Newcastle University Boat Club

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Newcastle University Boat Club
Image showing the rowing club's blade colours
Location Newburn
Home water River Tyne
Founded 1911 (1911)
Affiliations British Rowing, BUCS
Northumbrian University Boat Race
Notable members
Ed Coode, Alastair Heathcote, Henry Pelly, Fred Gill
Newcastle University Boat Club
Medal record
Olympic Games
Representing  Great Britain
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens M4- Ed Coode
Silver medal – second place 2008 Beijing M8+ Alastair Heathcote
World Championships
Representing  Great Britain
Gold medal – first place 2001 Lucerne M4- Ed Coode
Gold medal – first place 1999 St Catherines M4- Ed Coode
Silver medal – second place 2010 Karapiro LTAMix4+ Kate Jones
Bronze medal – third place 2007 Munich M8+ Alastair Heathcote
Bronze medal – third place 2003 Milan M8+ Ed Coode
Bronze medal – third place 1997 Aiguebelette M4+ Ed Coode
World U23 Championships
Representing  Great Britain
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rotterdam LM4x Ollie Varley
Gold medal – first place 2000 Copenhagen W2- Ros Carslake
Silver medal – second place 2016 Rotterdam W8+ Sasha Adwani
Silver medal – second place 2016 Rotterdam W8+ Emily Ford
Silver medal – second place 2016 Rotterdam M4- James Rudkin
Silver medal – second place 2014 Varese W8+ Nicole Lamb
Silver medal – second place 2013 Linz W8+ Nicole Lamb
Silver medal – second place 2005 Amsterdam LM4x Stephen Feeney
Silver medal – second place 1996 Hazewinkel M4+ Ed Coode
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Plodviv W8+ Nicole Lamb
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Plodviv W4- Emily Ford
Bronze medal – third place 2013 Linz LW4x Gemma Hall
Bronze medal – third place 2012 Trakai M4- George Rossiter
Bronze medal – third place 2011 Amsterdam M8+ George Rossiter
Bronze medal – third place 2007 Stratchlyde M4+ George Laughton
European U23 Championships
Representing  Great Britain
Silver medal – second place 2017 Kruszwica M8+ Will Stewart, Alex Haynes
World University Championships
Representing  Great Britain
Gold medal – first place 2016 Poznan M8+ Tim Clarke
Gold medal – first place 2016 Poznan M4- Oli Knight, Tom Ford
Gold medal – first place 2014 Gravelines M8+ Sam Arnot, Tim Clarke, Tom Ford, George Rossiter
Gold medal – first place 2010 Szeged M8+ Henry Pelly, Fred Gill, Stephen Feeney
Gold medal – first place 2006 Trakai M2x Henry Pelly, George Laughton
Silver medal – second place 2014 Gravelines LW2x Gemma Hall
Silver medal – second place 2012 Kazan M8+ Ed Ford, Tim Clarke
Bronze medal – third place 2014 Gravelines LM4- Nick Buckle
Bronze medal – third place 2008 Belgrade M4+ George Laughton
Bronze medal – third place 2008 Belgrade M2- Mason Durant, Fred Gill
Australian Youth Olympics
Representing  Great Britain
Gold medal – first place 2013 Sydney W4- Nicole Lamb
Silver medal – second place 2013 Sydney W2- Nicole Lamb
Bronze medal – third place 2013 Sydney W8+ Nicole Lamb
Commonwealth Rowing Championships
Representing  Northern Ireland
Silver medal – second place 2006 Stratchlyde M2x Richard Francis

Newcastle University Boat Club (NUBC) is the rowing club of Newcastle University, UK. Established in March 1911 as the boat club for Armstrong College, it celebrated its centenary in 2011, when was also appointed High Performance Programme for heavyweight men and women by British Rowing. In the past 20 years current students and alumni won 60 international vests for GB.

Training facilities[edit]

The club's private training facility in Newburn. The facilities have since been refurbished and an additional boathouse has been built.

The club trains on the River Tyne from a purpose-built boathouse on the south bank of the river in the village of Newburn, five miles upriver from the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. Built in the 1950s, the boathouse is home to the clubs boats, private single sculls and coaching launches; was redeveloped with work finished in 2011. Rowers have access to 35 km (22 mi) of tidal water, extending from the picturesque parkland around Wylam, through the former industrial heartland of the city to Tynemouth. Whilst most training places place along the Wylam, Newburn and Blaydon stretches of river, extended paddles offers crews the opportunity to row under the famous Tyne Bridge on Newcastle's quayside.

Land training takes place at two sites within the city itself. The club has its own gymnasium at the Henderson Halls of Residence, with Concept2 rowing ergometers, RowPerfect and Concept2 Dyno machines and a fully stocked free weights suite. The club also has use of the University's main sports centre, next to the Richardson Road Halls of Residence with access to further rowing machines, weights facilities, fitness suite and sports halls for circuit training. Through the University's performance sports programme, elite rowers get access to free physiotherapy, sports massage, nutritional expertise and strength and conditioning coaching.

