Jesus College Boat Club (Cambridge)

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Jesus College Boat Club
Image showing the rowing club's emblem
Cambridge boathouses - Jesus.jpg
Image showing the rowing club's blade colours
Location Cambridge, United Kingdom
Coordinates 52°12′39.54″N 0°7′52.87″E / 52.2109833°N 0.1313528°E / 52.2109833; 0.1313528 (Jesus College Boat Club)Coordinates: 52°12′39.54″N 0°7′52.87″E / 52.2109833°N 0.1313528°E / 52.2109833; 0.1313528 (Jesus College Boat Club)
Home water River Cam
Founded 1827 (1827)
President Tim Nugent
Membership 100 (approx)
University University of Cambridge
Affiliations British Rowing
  • Fairbairn Cup
  • Henley Royal Regatta Spare Pairs
Notable members

Jesus College Boat Club (often abbreviated to JCBC) is the rowing club for members of Jesus College, Cambridge. Over the years, it has been consistently successful, with the 1st Men's VIII never having dropped below 12th place in the May Bumps and 11th position in the Lent Bumps.

Jesus men have been head of the Lent Bumps on 39 occasions (finishing Head on 159 days) and head of the May Bumps on 24 occasions (finishing Head on 98 days) - more than any other boat club, although Jesus men have not been head in either event since 1974. Jesus also held the headship of the early races (before the Lent and May bumps became separate events) for 11 consecutive years between 1875 and 1886 - a feat which has never been equalled.[1]


The club appeared in the first six-oared bumps race in 1827 but performed indifferently. During the early years it rose on occasion to be second and achieved Head of the River in 1841, but remained a minor force until the late 1860s. By 1875 it held Headship again and continued to for eleven years (until 1886) - a record not since equalled. In this time they refurbished the boathouse including the addition of a weathervane and, some years later, a clock tower. Both of which were transferred to the current boathouse. After this period the club's success declined with Trinity Hall Boat Club and Trinity having an almost monopoly of the Headship, until Jesus recovered it in 1909 and 1912-14.[1]

During the inter-war years the club was coached by Steve Fairbairn and held Headship on twelve occasions in the Lents and occupied a top three position for the entire period.[1]

In the women's bumps, Jesus fielded crews in the 1980s, and took the headship of the Lent Bumps in 1985, 1986, 1987, and more recently in 2016, and headship of the May Bumps in 1988, 1993, 1994, 2005 and 2007.[1]

Performances at Henley Royal Regatta[edit]

JCBC are also one of the historically successful Cambridge colleges at the Henley Royal Regatta, winning the Grand Challenge Cup, the most prestigious event at the regatta, on 3 occasions; 1879, 1885 and in 1947. Jesus also won the Ladies' Challenge Plate on 13 occasions between 1872 and 1958, the Visitors' Challenge Cup on 5 occasions between 1877 and 1936, the Wyfold Challenge Cup on 2 occasions (1882 and 1921), the Stewards' Challenge Cup in 1879 and the Thames Challenge Cup in 1892.[2] Silver Goblets has been won by Humphrey Playford and John Campbell in 1921 and Thomas Cree and David Burnford in 1935. Jesus therefore have a grand total of 25 Henley wins, although the club has not managed an event win since 1958.


JCBC runs two events of note. The first is the Fairbairn Cup Races, named after the famous Jesus Oarsman and Coach who began the event in the 1920s, Steve Fairbairn. In 1929 Fairbairn donated a cup and the races have continued ever since in their current form, a long distance headrace. The course has changed over years due to closures for bridge repairs and extreme weather conditions, but in 1990 the start line was made to be Jesus Boathouse Flagpole with the finish at the Little Bridge, some 4.3 km downstream. The Fairbairn Cup title is awarded to the fastest finishing college men's VIII (although the cup itself is not presented). There are also divisions for IVs (3.4 km) and novice VIIIs (2.7 km).

JCBC has also run the Henley Spare Pairs Race on the day before Henley Royal Regatta. This event runs from the barrier to the regatta finish and is open to spare pairs of registered regatta entries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d John Durack; George Gilbert; John Marks (2000). The Bumps: An Account of the Cambridge University Bumping Races (1827-1999). George Gilbert. p. 160. ISBN 0953847500. 
  2. ^ The JCBC & Thames Challenge Cup (1892) at

External links[edit]