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Brasenose College historian needs help

Can you help William O’Chee?  He is in need of experts in Clare College Cambridge rowing club history … read more

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Can you help William O’Chee?  He is in need of experts in Clare College Cambridge rowing club history and also Brasenose College Oxford rowing club.

Clare Boat Club Blazers Blazers. Credit: Clare Boat Club

As I explained, I am in the middle of writing a history of the Brasenose College Boat Club.  While the BNC BC is first attested as winning the 1815 Head of the River against Jesus College, my research has indicated that recreational rowing in Oxford began in the 1760s, and was flourishing there in the 1790s, well before it was practised at Westminster or Eton.

Following on from your kind offer to seek information from Cambridge Colleges to support my rowing history, I have been thinking carefully to frame some suitable requests.  With 200 years of rowing history to trace, naturally, there is much to consider!

So as to be as clinical as possible, I think there are three topics on which I would be grateful for assistance at this stage.  These are:

  1. I am seeking any information that may be held by Clare College relating to their adoption in 1862 of a black blazer piped in yellow, and their request for Brasenose College’s approval to use these colours.  They may hold a letter from the BNC BC relating to this, or information on a subsequent coaching visit by the BNC BC secretary that year.
  2. I am interested in any information that Cambridge colleges may have which would indicate the origins of boat burning by head crews.  From what I can ascertain, this began some time in the 1870s in Cambridge, since boat burning (as opposed to bonfires) is not attested in Oxford until the 1900s.
  3. Finally, I am keen on any information likely to be found at CUBC or Trinity College relating to the 1888 Leander Eight that featured Stanley Muttlebury and seven of his OE chums from Oxford.  In particular, I am very keen on any discussion about training, technique, or the use of long slides.

If you could please be so kind as to put this request out to your networks, it would mean a lot.  Contact Bill at

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

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