Bristol Ariel Rowing Club

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Bristol Ariel Rowing Club
Bristol Ariel Rowing Club - - 182012.jpg
Image showing the rowing club's blade colours
Location St Annes, Bristol
Home water River Avon
Founded 1870 (1870)
Affiliations British Rowing
Bristol Ariel Head
Notable members
Nicholas Birkmyre

Bristol Ariel Rowing Club, founded in 1870, is the oldest rowing club in Bristol. It is located at St Annes, Bristol and has access to 5 km of the River Avon.


The club was originally based on a barge near Bristol Bridge, in the city centre. In 1884 the clubhouse was replaced with "The Barge", which was a French frigate captured in the Napoleonic wars. The Barge housed all the club’s boats and documents and a cockroach infested changing room for the rowers. In around 1892, the Barge sprang a leak and sank just as she was due to be repaired, and much was lost. However she was raised, drained and used as clubhouse for another 8 years. In 1900, the club moved to St.Anne’s where the present clubhouse was built.

In the Second World War, the club was hit in a bombing raid on the pumphouse and the railway line behind it. With few active members left, the building fell into disrepair and boats were abandoned until after the war.[1]

Bristol Ariel Rowing Club has fostered many rowers at all levels over the years. The one who went the furthest in his rowing career was Nicholas Birkmyre, who won Double Sculls Challenge Cup four times at Henley and came fourth rowing at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.