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A photograph of H.A. (Bert) Barry, winner of the 1925 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, surrounded by a guard of honour of previous Doggett’s winners in their uniforms at Waterloo station upon Barry’s return from winning the 1928 World Sculling Championship in Vancouver. The photograph below shows part of the motorcade route which escorted Bert from Waterloo station to Mansion House for a meeting with the Lord Mayor. After the meeting, the motorcade then went on to Putney via Fleet Street and Whitehall with a stop at The Cenotaph Memorial for the First World War.
These photographs from the Daily Mirror capture the 1928 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. On top is a photograph of the winner, J.L. Phelps, being carried by family members including his father Charlie Phelps. In the middle is an image of the boat out of which Thomas Guy capsized and had to be rescued by a police boat. Below is a photograph of the winning sculler (left) and his uncle, J. Phelps, Bargemaster (right).
A news clipping from the February 1928 edition of the City Press reporting the Lord Mayor’s receiving of H.A. (Bert) Barry, 1925 winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, upon his return from winning the 1928 World Sculling Championship in Vancouver. The Lord Mayor is noted to have said that it was ‘meet that a Freeman of the City and a waterman of the Thames should have brought back the Championship to Great Britain’. Of note, Bert Barry’s uncle, Ernest Barry, was the previous holder of the World Sculling Championship. He was the 1903 winner of Doggett’s Race for Coat and Badge and also won the Wold Sculling Championship five times. Ernest Barry went on to be appointed Royal Bargemaster to George VI and later Elizabeth II.
A photograph taken at the start of the 1928 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. In the background Fishmonger’s Hall can be seen as well as Rennie’s old London Bridge on the right.
A close up photograph of H.A. (Bert) Barry upon his return from the 1927 World Sculling Championship at Waterloo Station. Bert was the 1925 winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge and his uncle, Ernest, was the 1903 Doggett’s winner. Bert’s father, WA Barry, won Doggett’s in 1891 and went on to become the English Sculling Champion in 1898. Further generations of Barry’s continued to row with Bert’s nephew Bill winning a silver in the Coxless Fours at the 1964 Olympics.
A photograph from 1929 depicting preliminary heats for the following year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The heats were run from Hammersmith to Putney and this image was taken just west of the Hammersmith Bridge in front of St Paul’s school.
A photograph from 1924 showing the start of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge at London Bridge. In the background the New Hibernia Wharf and Hay’s Wharf are visible.
Coverage from the 1924 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, won by H.C. Green
An article from the Gravesend Reporter written on 20th August 1927 detailing funds raised (£50 2s 10 ½ d) and expenses (£48 12s) for Jack Saunders of Northfleet, who competed in the 1927 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge and came in second. The fund was set up to help defray costs incurred in his bid to win the race. Jack’s prize, which is not included in the income, was £6 for coming second in the race.
A photograph of Lu Barry, winner of the 1927 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, receiving a congratulatory kiss from his mother. Lu was the fourth member of his family to win the race: His father, HA Barry, won the race in 1891 and went on to become the English Sculling Champion, his uncle won the race in 1903 and went on to win the World Sculling Championship, and his brother, also H.A. Barry, won Doggett’s in 1925.
A photograph taken at the 1926 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge looking towards Chelsea Bridge, near the finish line. The race was won by Thomas G Green with Fred Willard coming in second.
Press coverage of the 1927 Race for Dogget’s Coat and Badge. The Guardian article highlights the increased interest in the race, ‘nearly all the London papers mentioned the Doggett’s among to-day’s arrangements’ yet also states it would not be surprised if ‘a day should come when as many people should turn out to see the Doggett’s as to see greyhounds chasing an electric hare’. The Birmingham Mail article highlights Doggett’s in their recap of the 1927 rowing season. That year, the race was won by Lu Barry, the 4th member of his family to win Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Also that year, H.T. Phelps, a member of the Phelps family that would go on to win ten Doggett’s races, took over as Bargemaster.
A photograph of H.T. Phelps in the livery of Bargemaster at the 1927 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This was the first year as Bargemaster for Phelps, who won the race in 1919.
A photograph of Lu Barry being triumphantly carried by family and friends after winning the 1927 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Albert Bridge, the finish line of the race, is visible in the background.
Newspaper coverage of the return home of H.A. (Bert) Barry after winning the World Sculling Championship in 1928, a race for professional watermen. The Observer article highlights the guard of honour of previous Doggett’s winners in their uniforms awaiting Bert on the platform at Waterloo station and is accompanied by a photograph of the winner being carried. The Sporting Life article reports that Bert Barry had to sell his boat and oars in Canada to raise the return fare back to England. Bert notes that there was little interest or support for professional sculling in the UK, making it difficult to finance a return bid to defend his title.
Press coverage of the 1928 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The Telegraph article focuses on the fact that the winner, John Leslie Phelps, was the brother of three previous winners and the son of another. The Daily Herald article highlights the lack of interest in the race from the general public and notes that the winner was pointed out by one bystander as ‘Jack Phelps in red… Putney boat-building people. Coat runs in the family. Send the young ‘uns to win it, like winning their spurs. What they don’t know about this water, nobody knows.’ The Manchester Guardian piece reports the race in detail, particularly the unusual capsizing of two competitors during the race. One competitor, Thomas Guy, had collapsed and had to be rescued by a police boat, while the other competitor was able to get back into his boat and complete the race.
A magazine article from 1924 documenting the history of Doggett’s race featuring a photograph of four winners from the Phelps family in their coats and badges: C. Phelps (1884), H.T. Phelps (1919), T.J. Phelps (1922), and R.W. Phelps (1923). The Phelps family, Thames watermen since the 13th century, have ten Doggett’s winners, the most winners in a single family.
