This year, (1840) The Etonians sent us a challenge to row them from Westminster to Putney. Although the crew was not so good as it was the last time we were prevented from rowing them, yet we wished for the race. Knowing however, by past experience, that it was useless to attempt the race without Williamson’s consent, Richards, our stroke, went off to obtain it. Being however refused, and two of the crew leaving unexpectedly, we were obliged to send an answer to Eton to say that several reasons (which were mentioned) prevented us from rowing them at the time they mentioned, but offering to do so in our holidays. This however, they declined, and the match was therefore broken off.
The eight was then as follows:
Richards QS stroke
Osborn TB Steerer
In consequence of the Etonians having been defeated last year at Datchet Bridge they again challenged us to row them. The preliminaries having been all settled at the Eton Montem by the respective Heads of the Water, it was agreed by both parties that the Race should take place Tuesday July 31st (the Match day) the Etonians breaking up on the Monday preceding… It was also agreed that the intended Race should be kept a profound secret as Williamson was known to be hostile to Boat racing. Notwithstanding all our caution a paragraph appeared in the Bell’s Life Newspaper stating that “A match was to be rowing between Eton and Westminster from Westminster Bridge to Putney July 31st and by this or some other means our Purpose became known to Williamson. In the 1st School on Monday morning Williamson sent for the Captain and told him he understood that it was our intention to row the following day and as it was contrary to all Rules of the School he must insist on our giving a pledge not to row or that he must take his own measures to stop it. Upon the Captain’s refusal to give any such pledge he immediately commenced proceedings by stopping the early play for the next day (the Match day) and by ordering the Q.S. to be locked up at ¼ before 7. During 6th lesson on Tuesday he told us (the 6th) that we must attend a Mathematical lecture in School from 11 ½ to 1 and again from 5 till 7 after afternoon lockers. However, in the course of some conversation with him it was discovered that the pledge required was only “not to row on the match day” which pledge was accordingly given and therefore we conceived ourselves at liberty to row that evening. However during lockers Williamson sent for the head of the T.B. and the Captain and told them that any boy who rowed in a match with Eton would be severely punished. But the Eight being determined at all hazards to row at 5 o clock sallied forth. But unfortunately 3 of the crew having to go to Williamson to say some imposition he took this advantage to detain 2 of them there till far too late to think of rowing this added to the circumstance that the Fathers of 2 of the crew came down to Westminster during the afternoon and expressly forbid their sons to row in the match entirely broke up the Crew. But determined not to disappoint the Etonians we offered to make up the boat again and row them which they very generously refused saying that it would be no honour then for them to beat us. Betting was 6 to 4 on the Westminsters. The Crew was as follows –
Maule – Steerer
For further particulars vide Water Ledger
A sculling match took place between the following TB and QS from Westminster to Putney for which vide Water Ledger
Pollock H.B. -1
Cocks Q.S. -2
Green Q.S. -3
A sculling match took place between the 5 following T.B. and K.S. from Vauxhall to Putney they came in as follows
2. Pollock Senr
4. Merewether Senr
Vide the Water Ledger
The names at the fields and in Dean’s Yard at ½ past seven at the former place and ¼ past eight in the latter which Williamson had abolished last year were this year reinstituted on account of the dinner at Putney on the occasion of the intended race (mentioned (168) and given at length in the Water ledger) last year.
C.D. Osborn H Boarder
On Friday August 2nd a new eight oared boat was launched from Roberts, and after a bottle of wine had been broken over her bow she was christened the ‘Victoria’ amidst the enthusiastic cheers of all the Westminsters. In the evening eight fellows picked out of the whole school, rowed her up to Putney steered by an old Westminster of the name of White, where he generously gave a most splendid dinner to his crew, and a few other Westminsters who happened to be there. The evening was passed with the utmost conviviality and the health of the generous host was drank with enthusiastic cheers, he also gave a breakfast on the following morning to those who had shared his hospitality on the preceding evening. The names of those who rowed in the ‘Victoria’ were
Those marked with an asterisk were Kings Scholars.
E U Sealy