Saturday, 10 July 2010
Henley it ain't.
No sport has a more snobbish history than rowing and until the 1950's the toff Amateur Rowing Association kept itself a very long distance from the working class National Rowing Association. The two organisations held their own events and had their own champions etc. As you would expect the events run by the two bodies were very different. The toffs had Henley and the workers had - well from what I can make of it they had a right good time. A mate has just been telling me that he has an original programme from one such working class regatta circa 1922. The events included disabled rowing (remember this was not long after the First World War), boxing on a raft, and of all things, POLITICAL DEBATE ON A RAFT. All accompanied no doubt by gallons of ale. No wonder the toffs went to such lengths to keep the oiks out of the posh regattas.