History Of Durham Rowing Club

The history of rowing as a sport has one of the oldest traditions in the world. It began as a method of transport and warfare eventually becoming a sport with a wide following, and a part of the cultural identity of the English speaking world upon which rowing clubs are found for people interested in the Rowing sports; usually near a body of water, whether natural or artificial, that is large enough for maneuvering the shells (rowing boats); consisting of a boathouse and competition known as regattas.

Durham Amateur Rowing Club History

In 1860, December 5th, a meeting was held at Ward’s Waterloo Hotel on by a few gentlemen interested in aquatic sports to ascertain the practicability of forming an amateur rowing club in their city with Mr. Brignall Junior as Secretary pro tem the next meeting.

On the 19th of December, a committee was constituted comprising of the following gentlemen Mr. J. Booth (Chairman), J. Hutchinson (Treasurer), W. Brignall Junior (Secretary), P. Forster, C. Rowlandson, W. Storey, J. Tiplady, W. Welsh.

In 1860 the founders of the club urged “our fellow citizens who are verging on, or have passed the meridian of life, to not forget they can do good service. As honorary members” and “active operations commenced for raising the ways and means for purchasing boats and other equipment.”

The club won her first cup in 1863; winning the Grand Challenge Cup at Durham Regatta with the following as members of the Crew : Bow-W.Brignall , W.H.Hedley, C.Rowlandson, stroke – P.Forster, cox- E.Dykes.

The first ‘new boathouse’ was completed in 1897 at a cost of £296 on a site close to the weir, near PrebendsBridge and the second ‘new boathouse’ was built in 1969/1970 on the current site, much of it by a hard-core of volunteers. 

From 1914 until April 1919 the club was closed for the duration of World War One and reopened March 24th, 1919 (thus the practice of locking the club for the winter and opening at the end of March continued).

In 1923,the President, J.G.Burrell presented a challenge cup to be rowed for each year at the club’s scratch fours races. The Club produced the best crew for many years which won all the major events at the northern regattas. This crew comprised: R.R.Powney, J.W.Walton, J.Hopper, stroke R.Powney, cox W.E.Coldicott.The President, J.G.Burrell and Secretary, H.M.Coyne organised a subscription list of past and present members and local businessmen and raised the cost of a new fine four for them. Built by Browns it was named “1928”.

In 1972, the first National Championships was held on the new 2000 metre course at Holme Pierrepoint , Nottingham. Durham ARC entrants were very successful – Diane Preston silver in double sculls and bronze in single sculls , G.Potts and T.Bishop silver in double sculls, Joe James , Sean Wanless and Peter James silver in junior coxed pairs, J.R.Appleby and R.H.F.Metcalfe 5th in coxless pairs.

The ‘new’ clubhouse which happens to be the Third was officially opened by Roberta Blackman-Woods MP on 14th September 2007 after many years of grant-seeking, fundraising, design and re-design, and numerous planning applications – all persistently led by our long-term secretary Barry Hudson.

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