No 314

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

Preston
Williams
Bedford
West
Goodenough
Milman
Shiffner
Rich (Stroke)

Burton

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.

No 263

March 1 – 1842

A quarrel between the TB & QSS which lasted some time began this day in consequence of Beasley a Bishops’ Boy in the Sixth having licked a Second Election.*

The facts are as follows –

The Captain* having head that this fellow in the 2d Election has been licked, sent to Beasley saying that he wished to speak to him. He went accordingly alone and unarmed, not the least suspecting what the QSS were about to do. When he arrived at College doors the Captain met him & hit him several times with a stick. Most of the QSS were there ready as they said afterwards to set on Beasley if the Captain had not been sufficient of himself with his stick to lick his unarmed enemy whose only offence was wearing a purple gown instead of a black one. But Beasley seeing about 30 to 1* thought it better to refer to Williamson at once & after a great deal of palaver & bother it ended in the Captain sending an apology to the Head of the T.B. Peace was now nominally restored, but the QSS refused to have Beasley in the boat which was to race with Eton which again occasioned a deal of quarrelling & letters were sent to Eton to say that the boat which was preparing to race them was not the Westminster proper boat unless Beasley rowed in it.
Several letters appeared in Bell’s Life upon the subject but as Beasley was taken ill about a week before the reach took place it at once put an end to any doubt concerning his rowing in the boat.

W.G. Andrewes Prin. Opp.

* W.K.R. Bedford, but who stepped in [&] impeded him whilst running after some other Boy.
G. Preston

It was not however Bedford’s fault at all that this disgraceful occurrence came to such a height, but of some other Under Election.

* He had offered to fight anyone of them on the spot, singly, but as in all probability they did consider themselves a match whilst alone, they preferred the unfair and disgraceful way related here.

No 256

This year Eton did not send us any challenge to row them. Probably they did not challenge us because there was a great deal of scarlet fever in the school, which must have greatly hindered their rowing. Roberts had just built us a beautiful new boat, suited to our strength. And people who had seen the Etonian crew, allowed that we should have had a very good chance with them.
The eight was then as follows:
Smith QS
Simpson QS
Randolph QS
Beasley TB
Goolden QS
Haggard QS
Deacon TB
Prout Stroke QS
Hallet steerer TB

N.G. Smart
Prin. Opp.

No 241

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:

Glyn QS
Prout QS
Byron TB
Curteis TB
Hodgson TB
Beasley TB
Greenlaw QS
Richards QS stroke


Osborn TB Steerer


M.F. Osborn
Prin Opp

No 187*

June 1836

A race for a trifling sweepstake was got up among the T.B. it was run over Battersea fields the distance was about a mile with 7 leaps in it, the following fellows started

Astley
Forester
Merewether
Maule
Wingfield
Dudman
Whittaker
Bentinck

Astley won. Whittaker being second and Merewether third.

A race was also got up this month between the following boats two pair of sculls in each boat.

Howard Vialls
Somerton Vincent
Astley Tritton Junr
Merewether Forester

This race in consequence of a dispute did not come off.

Added by Somerton

No 158

On Thursday June 12th 1834 a match was sailed between 4 half deckers of Roberts’s manned by Town Boys, the boats were,

The Commodore, Milman and Lowther
The Admiral, Bewicke and Somerton
The Captain Hurst and Osborne
The Colonel Preston and Astley

The match was won by the Commodore, the Colonel and the Captain coming in second and third, the Admiral being forced to desist from the race in consequence of springing a leak.

R.P. Warren P.O.

No 130

On Tuesday evening, May 15: 1832, a rowing match took place between the four houses, Singleton’s having challenged all the others: the distance was from Battersea Bridge to Westminster, it was won after a closely contested race by Stelfox’s, their boat being about two boats’ lengths ahead of Singletons: Stikeman’s came in last.

The names of the rowers were as follows;

Stelfox’s

Pearson
Bromley
Peel
W. Barnett
E. Barnett

Singleton’s

Templer
Warren
Harrison
Bewicke
Astley

Grant’s

Hurst
Stapylton
Clerk
Hobhouse
Osborn

Stikeman’s

Powell
Preston *
Vance
Dodson
Cocks

*One of Stikeman’s fellows being out of school, Preston, who was at Hodgsons, was chosen in his place.

J.R. Cornish
Head Boarder