Wadham College Boat Club

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Wadham College Boat Club
The flag of Wadham College
The Wadham Boathouse
Wadham College Rowing Blade.svg
Wadham College boathouse and blade design
Coordinates 51°44′19.3″N 1°14′47.0″W / 51.738694°N 1.246389°W / 51.738694; -1.246389Coordinates: 51°44′19.3″N 1°14′47.0″W / 51.738694°N 1.246389°W / 51.738694; -1.246389
Home water Isis
Founded c. 1837
  • Men: Jacob Scorey
  • Women: Francesca Murphy
Senior Member Dr. Caroline Mawson
University University of Oxford
Website www.wadhamcollegebc.co.uk

Wadham College Boat Club (WCBC) is the rowing club of Wadham College, Oxford, in Oxford, United Kingdom. The club's members are students and staff from Wadham College and Harris Manchester College. Founded some time before 1837, Wadham has had success both within Oxford and externally in regattas such as Henley Royal Regatta.

The boat club is based in its boathouse on the Isis, which is shared with St Anne's College Boat Club and St Hugh's College Boat Club.


The first official record of the boat club’s existence appears in 1837 when the club was officially constituted. The Wadham 1st Eight competed in the first ever race of the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 1839, and narrowly lost to Trinity College, Cambridge. This defeat would be avenged in the next decade when, in 1849, Wadham raced Trinity, Cambridge and Oriel College in the Ladies' Challenge Plate and the Grand Challenge Cup on successive days. Wadham won both races with Trinity as the runner up and Oriel in a distant third.[1] It is from this defeat of Trinity that Wadham claimed its traditional right to wear Cambridge Blue as its boating colors, and to this day the 1st Eight Blazers and Ties continue this tradition.[2] The following year Wadham increased its good run by claiming the Headship in Summer Eights, and then reclaimed the Head six years later in 1856. Wadham would return to Henley in 1908 and 1925 when the 1st Eight won the Thames Challenge Cup in both years.

By 1897 Wadham College had emulated the example of the rest of the colleges and invested in a permanent Wadham Barge to serve as a rowing base on the Isis.[3] This barge, moored on the most downstream part of Boathouse Island where Christ Church Boathouse is now located, was sold in 1973 when repairs became prohibitively expensive, and it later burned to the waterline and sank in 1983. A new boathouse was built in 1989, and is now shared with St. Anne's and St. Hugh's colleges.

The year 1974 saw the first admission of women to the College, and in 1975 a women’s team was official created. The first year of the women’s club was extraordinarily successful, and the women dominated the university by winning the Christ Church Regatta and the Lady Margaret Hall Regatta. In 1976 a women’s division was added to the Summer Eights schedule, and following a random draw which placed the Wadham women at 3rd on the river they immediately bumped up to second and first on successive days, and then rowed over on the Friday and Saturday to claim the first Women’s Head of the River.[4]

Recent form[edit]

The Wadham men training on the Godstow Stretch

In recent years the Women of Wadham have achieved great successes in and out of Oxford rowing. Within college rowing the women won the Eights headship in 2014 after bumping St Johns College, and also gained the Torpids headship in 2015. W2 remains the highest second boat on the river, and currently enjoys a strong position in Division III alongside other colleges' first boats. External successes include W1 racing at Women's Henley in 2014, and a number of other external races where W1 has raced and defeated university first boats.

The Wadham men continue their historical position at the bottom of the first divisions, and recent years have seen increased success as new training schemes have been put in place. In Torpids the men sit sixth on the river, compared to 11th in Eights. The Wadham men have consistently put out four boats in Eights, and have become renowned in recent years for their 'beer boat' composed of former M1 rowers mixed with alumni guests. Externally M1 has qualified for the Temple Challenge Cup in 2000, 2001, and 2002.


Wadham Rowers compete in the 'Alpe du Dark Lane'

Membership in the boat club is open to all students and staff of Wadham College. Membership is also open to all students and staff of Harris Manchester College following the formal affiliation of their boat club to Wadham in 2003. Honorary memberships are available to all alumni of the boat club, and also to persons who have had a large involvement in the running of the club.

The club is run by a committee of 13 officers elected annually from amongst the members of the club.


Rod Andrews has coached Wadham for over 30 years. He currently is the head coach for both men's and women's squads, and directs a staff of coaches who oversee the lower and novice boats. The strong alumni links with the club has led to a number of experienced old members volunteer as coaches.


Generous funding provided by the Boat Club Society allows Wadham to enjoy excellent world class boats and equipment. New eights and blades are bought every three years.

The Wadham men at Bedford Regatta 2010


Men's boats

  • 2014 Filippi 8+ "Kristanne Claire"
  • 2005 Filippi 8+ "The Remenham Club"
  • 2002 Sims 8+ "Sir Christopher Wren"
  • 1996 Janousek 8+ "Spirit of Nelson"
  • 1998 Janousek 4+ "Omega"
The Wadham women, Summer Eights 2009

Women's boats

Small boats

Team Ergs in the Erg Room

Ergometer room[edit]

The boat club has a dedicated ergometer room in Wadham College with 8 concept2 ergometers and 2 RowPerfect indoor rowers. Recent construction in college has expanded the gym space to include a dedicated weight-lifting space.