Boathouse refurbishment[edit]

The club's current boathouse was built in 1953, and by 2009 was in a poor state of repair. Additionally, the growth of the club since 2005 meant that storage space was at a premium and expansion of existing boat racking was essential. In late-2009 the decision was taken by the University to commit £500,000 to a complete refurbishment of the building. When completed, the new facility will have brand new changing/showering facilities, warm-up/stretching area, kitchen and video analysis/meeting room. The existing boat storage area will be refitted with new sliding racks and a dedicated maintenance bay will be created. An additional boat shed has been constructed next to the current building, and it was completed in 2011.


Newcastle University Boat Club winning the Prince Albert Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 2008.

Italian coach, Angelo Savarino was appointed Head Coach of the club in 2005. Since then he has overseen a remarkable transformation of the club, with highlights including winning the Prince Albert Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 2008, and placing 7th at the Head of the River Race. The club has been a consistently strong performer at the British University and Colleges Sport Regatta, placing second overall in 2012. The club employs an assistant coach, Alex Leigh, who coaches the women team and supports Newcastle Elite rowers. The club also relies on a strong network of experienced volunteer coaches.



In 1904, Armstrong College was founded in Newcastle upon Tyne to teach physical sciences. At this time it was part of Durham University and the boat club - established in March 1911 - held the same status as other Durham colleges and competed in intercollegiate events. One of the first races was against the varsity third crew, who they beat and whose place they subsequently took at Durham Regatta. In 1924, a women's club was established and in 1929, the growing success of the club prompted to construction of a new boathouse on the River Tyne at Stella Haugh, the site of the Battle of Newburn.

The 1930s – King’s College BC[edit]

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 1940s and early 1950s 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 categories: 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.

The 1950s[edit]

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'.

In 1951 the land on which the boat house stood at Stella was requisitioned by the British Electricity 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.

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.

The social 70s[edit]

The social side of the club has always been strong. In 1970 students were invited to 'a glittering ball; Entrance 5s.

Rivalry between the club and Durham is also a strong theme throughout the club's history, especially when the club moved up to competing at a university rather than a college level. In 1971 the first VIII came 32nd at Reading Head, only 4 seconds behind the 'invincible' Durham which apparently led them the make seven changes before HORR. Unfortunately these changes seem to have made the difference. Despite breaking an oar in a clash, the first VIII came 26th out of 337 crews, the best result for 8 years, however this placed them second in the UAU shield just behind Durham.

By 1982 NUBC had won the men's Championship VIIIs at the Northern Universities Regatta for eight consecutive years. Helped by these victories and the size of the club, 64 and 80 athletes respectively, the club won the Victor Ludornum in both 1981 and 1982 and then again in 1985.

In 1986 the ugly issue of apartheid muddied the usually tranquil waters of the prestigious Boating Club' when '400 (a contribution towards the '3,800 needed per year to run the club at the time) was accepted from Barclays Bank, who's offer of money to the union had been rejected due to their involvement in South Africa. Despite this, or perhaps due to this, victories were achieved at York Small Boats Head by the 1st IV and elite pair and Tyne Head in Senior III VIIIs. The former was also a successful Head for the club in 1988 when won Senior I and II sculls (James Valerino), Open and Senior I pairs (Simon Mepham and Nick Scott), Open IVs and Professor Jones won Veteran Open double sculls for York City. To balance these successes the Senior III IV was beaten by the Novice 1st IV.

The 90s and new equipment[edit]

The club saw an influx of new equipment in 1990 and 1991 when a donation from South Shields-born author Catherine Cookson provided for a new men's eight, Tom named after her husband, and a new women's coxed four, named Dixie, which subsequently went on to win College Coxed Fours at Henley Women's Regatta in 1995.

Summer training was taken to a new level in 1993 when eleven guys from NUBC ran from John O'Groats to Lands End to raise money for charity. The group which consisted of Rob Whiticker, Charlie Pryor, Hugo Elliott, Dan Innes, Dan Robb, Rob Latham, Dick Alhadeff, Tim Wadie, Ben Jukes, Jan Safranek and Hadley Dean (the van driver), completed 840 miles in just 9 days. No wonder they went on to win Open coxless IVs (the fastest crew on the river by 20 seconds) and Senior I IVs at Rutherford Head.

