It is now just over two weeks since the AGM when I was elected as chairman of our fine club. For those who don’t know me, I have been a member of London Rowing Club since 1985 and was captain for two years in the early nineties. In recent years, I have raced with the Masters’ Squad and picked up a few wins along the way. For the past two years I have chaired the Gym Sub-Committee. There is a slightly fuller biography on the website.
Since the AGM, I have received some interesting and useful feedback and am looking forward to working with the new Committee to continue the development of our Club over the coming year. I see this as a great opportunity. We have a remarkable club with some excellent facilities and a committed membership. We also have a fine old clubhouse which requires some remedial work as we approach the 150th anniversary of its construction. I am keen to ensure that the Club works effectively for its members at all levels, is financially strong and successful on the river.
Please feel free to contact me with any feedback, ideas, or offers of support. I can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you and an interesting year ahead.
Chairman, London Rowing Club
As I outlined at the AGM, this season the focus is on LRC coming together as a club, creating a friendly and welcoming environment for all to enjoy, row, train, race hard and, of course, socialise.
With the new gym in place, a growing squad, and Shane our GM focusing on the bar and Club Room support to members, there has never been a better time to be part of LRC. We have already seen some fantastic club spirit this month. I appreciate the effort that all staff, volunteers and members have put in.
Just last Wednesday we had 36 members, across all groups, out rowing (with the challenge, on their return, to row more efficiently than each other, not to race...?!). With a BBQ on the balcony afterwards, it was a true reflection of the Club’s spirit and a great demonstration of the just what an amazing Clubhouse (located in an unparalleled setting) we have for our enjoyment.
Thursday Circuits are back. With styles rotating weekly, the sessions are designed to scale up or down, so every member taking part, regardless of fitness level, can enjoy and challenge themselves. Each week, as the word spreads about these circuits, more people are taking part from across all groups, Irregulars, Millennials, Masters, Young Irregulars and also prospective club members.
The Summer racing season has continued with Club representation at a number of events. We have had wins by the Racing Masters at Henley Masters and crews racing at Kingston, Molesey and Henley Town and Visitors across multiple groups.
In Henley T&V it was Vice-Captain Meghan Jackson who took the win in the band 1 singles. Charlie Haynes made the band 5 final, and in the band 3 mixed doubles, Emily McHarg with long-time member and coach Steve Salter got to the final but couldn’t quite take the win.
The 8 gave solid representation showing huge potential… After 200m they struggled to settle and accepted the reverse taper strategy wasn’t a solid plan, cracking racing nonetheless.
If you haven't been to a Supper Club or other members’ event yet, keep an eye out for them in The London Roar and the Weekly Briefs. I have been to many of them and, as a foodie and someone who enjoys a glass of wine, they provide exceptional food, great fun and superb value for money.
It is anticipated that there will be a Club Pride Day in September, the date of which will be announced shortly.
Club standards continue to improve. Please abide by the Club Rules and Guidelines we have in place. In every scenario, the acid test of "Could this negatively impact a fellow member or the Club?" is a good starting point. Parking in front of the bays, leaving the gym windows unlocked, playing music in the gym without consideration for others, all have the potential for negative impact on fellow members and the Club. We intend to continue to refine these rules and guidelines. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to get in touch with me.
Thank you for supporting me in this my third season. We intend to continue on our upward trajectory to get London back to the top of domestic rowing and the best members’ club on the Tideway.
Bang the Drum.
Captain, London Rowing Club
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
25 August-01 September: World Rowing Championships
04 September: Doggett’s Coat and Badge
11 September: Irregulars’ Dinner
11/15 September: World Rowing Masters’ Regatta
14 September: Great River Race
15 September: Traversee de Paris
26 September: LRC Supper Club (see Events Update)
29 September: Regatta London Row
03 October : Wingfield Sculls
09 October: Irregulars’ Dinner (provisional)
27 October: Upper Thames Autumn Head
06 November: Irregulars’ Dinner (provisional)
23 November: Fours’ Head
24 November: Veterans’ Fours’ Head
See more detail for these events, visit our Calendar of Events…
Henley was enjoyed by many members. About fifteen of our number were able to enjoy watching the racing from the boom during the Friday in three separate sorties. This took place in our skiff Tubby Bryant (kindly donated to the Club by Owen Bryant in 2016 and subsequently bought from the Club and then refurbished by some Irregulars, with the sale proceeds going towards the gym redevelopment). The skiff provides a great vantage point for watching the racing whilst keeping one’s liquid intake to a healthy and acceptable level. The highlight of one of these occasions was undoubtedly to be almost within touching distance of our own Miles Preston, who was taking part in a row over of his 1969 Leander Thames Cup winning crew. A wry smile passed his face as we uttered verbal encouragement of many different forms.
