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Matt (Mat) Taylor (???? - ????)

Matt Taylor with his keel-less four, Victoria, 1855 Matt Taylor with his keel-less four, Victoria



Chronology

1854
  • Matt Taylor was employed as a Ship's carpenter and was working on the Himalaya when the leading spirit of Royal Chester, a gentleman of private means called Littledale took Taylor into his confidence and employ, and he was appointed Professional Coach to Royal Chester. His wages were 45/- (shillings) a week, but one could then get a loaf and cheese and a glass of ale for 2 1/2p. As a result of his advice, the Club invested in an outrigged keel-less boat which they took to Henley and won both the Stewards and the Wyfolds with some ease. The crew also optimistically entered the Visitors but were not allowed to start. Taylor built the first keel-less eight at this time; the boat being 12 feet shorter than any other eight and very difficult to 'sit'. The Club were mocked as they tried to clear their blades but once racing, the boat was in a class of its own, winning the Grand and the Ladies at HRR.
  • 1857
  • Matt Taylor by now had a such a reputation that S.P. Lonsdale, the Oxford University BC President, in spite of much opposition, and at his own expense ordered an eight from Taylor that was used over the Putney-Mortlake course, and Matt was himself engaged during practice to stroke the boat in order to enforce the art of catching hold of the beginning of the stroke. In the Boat Race, Oxford rowed away from Canbridge in this boat.
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