Men's and Women's crews finish as top Northern University.[1]

The first Durham vs. Newcastle boat race was held in 1994 (originally a race for Senior Men and Women with a Novice Men and Novice Women's race added in 2004) the same day as the Oxford vs. Cambridge and saw an eleven-year run of victories for Durham. However the men's first VIII made university history in the same year when they made it to the third round of the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley. Further success was won by Jan Safranek and Rob Latham at National Championships where they won Bronze in a pair. Henley was also a successful year in 1996 when the club beat Princeton in the second round by half a length in 'a very fine race', a victory that made it into The Telegraph and The Times under the headlines 'Newcastle Ride Wind' and 'Princeton lurch to defeat in wild weather'. Clearly training on the choppy waters of the Tyne does occasionally have its advantages. The Times even mentioned stroke man Alex Robinson dying his hair a different colour every day for good luck.

Northumbrian Boat Races[edit]

The Northumbrian University Boat Race is an annual challenge between the Universities of Durham and Newcastle in a similar vein to the more famous Oxbridge Boat Race. It is now in its 15th year (2015). Although the event has been traditionally dominated by Durham, the Newcastle team were the overall winners for the first time in 2009, and retained the trophy since. The event is held annually on the River Tyne in central Newcastle upon Tyne in May and is well supported by local spectators. The event comprises 4 races: Men's Championship 8, Women's Championship 8, Men's Novice 8 and Women's Novice 8. The overall event winners are the University winning at least 3 races (a draw, with 2 races won each, leads to retention of the trophy by the previous year's winner). The 2010 races took place on 9 May. Both Universities won 2 races: the event was therefore drawn and Newcastle retained the trophy. From 2011 to 2014 the event resulted in a forfeit to Newcastle University as Durham University declined to race. The Boat Race was back again in 2015 with Newcastle winning the two Championship events, and Durham the two Novices, with Newcastle retaining the trophy. In 2016, two new events were added: men's and women's reserves, Newcastle winning the two championship and reserve events, and Durham the two Novices. Newcastle won the trophy.

National and international achievements[edit]

Since 1996 Newcastle students have been competing and medalling at the U23, Senior and University World Championships and other International Competitions such European Universities Championships, Duisburg Regatta, Memorial Paolo d'Aloja Regatta and Essen Regatta, with victories as well in UK at National Championships, Marlow Regatta, pennants in the Head of the River Race and Women's Eights Head of the River Race, wins at Henley Women's Regatta and at Henley Royal Regatta.

The Club won the Victor Ludorum at the British University Sports Association (BUCS) Regatta in 2016, having been runners-up in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012. The 2008 BUCS Regatta saw NUBC winning 4 out of 7 heavyweight events. NUBC came third in V.L. in 2010. In the 2011 BUCS regatta, the Newcastle men were winners in the Championship eight, coxed four and pair, and retained the Championship eight and pair titles in 2012.

Athletes from the club have recently and consistently won medals at World University Championships and U23 World Championships.

Henley Royal Regatta (HRR) and Henley Women's Regatta (HWR) Wins[edit]

Event[2] Regatta Winning Year Winning Crew
Academic Eights The Sharp Cup HWR 2016 H.Roddy, L.Davis, I. Leigh, H. Brackenbury, C.Browne, R.Bennewith, B.Mullan, R.Price, E.Wood cox
Elite Coxless Fours The Avril Vellacott Cup HWR 2015 E.Ford (composite crew)
The Prince Albert Challenge Cup HRR 2014 J.Holst, T.Ford, J.Rudkin, S.Arnot, C.McRoberts cox
Elite Lightweight Quad Sculls The Rankine Trophy HWR 2014 G.Hall (composite crew)
Senior Coxed Fours The Frank Harry Cup HWR 2013 N.Lamb, N.Hardy, N. Hardy, R.Rust, L.Dobson cox
Elite Quad Sculls The Borne Cup HWR 2013 G.Hall (composite crew)
Elite Lightweight Quad Sculls The Rankine Trophy HWR 2013 G.Hall (composite crew)
Senior Eights The GP Jeffreis Cup HWR 2012 N.Lamb, I.Vyvyan, P. Neill, G.Hall, H.Broad, C.Irving, G.Parry, R.Rust, L.Dobson cox
Academic Eights The Pricewaterhouse Coopers Cup HWR 2009 L.Woods, E.Field, R.Skarra, M.Flaate, A.Wilson, A.Hodges, M.Jones-Walters, E.Earp, R.Macphee cox
The Prince Albert Challenge Cup HRR 2008 N.O'Reilly, M.Wilcojc, M.Durant, F.Gill, C.Johnson cox
Intermediate College Coxed Fours HWR 1995 R.Ingledew, R.Turner, E.Ogren, J.Maguire, J.Knight cox

Newcastle are the current holders of two records in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup set in 2011.

Time to The Barrier 1:57 and time to Fawley 3:19.

Crew: T.Clarke, E.Ford, S.Arnot, G.Rossiter, C.Barry (cox)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Courier, 1999-01-27 
  2. ^ "Past Results". Newcastle Rowing. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°58′47″N 1°44′37″W / 54.9798°N 1.7436°W / 54.9798; -1.7436