Some of our members have been racing on two consecutive Saturdays! A quad both times, they competed at Kingston on Saturday 13th July and came a commendable second in their Masters’ event - and then again at Molesey the following Saturday where they won their first heat and then again came second in the final. This was a special day as they joined members of the Squad and the Millennials group in competing here, making it a truly all-inclusive Club event. This is to be encouraged, as we work to build communications and camaraderie between the different rowing groups in the Club. Very well done to Jason Danciger, Dugald Moore, Matt Thorogood, Keith Coni and Rory O’Sullivan.
The next fixture on the calendar is the Regatta London event at the end of September in which we have entered a mixed eight. Concentration will be given to getting a crew confirmed during August.
A VIEW FROM THE LAUNCH
I wish that more members could have been at Henley on Saturday, the 13th July, to see the four finals of the Henley Masters’ Regatta in which LRC were represented. As the driver throughout the day of ‘Casamajor’, one of the Umpire Launches, I was privileged to follow our Open Masters C. 4- (James Brown, Jonty Williamson, Matty Bell and JP van Tiel) in their final, beating Ruder Club ‘Allemannia von 1886’ by 1 length. LRC ‘rowing as one’ is a cliché which does do justice to the precision of the blade-work, the ‘bite’ of the catches and the cleanness of the finishes. Moving as if locked together, the blades did not vary or flutter in rhythm throughout the whole race. It was breath-taking to behold.
A little later in the afternoon, it was not ‘my’ turn to be able to follow the Open Masters’ C. 4+ (Stewart Harries, Adrian Theed, Ralph Humphrey, Shaun Martin and coxed by Abby Leek) final between LRC and the Castleconnell Boat Club composite, LRC winning this time by 2 feet; it must have been a thrilling race. However, it was ‘my’ turn to follow the third LRC final with the Kingston/London/Walbrook composite taking on Quintin in the Open Masters’ F. 4- final. With 2 LRC Members (Stewart Harries and Adrian Theed) in the stern, they looked strong. A thrilling, close race ensued. A couple of minor steering corrections down the course may have made just the difference in their missing out, this time by 3/4 length, and in LRC failing to achieve a hat-trick of medals. Duncan McLellan also missed out in the final of the Open Masters’ B. 1x by 1 1/2 lengths to the Exeter Rowing Club sculler.
CLUB EVENTS UPDATE
Starting in September, the bar will be open more regularly. We plan to be open to members in either the Long Room or the Club Room Wed-Sat evenings and Sunday afternoons. Please look out for our very own LRC lager, and Fairbairn IPA, currently being brewed in Barnes.
September Supper Club: Thursday 26 September. Crawfish Boil by the Dinner Ladies. £25pp. Please book at email@example.com
General Manager, London Rowing Club
JOHN M. RUSSELL OBITUARY
John Russell, who died on 22nd January 2019 aged 83, was briefly a member of London in his early 20s during which he won the Wingfield Sculls in 1959, coached by Doug Melvin. He later moved on to other clubs to continue a distinguished sculling and, in particular, rowing career.
Coming from a professional rowing family which had started its own metal polishing business (specialising in heavy propellers) in Brentford after WWII, John first joined Parkside RC which was based at the West End Boathouse on Lower Mall, Hammersmith. Parkside belonged to the National Amateur Rowing Association, which merged with the ARA in 1956.
John showed early promise on the water and was keen to progress his career. London was the club of choice for scullers at the time (it had an almost unbroken run of Wingfield wins from 1948 to 1961). Peter Fraser’s father, Hugh Fraser (who was in the winning 1938 LRC Grand crew, and a solicitor) had advised the family firm, and may have provided an introduction. So off John went downstream to the Embankment in the 1957 season, aged 21.
Weighing in at around 12 stone 10 lbs, in 1957 he stroked the London Grand crew, and doubled up in the Stewards’ reaching the final against Krylia Sovetov, a race that was marred when LRC hit the booms at the 3/4 mile. In 1958 he again rowed in the Grand and Stewards’, losing to the eventual winners in both events.
