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Newcastle University Boat Club


  • March - The Club was founded as Armstrong College BC. Subscription was 5s. and the club's aim was to 'promote the art of rowing'. Aspiring oarsmen could buy the rules of the club from the secretary for 1s, everyone had to pass a swim test before they could row and training was Wednesday and Saturday afternoons on the river. The A.C.B.C. held the same status as any other Durham college and mostly competed in inter-collegiate races and regattas. The original boat house was at Scotswood next to Tyne ARC and was the property of the Northern Canoe Club who rented it to the club. The first club buys were a tub 4+, a tub pair, two cutters, two skiffs and a number of oars. Durham lent the club a 4+ and Tyne donated two sculls. From its inception the club was successful. One of their first races was against the Varsity 3rd crew who they beat and whose place they subsequently took at Durham Regatta. Further successes were to be had at the club?s first Durham Regatta when nine Armstrong oarsmen won eleven prizes including a win in Junior Sculls for F. C. Judges.
  • 1920s
  • Attendance suffered during World War I when the club fell to just six or seven rowers but things soon picked up after 1918 and in 1920/21 the club won Trial 4+s and the winning crew was selected by the DUBC President to represent the university against Edinburgh. This was the first time that an Armstrong crew had been asked to represent the university and the club did itself proud by beating Edinburgh as well. At this point the club held all three DUBC cups for 4+s and no Armstrong 4+ had been beaten by another college throughout the season.
  • The 1920's were a time of victory for the A.C.B.C. In 1925 both the first and second Varisty crews were stroked by Armstrong men and in 1926 the only intercollegiate cup that eluded them was the Senate Cup, a race for Senior Fours. The Lowe Pairs, Trial Fours, President's Sculls and Graduate Cup were all held by Armstrong crews despite the fact that races were postponed for two days due to the Queen's Funeral and boats were hampered by the slushy ice covering the river. Another national event which effected the club was the General Strike which disrupted training and combined with the pressure of exams led to Armstrong pulling out of Durham Regatta due to lack of rowers.
  • "The glory of rowing cannot sufficiently be extolled and no healthy women should go down from College without the experience". A sentiment surely shared by all oarswomen and one which in 1924 led to the creation of the A.C.W.B.C. or Armstrong College Women's Boat Club. At a meeting held on the formation of a women's club Mr. Lipscomb, the Men's Captain, took the chair giving "an eloquent address on the disadvantages of rowing for women". Despite this the club took form with their own captain and committee, however there were certain conditions. The women were only allowed to use the "men's property" on Tuesday and Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings and practices were to be held "under the able tuition of members of the men's boat club". Although initially plagued by low attendance the women?s boat club was to have its own successes in the future.
  • During the 1927-28 season the club won the Picard-Cambridge Trophy for the first time in what was to be a five year winning streak. The race was for Junior, fixed seat, strake-boat fours and the first winning crew were described as "real live fire-breathing baby-eaters". No wonder they were victorious.
  • 1929
  • In 1929 the club moved into their new boathouse at Stella which was described as the finest and best equipped on the Tyne.
  • 1930s
  • In 1933 the boathouse were fitted with hot showers. The boathouse was paid for by subscription to Armstrong College and was the property of the Athletic Union and the undergraduates of the college and was passed on to King's College Athletic Union. By 1931 the A.C.B.C finally held all the Varsity Trophies after having waited to win the Senate Cup for nine years, an achievement described as a "truly commendable feat". The following year the club still held five of the Varsity trophies, despite the Graduate Cup B crew capsizing at the start, and despite a dip in success in the intervening years the club held the same record again in 1934-35.
  • The early thirties also brought successes for the A.C.W.B.C. when in 1932 they won two clinker races against Durham and Bristol and one cutter race against Bristol. However, the late 1940's and early 1950's really saw the women's side of the boat club take off, now as K.C.W.B.C. (King's College Women's Boat Club). In 1948 the KCWBC "swept the river" at Durham when both the novice and B crew beat Durham. The B crew "did not display the raggedness of some former women's crews when tired" and "it was heard on the bank that they gave the best exhibition of women's rowing ever seen on the Wear".
  • The Tideway Head of the River was first held in 1926 but the first mention of a Durham VIII that included KCBC oarsmen was in 1949. At that point there were three catergories: First, Sandwich and Clinker. First was the fastest twenty-five boats from the previous year, Sandwich was the remainder of shell VIIIs and any new entrants and clinker was the remainder of clinker VIIIs plus any new entrants. The Durham University crew started 90th finishing 41st in a time of 20 minutes and 57 seconds, the winners being London RC.
  • 1950s
  • In 1951 a KCWBC VIII was entered for the first time into the University Women's Rowing Association Eights Regatta in Oxford. It was also the first time that they had rowed on swivel pins. The crew made it through to the second round where they drew with Oxford, forcing a half course re-row which they regrettably lost. However, the same year saw the club win the Durham Intercollegiate Ladies Challenge Cup.
