In the Pink A History of the Water at Westminster School Boat Club

With written records of boating dating back to 1813, Westminster School can rightly claim to have been a prime originator of the sport of amateur rowing. Races between Westminster and Eton in the nineteenth century were sporting and social occasions that generated as great a following as the matches between Oxford and Cambridge, as well as controversy within the schools themselves.

But Westminster’s rowing history is a chequered one. Increasing urbanisation of Victorian London dislocated ‘Water’ from Lambeth Reach and forced several moves upriver. Pupil numbers slumped in the latter part of the nineteenth century. For two decades, rowing was even suspended by the Head Master.

In recent years, high-profile racing successes have again raised Westminster’s reputation on the water. This painstakingly researched history brings up to date the story of the boys, and girls, in pink, bringing to life the eventful narrative of the world’s oldest-recorded amateur boat club.

Author Chris Seward learned his rowing at Westminster, followed by medical training and more rowing at Jesus College, Oxford. Now retired from general practice, he sails on the south coast around Lymington. You can contact Chris about the book at

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