The 1959 Wingfields was, according to the Rowing Almanack account, “one of the finest races for many years”. His main opponent was Justicz of Birmingham RC who striking 30 led John, sculling at 25, as far as Barnes Railway Bridge. John then raised his rate to 28 and overhauled Justicz a minute later, winning a well-judged race by 2 1/2 seconds in 22m. 37 secs. Two months later John entered the Diamonds, getting through one round.
It was at this point that John was ‘poached’ by Colin Porter to row for Molesey and Barn Cottage 1960-63 and in turn by Bill Barry to join Tideway Scullers in 1964. This period is well documented in Chris Dodd’s history of the Club (John appears in a photograph on page 201). The same year John reached the pinnacle of his career, winning a silver medal stroking the GB Coxless Four at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. He won the Stewards’ 4 times (in 1965 in a Quintin crew) and was a regular winner of the HORR. He was also 1st equal with Birkmyre (Ariel) in the Scullers’ Head in 1962, and finished in the top six in that event in no less than 7 other years between 1957 and 1966.
‘Tubby’ Bryant, a contemporary at London, remembers John Russell, aside from all his success, always being modest, friendly and pleasant to row with. John retired from the family company in 1999, which is now a prominent high-tech marine engineering firm based in Southampton, the employees having increased from 3 at Brentford to 80 today – CJR Propulsion Ltd. John last visited the Club for a Wingfields dinner in the Members’ Room.
Librarian & Archivist, London Rowing Club
LIEUTENANT COLONEL DAVID EDWARDS, MA (OXON) OBITUARY
The youngest of two brothers, David Cecil Edwards was born on the 30th October 1937 in Kensington, London. His father, Group Captain Hugh ‘Jumbo’ Edwards, MA AFC DFC, the well-known double Olympic rowing gold medallist, pilot and Oxford University rowing coach, imbued in both his sons a thirst for competitive sport and a somewhat eccentric and versatile approach to trying one’s hand at anything and, once committed, then trying with all one’s might to succeed.
His early life was spent on various airfields throughout the Second World War, watching and waiting for his father to return from his various flying missions over occupied Europe. Both David and his brother were sent to Prep School at St. Richard’s, Malvern and then to Downside. London Rowing Club records show that David became a member of the Club in 1950, at about the time he started at his Prep School. On leaving school in 1954, he was awarded a state scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford. In going up to Christ Church, he followed in the wake of his father, his uncle and his brother John (and, in due course, he was followed by his son Tarquin) and it was there that he took up rowing seriously.
He rowed in the Boat Race twice, with the stern taskmaster of his father then as coach. He won his blue rowing at stroke and as President of the OUBC in 1958, with Oxford losing and then a second blue in 1959, when Oxford won, with David thereafter claiming that it was possible to stroke an eight from the six seat (this being the position he rowed in that year). He is still the only Edwards to have won the Boat Race, despite many attempts over the years!
As a result of handing in his final Chemistry thesis late – because its due date clashed with Henley – he was awarded an unclassified degree, which subsequently greatly nonplussed Army and HR executives. His thesis was entitled ‘The proton irradiation of Bismuth to produce Polonium 210’.
David competed regularly at Henley. He was in a number of Henley finals and on one occasion was furious when, rowing for Leander in the final of the Grand Challenge Cup against the Russian Army crew in 1961, he and his crew sought assurance from the Umpire that if the Russians went early, as was their wont, they would be called back to the start again. The Russians duly jumped the gun but, frustratingly, weren’t called back and kept their advantage to win.
After doing his National Service and wishing to stay away from a desk for as long as possible, David was commissioned into the British Army in 1959, joining the 10th Royal Hussars. In 1962, however, he took a brief sojourn from military life and was given leave to train with his brother and the Luke brothers from Cardiff following their selection to row in a coxless four for Wales in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. The four won a Silver medal, thus adding to the Empire Games Bronze medal that David and his brother had won in 1958.
In 1963, he was involved in the Aden emergency and found himself commanding a long-distance re-supply convoy in the desert. In 1966, he returned to England to gain his ‘wings’ and undergo training as a helicopter pilot, before then rejoining his regiment in Munster, Germany. Being promoted to temporary Captain in 1968, he took command of the Regiment’s Air Squadron. With the amalgamation of the 10th Hussars and the 11th Hussars in 1969 to form the Royal Hussars and the 10th’s conversion back to tanks, David was posted to Staff College. Subsequently, he was based with his Regiment in Sennelager, Germany in 1973.
