race from Mortlake to Putney. It is the Daddy of all Heads, having been started in 1926, by Steve Fairbairn, and has been copied many times all round the World. 

Steve, who had coached with great success at LRC, wanted to encourage crews to put in mileage over the winter months to set themselves up for the shorter and sharper racing of the Summer.

LRC took part from the very beginning and duly won the first race, out of 21 crews, in what was described as “a very creditable time”.

The concept of the Head was an instant success and the following year forty crews took part, with London leading off and Thames in second slot, only for the two clubs to dead-heat for first place.

 In the pre-war years, the Race grew and grew, with LRC’s constant participation – it is one of the few clubs that has entered every time the event has been held.

After the war, London rapidly got back into form, winning in 1949 and 1950, but as the 1950s progressed, the race became increasingly dominated by other than “true” club crews and was regularly won by packed dream team groupings or National Squad crews. As a consequence of this, the prime objective of LRC became the Vernon Trophy, a prize for the fastest club crew rowing on the Thames.

That having been said, there have been years when LRC’s results in the Race were fairly spectacular in showing a depth of talent, namely coming 5th, 8th and 12th in 1976, 3rd, 5th and 10th in 1977, and 1st, 5th and 14th in 1978, in the latter case beating both National Squad heavyweight crews, with our current Chairman, Bob Downie, in the boat.

From the 1950s onward, LRC’s involvement went increasingly beyond competing. Archie Nisbet, a Vice President of the Club was Chairman of the Head for many years, before handing over to Peter Coni, of fond memory. Peter was never happy without a multiplicity of hats and was not only Chairman but also Chief Umpire and Safety Officer. When he became seriously ill in 1990, he abruptly appointed me to the Committee and to all three of his roles, surprising me and the Committee.

The current Chairman is once again a London member, Ben Helm. The role has only been held by other than LRC members for seven of the last sixty or so years.

LRC holds the record for the greatest number of crews entered in any one race, a total of 20 in the 1970s. Truth to tell, the rules about the participants all having to be members of the club they were competing for were rather more relaxed in those days, and our boating marshal, Oliver Philpot, was striding up and down the hard, shouting “anyone want to row for London?” when we found ourselves a few bodies short. I rowed right at the back in LRC 20, crew 420, a lonely business, as we only saw one other boat. This was LRC 19, starting 419! Happy days.

Mike Baldwin


Bar openings for the coming month:

Friday, 15 March -  10:00-15:00
Schools’ Head

Saturday, 16 March - from 10:00
Women's HORR, 11.30
Six Nations Final Weekend:
Italy v France, 12:30
Wales v Ireland, 14:45
England v Scotland, 17:00

Saturday 23 March - from 12:00
Cambridge Lightweights

Saturday 30 March - from 12:00
Head of River Race

Sunday 31 March - from 12.00
Vesta Vets Head, 13:00 – 15:00

Playball’s Crew Room timetable:
Mondays: 9:30-11:45 & 16:00-16:45
Wednesdays: 9:30-11:00
Thursdays: 9:30-11:45

Shane Dorsett
General Manager, London Rowing Club 


Members and their guests will be most welcome to come to the Club to enjoy a prime view of the races.

Entry will be restricted to people who have an official lanyard.

Members can reserve and pay for access lanyards either online using the URL or by emailing the events team on

Lanyards cost £5 each and give the holder access to the Club’s grandstand for the day. Members can buy them for themselves and up to three guests.

Please reserve and pay in advance, but the lanyards can be collected in the week of Boat Race; details to follow. The number of lanyards has to be limited so you should buy yours without delay to avoid disappointment.

Shane Dorsett
General Manager, London Rowing Club


Some of our group enjoying the monthly Irregulars' Dinner

Some of our group enjoying the monthly Irregulars' Dinner

Tommy Kimmins, LRC barman, serves up pre-dinner drinks - Penny Bevan-Hopkins on the receiving end!

Tommy Kimmins, LRC barman, serves up pre-dinner drinks - Penny Bevan-Hopkins on the receiving end!

With the wonderful weather in February we had over 25 on two Sunday's running! Last weekend, with Storm Freya looming the numbers were down. Generally, however, we are finding that numbers are on the increase, which is really gratifying.

We continue to work on our Veteran’s eight for their forthcoming Head, getting out every Sunday. It has taken time to settle the crew and its’ order but we are now there. We have a very enthusiastic and friendly group in the crew and they are doing their utmost to stick to the training regime they have been given. We also have an excellent young cox who is the son of one of the crew. Good luck to them on the 31st March. Do come down to the Club to support them if you can.

Many thanks must go to Barn Elms Boathouse for their continued hosting of our Sunday morning tank sessions - I just have to book in with them and we pitch up and have our session with Miles Preston conducting affairs - it really is very kind of them and a great example of our common spirit and commitment to our sport. We have now had four sessions and plan to continue for as long as there is a demand.

An appeal has gone out for timekeepers for the Eight's Head on the 30th March - there has been a good response from our group. Thank you to all who have volunteered.

Days are getting longer and, dare I say it, members are beginning to get excited about being able to have showers in the new changing rooms!!

Eddie Markes 


It is said that, if you remember the 1960s, you weren’t there. However, those London members whose cerebral functions disprove this overused phrase may recollect a veteran sculler of that time, a man known around LRC as “MK”.  That (to give him his proper name) Morris (later Geoffrey) K. Morris, is so little known in the Club is strange as he is only one of six London men (so far) to win the Diamond Sculls. Morris’s story is particularly remarkable as, at the time of his 1923 win, he had been rowing for little more than a year.

Part of the reason for MK’s relative obscurity is that, until last month, no photograph of him existed in the clubhouse. The picture now hanging in the Long Room is one that I collected while writing Morris’s biography for Hear The Boat Sing. While researching this work, I also made contact with many members of his family, both in the UK and in the United States. At least three of the British side of the Morris family have rowed at a very high level and, in the US, a ‘step-grandson’, Jeremy Fisher-Smith, is a builder of traditional wooden boats.

On Friday, 05 April, Jeremy, on a fleeting visit from America, will officially unveil MK’s picture in the presence of some of his English cousins.  This will be followed by an informal lunch in the Members’ Room. Any members of London who would like to attend this event are very welcome. Please let me know asap if you will be there on  Further, some of the Morris family with rowing experience have enquired about the possibility of a short outing with some LRC members on the day. Are any ‘Irregulars’ interested in facilitating this? Again, please contact me if so.

 Tim Koch
of the rowing history website:
Hear The Boat Sing

If a picture is worth a thousand words
– video is said to be priceless…

We are asking for all LRC members wherever and whenever you can, to help play a part in telling our story and transmitting what we’re about as a club with an incredible spirit and passion for the sport of rowing, our athletes and our environment.

To help us get discovered and noticed even more we need to do more to engage and share our love and pride for LRC with the wider rowing community and the rest of the world. Whether it’s an early morning sunrise, a sunset masterpiece, footage of you rowing like gods, racing photos, pet photos, rowing memes, crew selfies or even Irregulars evening dinner Gifs — please share your captures with us by emailing your content to and we’ll post your stories via londonrowingclub on Instagram.

Don’t forget to include any captions or hashtags, or even just a basic description and we will do the rest for you. Remember your creative and timely contributions will enable us to grow our social currency and give us chance of making it into and keeping everyone’s daily feeds refreshed!


Bob Silver
LRC Communications sub-committee


My thanks to everyone who has contributed to this edition of the London Roar. If you have an idea for an article or would be interested in submitting a piece for inclusion in a future edition, please email me on

Please do not submit an article without first liaising with me.

Miles Preston
Editor of The London Roar