  • The women's club was often hampered by prospective novice?s view of female rowers. The boat club countered this by stating that "women"s rowing is not full of brawny Amazonian types who develop terrific shoulder muscles "but includes varied physical types from a wide variety of departments". Thank God for that!
  • In 1951 the land on which the boat house stood at Stella was requisitioned by the British Electrical Authority for the Stella South Power Station. The club had to move in with Tyne where they were able to store only four boats whilst a new boat house was designed by Mr. Fielden and Mr Wharfe of the University's School of Architecture and subsequently built. It finally opened in 1953 and was this time described as the "finest boat house in the North of England". In 1963 the campaign to attract freshers was boosted by the fact that there were baths at the boat house and in 1968 the renovations continued with the conversion of the hot water boiler from coke to oil-fired, a fact keenly mentioned in the King's Courier.
  • 1957 saw the introduction of circuit training and 1959 brought with it the first training launch. Previously coaches had stood at three points along the river between Newburn and Scotswood from where they could see crews row past.
  • 1960s
  • In the summer of 1961 a selected men's VIII went to Norway to the Norske Studenters Roklub where they entered international and local races. The boat house stood on an island in between two 2k regatta courses and was only accessible via boat and was an entirely men only island.
  • In 1963 three King's oarsmen rowed in the Varsity crew that won the Tideway UAU trophy, coming sixteenth overall and in 1969 the club had three crews in the top 170 despite the first VIII having fallen to 130th the previous year. A year on and the top VIII had swept their way back up to 42nd out of 337 crews whilst the second and third VIIIs came 109th and 177th, clocking up times of 19.41, 20.18 and 20.47 respectively, the first VIII coming 3rd in the UAU Ortner Shield behind Durham and Southampton. Also entered in this year was a "Gentlemen?s VIII", who having not trained since last years HORR fell from 205th to 279th in a time of "3 days, 5 hours, 7 minutes and 6.33 secs" but were undoubtedly going to look "the most immaculate crew when the Tideway photographs appear".
  • The top IV of 1969 due to a mix up in entries for Henley were entered into the British Universities Sporting Federation at Pangbourne where they had to borrow a boat, "the only compliment which might be paid to this driftwood was that it floated after a fashion" despite this and a "hair-raising trip on the London Underground with the oars" the crew went on to win beating Cambridge, Bradford and London in the final.
  • 1973
  • Mark Hayter selected for GB men's heavyweight squad.
  • 1995
  • Newcastle University BC wins College 4+ at Henley Women's Regatta.
  • 1996
  • Newcastle University BC Ed Coode selected to represent GB in HM4+ at U23s, silver. Rob Latham selected to represent GB in HM8+ at U23s, 6th
  • 1997
  • Newcastle University BC Ed Coode selected to represent GB in HM 2- at U23s, fifth, then World Championships in HM4+ that won a bronze medal.
  • 2000
  • Newcastle University BC Ros Carslake selected to represent GB in HW2- at U23s, gold
  • 2001
  • Newcastle University BC Ros Carslake selected to represent GB in HW4- at U23s, fifth
  • 2004
  • No longer a NUBC rower, but a Newcastle University Alumni Ed Coode wins gold at Athens Olympics in HM4-
  • Newcastle University BC Henry Pelly selected to represent GB in HM4x at U23s
  • 2005
  • Newcastle University BC Stephen Feeney selected to represent GB in LM4x at U23s wins silver, George Laughton selected to represent GB in HM8+ at U23s
  • 2006
  • Newcastle University BC Men's eight wins S2 Pennant and The Halladay Trophy at Head of the River Race with Simon Barnwell, Jason Taggart, Oliver Warlow, Richard Francis, Joe Leiserach, Henry Pelly, Stephen Feeney, George Laughton, and Debbie Boyd Cox.
  • Newcastle University BC Stephen Feeney selected to represent GB in LM 4- at U23s, sixth; George Laughton selected to represent GB in HM4x at U23s.
  • Newcastle University BC win George Laughton and Henry Pelly selected to represent GB in HM2x at World University Championships winning gold
  • Newcastle University BC Richard Francis wins silver at Commonwealth Regatta for Northern Ireland in HM2x
  • Newcastle University BC George Laughton, Stephen Feeney, Richard Francis, Henry Pelly win gold at European University Championships in HM4x.
  • 2007
  • Newcastle University BC George Laughton selected to represent GB in HM4+ at U23s winning bronze
  • Newcastle University BC Alice Leake and Lisa Thomasson win gold at GB National Championships in U23W2x.
  • Newcastle University BC at European University Championships win silver in HW2x with Alice Leake, Katie Hutton, bronze in HM8+ with George Laughton, Charles D'Oncieu, Fred Gill, Richard Francis, Henry Pelly, Simon Foster, Andrew Corrigan, Joe Leiserach and Steve Nile Cox

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