The Regiment was posted on a tour to Northern Ireland in the second half of 1974 and David found himself and his squadron deployed to guard Long Kesh Prison, also known as the Maze, which was used to house paramilitary and IRA prisoners. Shortly after their arrival, long standing agitation and tensions within the prison exploded into violence and arson on the night of the 15th October, which became known as ‘the Maze ablaze’. The following day, the Regiment, heavily reinforced, took part in the largest operation yet seen at the prison to restore order. With his Commanding Officer engaged elsewhere the previous night, David, as second in command, was thereafter able to claim in later years that he had led ‘the last dismounted cavalry charge undertaken by the British Army’.
An unconventional and rather wild cavalry officer, his love of parties earned him the moniker ‘Pissy’. As one of his regimental colleagues recalled, “There was never a dull moment with David. His soldiers would follow him anywhere, as they admired officers who stretched the rules; in his case frequently to breaking point”.
In the latter part of his military career, David worked at the MOD. In 1985, he and his wife, Judy, purchased a medieval manor house, Font le Roi, which was severely dilapidated. Over the next twenty-five years, David, on his own, restored the house, one of Dorset’s most ancient buildings, and even re-roofed the large barn in his late sixties, again single handedly. Judy, showing patience and forbearance in the extreme, had to wait over five years for a stair carpet and regularly fed the family among piles of building equipment.
As he approached retirement from the MOD, he enrolled on a postal degree at Reading University to become a surveyor. He left the Army in 1988 and gained experience as a surveyor with an architectural practice in Dorset, in the process drawing up and planning the filtration system for an award-winning design for a new penguin pool at Edinburgh Zoo. With his daughter Camilla, he co-authored an academic paper on the evolution of the shouldered arch as an architectural form, which was published in the Journal of Architectural History and with his other daughter Melissa, he shared a passion for sailing his beloved Fireball dinghy and on one occasion raced with her in the Fireball World Championships.
David married Judith (‘Judy’) Perdita, nee Stokes, in 1966 and they had three children: Tarquin, Camilla and Melissa. He and Judy had spent the past 53 years living in bliss in the West Country.
There will be a Service of Thanksgiving at 2:30pm on Wednesday, the 25th September at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. If you are planning to attend, please will you email Tarquin Edwards on firstname.lastname@example.org as this will help with planning the service.
THE OPEN ROAD
My first encounter with classic cars was when my great-uncle Charles, a somewhat larger than life character who resembled and knew the actor Robert Morley, turned up at our home in Shrewsbury in his enormous black Rolls Royce when I was about six. What a magnificent machine it was - looking back, I think it must have been a Silver Wraith or Phantom 111.
At about the same time, I was introduced to Kenneth Graham’s masterpiece ’The Wind in the Willows’. I remember being very taken with Toad’s zest for life and his obsession first with a gypsy caravan, then with a motor car and ultimately with a plane.
Having just bought the gypsy caravan, Toad’s couldn’t contain himself on Rat and Mole visiting him at Toad Hall using their usual means of transport, a skiff;
‘O, pooh! Boating! Interrupted Toad, in great disgust. Silly boyish amusement. I’ve given that up long ago. Sheer waste of time, that’s what it is. It makes me downright sorry to see you fellows, who ought to know better, spending your energies in that aimless manner. No, I’ve discovered the real thing, the only genuine occupation for a life time. I propose to devote the remainder of mine to it, and can only regret the wasted years that lie behind me, squandered in trivialities. Come with me, dear Ratty, and your amiable friend also, if he will be so very good, just as far as the stable-yard, and you shall see what you shall see’.
On showing them the caravan, ‘ There you are!’ cried the Toad, straddling and expanding himself. ‘There’s real life for you, embodied in that little cart. The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows, the rolling downs! Camps, villages, town, cities! Here today, up and off to somewhere else to-morrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!’
Within no time he transferred his affections, even more strongly, to a fine motor car.
Since then I have always been taken with classic cars and owned them for the last twenty-five years.
Over the time I have been a member of LRC, I have noticed a few interesting cars outside the Club and it occurred to me that I should write a short article show-casing them. So, here are photos of them.
I guess there must be other members who own classic cars. If you happen to be one of them and would be happy that a photo of yours should appear in The London Roar, please will you send me a shot of it, at the same time confirming it's year of manufacture and the make and model.
It has also occurred to me that there must be members who own other things of interest - perhaps historic sailing or motor boats, kayaks, Canadian canoes, classic motorbikes or whatever. If you own anything along these lines and are happy that I should mention it in an article, please send me a photo and description.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
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 email@example.com
Please do not submit an article without first liaising with me.
Editor of The London Roar