User:Aloneinthewild/St John's College Boat Club

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College Boat Clubs of the University of Oxford
St John's College Boat Club
Oxford boathouse 3.jpg
Boathouse (right)
Established 1863 (1863)
Head of the River – Women 2013
Location The Isis 51°44′37″N 1°15′01″W / 51.743619°N 1.250184°W / 51.743619; -1.250184 (St John's College Boat Club)Coordinates: 51°44′37″N 1°15′01″W / 51.743619°N 1.250184°W / 51.743619; -1.250184 (St John's College Boat Club)
Sister college Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
Senior Member Dr. Paul Dresch
Men's Captain Joseph Larvin
Women's Captain Emma Lowe

St John's College Boat Club (SJCBC) is the boat club of St John's College, Oxford. It was formed in 1863 to allow students at the college to compete in rowing.


Formation and early years[edit]

The Boat Club as we know it today was formed in 1863 by New Zealand born undergraduate, C.Y. Fell. Recognising that St John's was a college of 'hopeless idlers, intent only on pleasure', Mr Fell took it upon himself to raise the funds necessary to pay off the old Club's debts and buy a new racing boat. Such efforts propelled SJCBC to immediate bumping success in 1864 as the college 1st VIII won blades. So began 'a fine rowing spirit which mainly helped to gradually turn the College from a set of idlers into an eager lot of rowing men'.

In the late 19th century, the Boat Club grew beyond what could have been expected of 'a small College [that] does not recruit from rowing schools'. A second boat was created, the Club began to produce its first of many Varsity oarsmen, and the 1st VIII bumped up to the dizzy heights of 2nd on the river - the highest position the college has ever held in Summer Eights.

20th century[edit]

The early 20th century saw SJCBC's 1st Torpid cement its standing in the first division, whilst the 1st VIII battled for position amongst the crews of the second and top divisions. A university-wide shortage of students during World War II led SJCBC to ally with Worcester College Boat Club, allowing both colleges to continue to compete in Oxford bumps racing.

The union dissolved in 1945 and ushered in the college's most successful period of rowing. SJCBC held the Torpids headship in 1946, 1961 and 1967, cemented its position within the first divisions and competed regularly at Henley Royal Regatta.

The 1970s saw a downturn in the college's rowing fortunes, but in 1979 women began rowing for SJCBC, the same year as the first female undergraduates were admitted to the college.

In the 80s and 90s the Boat Club rapidly expanded: new boats were bought in 1984, 1986 and 1989, the Boat Club regularly fielded five crews or more in both Torpids and Eights, and St John's performed consistently well in Christ Church Regatta with victories in 1984, 1985, 1990, 1991 and 1992. Both men's and women's crews improved their standings throughout the period, with the women also competing in their first external competition at Bisway Head in 1987 and at Women's Henley the following year.


The St John's College Boat Club colours are a white shield with blue cross upon a navy blue background. The Men's 1st boats race in all-white uniform with blue trim and the 2nd crews compete in all-blue with white trim. The Women's boats race in all-black with blue trim. The Boat Club flag consists of a lamb carrying a flag atop a navy blue cross set against a white background. The symbol of the lamb and flag is that of St John the Baptist, after whom the College was named.


In Summer Eights 2011, six SJCBC boats qualified for the racing, and both the women's and men's 1st VIII won 'blades' (bumping the boat in front on each day of racing), making SJCBC one of the most successful boat clubs on the river in 2011.

The women's 1st Torpid won blades three years in succession from 2011 to 2013, and in 2013 also won the right to represent the Oxford colleges in the women's intercollegiate race at the Henley Boat Races.


External links[edit]