Training locations[edit]

The bulk of novice and lower boat water training occurs on the Isis out of Wadham's boathouse. The Senior squads typically train with their top two boats on the Godstow stretch of the Thames near the Trout Inn. Regular team cycle trips occur on the 'Dark Lane' cycle route. An annual training camp occurs a few weeks before the start of Trinity Term. In previous years the training camp has been held at Molesey Boat Club and Kingston Rowing Club.

Social life[edit]

Wadham M1 at the Boat Club Dinner

Wadham rowers enjoy a varied and exciting social life within the club. Michaelmas term kicks off with Freshers' Cocktails, and the term finishes with Christ Church Cocktails to celebrate the success of the club's novice boats in Christ Church Regatta. The annual Boat Club Dinner occurs at the end of Hilary Term, and this formal black tie event sees each crew dressed in unique hats and features the famous 'Profiterole' challenge. With the end of alcohol ban following Summer Eights the entire club typically embarks upon a steamer and sets sail down the Thames for an end of the year Boat Club Cruise. Beyond these established club events each term sees a Boat Club Curry night for the whole squad to enjoy some Wadham-Wadham crew dating, and each week the King of Crew Dates is busy arranging new adventures with the other Oxford colleges and societies.

Alumni society[edit]

Wadham College Boat Club Society is the alumni society of the boat club which is open to all supporters and past members of the club. The Society exists to provide support to the boat club, and to foster the enjoyment of rowing and camaraderie amongst its members. The Society provides funding towards the coaching and equipment purchases of the boat club. The Society holds an annual formal dinner and day of fun races on the Isis in September. Recently the Society organized a rowing event to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Wadham College which included races in eights between alumni and current students. A number of former members continue to row, and there is a growing contingent at Furnivall Sculling Club on the Tideway where plans are afoot to rack a permanent alumni boat for use in races such as the Head of the River.

Notable Wadham rowers[edit]

D.Wauchope 1849 (Bow) G.B.Stewart 1986 (Str) F.B.A.Cotterell 1977 (2) A.Kukla 1980 (Bow) D.Boulter 1985 (7) P.M.Banham 2000 (5) C.E.Knape 1985 (Str)
J.T.Thorley 1856 (Str) S.Brown 1980 (Cox) L.Girvin 1980 (2) A.J.Booth 1986 (7) T. Hackler 2011 D.C.Mountain 1986 (3)
J.T.Thorley 1857 (Str) J.Bond 1980 A.R.Edwards 1989 (7) P.M.Banham 2001 (4) D.C.Mountain 1987 (7, President)
J.T.Thorley 1858 (Str) L.M.Cribb 1980 (2) A.L.Roberts 1989 (6) A.J.Roberts 2002 (7) H.M.E.Byrne 1990 (3)
H.R.Medlicote 1861 (3) S.B.Herring 1981 (Bow) J.C.Goulden 1990 (Cox) A.E.Hammacher 2003 (7) H.M.E.Byrne 1991 (7)
W.Robertson 1861 (4) A.L.Wood 1987 (Str) C.A.Tuer 1991 (7) A.E.Hammacher 2004 (7) S.Pannell 1995 (Cox)
S.O.Bridsdale 1861 (Cox) M.J.Lawford 1988 (Str) K.Thornton 1995 (4) O.J.Lough 2007 (Bow) C.Chadwick 1997 (2)
C.R.Carr 1862 (7) A.R.Edwards 1990 (5) P.Coates 1999 (7) O.Dicks 2011 (4) C.Chadwick 1997 (2)
C.R.Carr 1863 (7) S.Waldron 2002 (6) L.J.Ventress 2009 (7) T.Hackler 2012 (5) Mr T.J.Ryder 2000 (Cox)
W.R.A.Lambert 1874 (Cox) S.Waldron 2003 (5) J.van Campen 2010 (5) N.A.J.Thomas 2000 (7)
W.St.L.Robertson 1886 (3) S.Waldron 2004 (7, President) N.E.R.Beveridge 2006 (3)
T.A.Cook 1889 (3) R.J.Pawley 2012 (6) K.M.Taylor 2007 (Str)
G.C.Drinkwater 1902 (Bow) M.Badcott 2015 (5) K.M.Taylor 2008 (6, President)
G.C.Drinkwater 1903 (7) M.Badcott 2016 (7, President) A. Robotham 2016 (Bow)
R.H.Owen 1910 (2)
T.S.Swayze 1960 (3)
C.P.Berners-Lee 1979 (Cox)
Sue Brown 1981 (Cox)
Sue Brown 1982 (Cox)
G.B.Stewart 1987 (Str)
G.B.Stewart 1988 (6)


  1. ^ Wells, J (1898). Wadham College: College History, (London).
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110718213758/http://wcbc.wadham.ox.ac.uk/~wcbc/history/wadhamathenley.shtml. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Sherriff, C. (2003). The Oxford College Barges, (London).
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100725004316/http://wcbc.wadham.ox.ac.uk/~wcbc/history/. Archived from the original on 25 July 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]