HISTORY OF NOTTINGHAM BOAT CLUB
Nottingham Boat Club was formed in 1894 by a group of rebels from [the original] Nottingham Rowing Club who insisted on rowing on Sundays. This was against club rules. They refused to apologise to the committee and set up their own club, an event that was depicted by local artist and club member Arthur Spooner. A copy of this painting hangs in the club house – see the Spooner picture article for more details.
The early success of club crews was marked in 1897 when Queen Victoria visited Nottingham and a tray decorated with Boat Club trophies was taken through the streets. In the same year the boathouse was completed on its present site. Boat trips, either up to Clifton or down to Newark were a feature of these early days.
In 1913 the boathouse and boats were partially destroyed by a fire started by suffragettes. Club members attended their next meeting and subjected them to embarassment and indignities.
Many Boat Club members were killed in the Great War and their names are commemorated on a plaque on Trent Bridge. Representatives of the club still attend a short memorial service there on Remembrance Sunday.
In 1930 the club encouraged High Pavement School to begin rowing.
In 1946 Nottingham University Boat Club was set up at the club and moved to its present site in 1951.
The 1950s were a difficult time for the club, but a young membership began to turn the tide. ‘Jazz at the Society Bank’ began on 20th October 1962. Money surged into the club, membership increased, the whole fleet was replaced, and in 1970 the boathouse extension was completed, which housed the eights and new changing and shower facilities. During the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s most of the popular blues, rock and heavy metal bands played at ‘the Bank’.
By the 1980s the Boat Club was one of the strongest clubs in the country and was producing a steady stream of World Champion and Henley medallists. At Henley Royal Regatta the club won the Diamond Sculls in 1979, the Wyfold Fours in 1980 and 1982, and the Ladies Coxed Fours in 1992.
1994 saw the club’s Centenary celebrations take place. An eight and a four were purchased and the club had a very successful season on the water.
The club continued to grow its membership and fleet and improve its facilities through the late 1990s and into the 2000s. It also invested in the future of the club by subsidising members on coaching courses to build a large group of coaches, running the sculling school, bringing novices on and raising standards at all levels. The club was given recognition of the standards it had met when it was awarded Clubmark accreditation from Sport England.
The club was the biggest club in Nottingham but with restricted space. For the club to continue to grow it asked the other local clubs if they would consider a merger. The rest is history.