The Westminster and Eton Race is again a reality. It was rowed this evening Aug 3rd from Putney Bridge to the end of Chiswick Eyot and although Westminster did all that Westminster could do one was obliged to succumb to the superior weight of the […]. The Etonians had a splendid crew much older and heavier than Westminster (this averaged 8 1/8lbs heavier). They rowed in splendid style. We were beat by 50 seconds. Westminster taking the lead about a quarter of a length at first when Eton went ahead and Westminster rowed a hard and plucky stern race the rest of the way. We had not been in out racing boats long enough, while Eton had always been accustomed to row in the boat they raced in. It would be better if the first eight for the future always rowed in an outrigger as the race is to be continued. We must hope for better luck next time, therefore we pride ourselves on the fact that the Westminster stroke was acknowledged the best oar in the […] by both Westminsters and Etonians and rowed most pluckily all through the race. The Etonians would not dine after the race as the Head Masters of Eton and Westminster wished to limit the number of guests invited to the dinner, which the Eton crew “voted out”. So we had dinner by ourselves at Putney.
J. C. Hawkshaw
At last we have got the Eton race. I went to Scott today and he said he would let us row under certain conditions which he afterwards told me this that he and Goodford (Head Master of Eton) should each choose an umpire and that the Umpires should choose to referee. Also that there should be certain restrictions as to the length of course, moreover that their eight should undergo a medical examination. I went to Eton informing them of what had taken place. And we now wait until the umpires are chosen when I hope all will be satisfactorily decided.
J. C. Hawkshaw
At the beginning of this half (after hours) I received a note from Eton asking us to row them. Chapman and I went to Scott for permission and were refused on the grounds that Williamson and Liddell both has said that it disorganised the school. We waited some time and today (Fri 29th) Salwey and I went again and after arguing the matter for nearly an hour met most of his arguments and he is now considering the matter. There is every hope we shall get the race soon.
J. C. Hawkshaw
The Eaton Race has been asked for again this year, but Scott is as determined against it as he was last year.
A.F. Pope Pr. Opp.
This year we made one more attempt to schedule the race with Eton without success. We sent a letter challenging them to row us in the beginning of May, which they very courteously refused, as they could not get their eight together in so short a time the match (& all hopes of it) were given up.
The consequence of a severe illness of Williams, Captain, resulting from over exertion in training, the annual race with Eton was forbidden. It is very much to be regretted, as the strength of Westminster consisted in the water.
The Etonians being anxious to regain their lost laurels of last year sent us a friendly chalenge to row them again this year which we readily accepted, and having obtained Williamson’s leave which he kindly gave us very readily we commenced training under our old friend Noulton and after several attempts ineffectual to fix the day it was at length fixed for the _
We rowed in the same boat as last year & over the same course which the Etonians at first objected to, but as we yielded the day they did the course. We again won the toss and took the Putney side as we raced from that place to Barkers rails. The Echo was engaged to accompany us with our friends but came very short of that as they only saw us to Hammersmith Bridge our crew consisted this year of
Rich (stroke) QS
Barton (cox) QS
We started very evenly they had the start however if any difference was between us we however drew ahead & at Hammersmith Bridge were clean ahead & rather gained till we eventually won by several boats lengths. This victory was the more pleasing for us as it made the matches between us even, both having won four there were at that time more than 700 in Eton and about 80 in Westminster making the victory state doubly great. For further particulars see Water Ledger
Tuesday July 29th 1845 was marked by an event which I feel sure will be remembered, after what passed last year, with sincere pleasure by every Westminster as long as the School shall exist. I mean the Boat Race between Eton & Westminster which took place on that day & terminated in favour of the latter by 65 seconds. The following account may perhaps be admissible here.
At 111/2 A.M the “Echo” Steamer left Chandler’s Pier filled with the friends of either Crew & reached its destination Barker’s Rails nr Kew Bridge at 11/2 P.M or rather more, from which place we were to start & after a little waiting the Etonian Crew also arrived: Burton Sr then tossed up with Luttrell Sr (the captain of the Eton Boats) for choice of stations which Westr. won & took the Surrey side of the River. Mr. Selwyn an old Etonian kindly officiated as umpire: & on the word “off” being given we started in such an uneven manner that the Etonians led by more than a length before we were steady. But in ¼ of a mile we were oar & oar; in ½ a mile clean ahead; & continuing, at most without an effort, to draw ahead lost sight of them round the turn before Hammersmith Bridge. We then rowed easily down the Hammersmith Reach continually gaining ground; spurted into Putney passing the Leander & or own Watermen’s Eights; & went under the Bridge amidst the warmest cheering ahead by more than a length of any Boat that rowed the distance.
The course was nearly 5 miles; the time 27 ¼ (which we could have lessened) & we were victorious by 65 seconds or something like 40 or 50 Boat’s lengths. Our crews were
For further particulars see Water Ledger. I may as well here remark that W.G. Green who was our Head of the Water as I had not time to attend to it was very unfavourably and it is generally thought unfairly rejected from the Racing Crew & his place supplied by Williams who if he was stronger was certainly deficient in style. Our training was strict & our condition extremely good this year, we had continued to improve ourselves for six weeks & before we actually received a Challenge.
Dr Williamson who behaved extremely well throughout, & was extremely generous towards us as far as he was concerned followed the Race this year together with many other Old Westminsters on Horseback, by the Towing Path & returned I am happy to say extraordinarily satisfied with the result of our efforts.
Thus ended the most complete victory of the Championship of the Universe as far as regards rowing in Schools that was ever obtained by our crew over another. And I think I may, from personal experience, add, one of the least distressing spurts we ever had during the whole course of training. The betting before we started was 5 to 1 having risen from even wagers.
Joseph Preston Prin. Opp.
On August 5th 1844 as a prince was born Williamson generously resolved not to add a week to the Bartholmewtide Holidays; as he knew always had been customary – alleging that there was no reason for such an extension. Surely Eton must laugh at us & yet it no fault of ours (I mean the Westminsters individually) that we fare so badly.
We had hitherto had a week’s holidays extra for the Princesses; therefore there was still more reason for one now a prince was born.
I have enclosed an account of all the proceedings between Eton & Westminster on paper, for amusement & information to my successors. And I hope if anything worth recording or that might be of any use to Sixth TB or QS as a point of reference or authority will be inserted by the Head Town Boy boarder in this ledger; as it may amuse, perhaps profit others; but certainly can do no harm beyond filling the pages of the ledger; which can be at any time replaced by 10 or 20 shillings. I have taken this liberty & wish others also to avail themselves of it; acting upon the reason, I have given above. I have had several opportunities of sincerely regretting that these annuals of Westminster’s proceeding had not been more fully & copiously kept.
J. Preston Aug 4 /44