A photograph from 1924 showing the start of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge at London Bridge. In the background the New Hibernia Wharf and Hay’s Wharf are visible.
Two photographs from Illustrated Sporting covering the 1925 race. The photo on the left shows the winner HA Barry lifting his scull aboard the launch at Chelsea. He went on to win the World Sculling Championship in 1927. The photo on the right shows A. Pocock in his livery as Bargemaster, an assistant and several spectators. The newspaper article from the Time Tide informs us that HA Barry was the nephew of E. Barry, the 1903 winner of Doggett’s Coat and Badge and a former World Sculling Champion. The Barry’s were Thames watermen and boat builders.
Photograph of the Phelps Family in 1926 in front of their boatbuilding business, Bowers & Phelps in Putney. C. Phelps, the 1884 Doggett’s winner, is on the furthest left. Below is a photograph, possibly Charles Vesta Phelps, who competed in the 1926 Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race but came in 5th due to a difficult start.
A City Press article dated March 8th 1924 covering the Doggett’s presentation ceremony for R.W. Phelps, the 6th member of the Phelps family to win the race. The Phelps family had been watermen and lightermen on the Thames since the 13th century.
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1920s: Capsized Competitors & World Champions

A photograph of H.A. (Bert) Barry, winner of the 1925 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, surrounded by a guard of honour of previous Doggett’s winners in their uniforms at Waterloo station upon Barry’s return from winning the 1928 World Sculling Championship in Vancouver. The photograph below shows part of the motorcade route which escorted Bert from Waterloo station to Mansion House for a meeting with the Lord Mayor. After the meeting, the motorcade then went on to Putney via Fleet Street and Whitehall with a stop at The Cenotaph Memorial for the First World War.
These photographs from the Daily Mirror capture the 1928 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. On top is a photograph of the winner, J.L. Phelps, being carried by family members including his father Charlie Phelps. In the middle is an image of the boat out of which Thomas Guy capsized and had to be rescued by a police boat. Below is a photograph of the winning sculler (left) and his uncle, J. Phelps, Bargemaster (right).
A news clipping from the February 1928 edition of the City Press reporting the Lord Mayor’s receiving of H.A. (Bert) Barry, 1925 winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, upon his return from winning the 1928 World Sculling Championship in Vancouver. The Lord Mayor is noted to have said that it was ‘meet that a Freeman of the City and a waterman of the Thames should have brought back the Championship to Great Britain’. Of note, Bert Barry’s uncle, Ernest Barry, was the previous holder of the World Sculling Championship. He was the 1903 winner of Doggett’s Race for Coat and Badge and also won the Wold Sculling Championship five times. Ernest Barry went on to be appointed Royal Bargemaster to George VI and later Elizabeth II.
A photograph taken at the start of the 1928 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. In the background Fishmonger’s Hall can be seen as well as Rennie’s old London Bridge on the right.
A close up photograph of H.A. (Bert) Barry upon his return from the 1927 World Sculling Championship at Waterloo Station. Bert was the 1925 winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge and his uncle, Ernest, was the 1903 Doggett’s winner. Bert’s father, WA Barry, won Doggett’s in 1891 and went on to become the English Sculling Champion in 1898. Further generations of Barry’s continued to row with Bert’s nephew Bill winning a silver in the Coxless Fours at the 1964 Olympics.
A photograph from 1929 depicting preliminary heats for the following year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The heats were run from Hammersmith to Putney and this image was taken just west of the Hammersmith Bridge in front of St Paul’s school.
A photograph from 1924 showing the start of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge at London Bridge. In the background the New Hibernia Wharf and Hay’s Wharf are visible.
Coverage from the 1924 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, won by H.C. Green
An article from the Gravesend Reporter written on 20th August 1927 detailing funds raised (£50 2s 10 ½ d) and expenses (£48 12s) for Jack Saunders of Northfleet, who competed in the 1927 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge and came in second. The fund was set up to help defray costs incurred in his bid to win the race. Jack’s prize, which is not included in the income, was £6 for coming second in the race.
A photograph of Lu Barry, winner of the 1927 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, receiving a congratulatory kiss from his mother. Lu was the fourth member of his family to win the race: His father, HA Barry, won the race in 1891 and went on to become the English Sculling Champion, his uncle won the race in 1903 and went on to win the World Sculling Championship, and his brother, also H.A. Barry, won Doggett’s in 1925.
A photograph taken at the 1926 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge looking towards Chelsea Bridge, near the finish line. The race was won by Thomas G Green with Fred Willard coming in second.
Press coverage of the 1927 Race for Dogget’s Coat and Badge. The Guardian article highlights the increased interest in the race, ‘nearly all the London papers mentioned the Doggett’s among to-day’s arrangements’ yet also states it would not be surprised if ‘a day should come when as many people should turn out to see the Doggett’s as to see greyhounds chasing an electric hare’. The Birmingham Mail article highlights Doggett’s in their recap of the 1927 rowing season. That year, the race was won by Lu Barry, the 4th member of his family to win Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Also that year, H.T. Phelps, a member of the Phelps family that would go on to win ten Doggett’s races, took over as Bargemaster.
A photograph of H.T. Phelps in the livery of Bargemaster at the 1927 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This was the first year as Bargemaster for Phelps, who won the race in 1919.
A photograph of Lu Barry being triumphantly carried by family and friends after winning the 1927 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Albert Bridge, the finish line of the race, is visible in the background.
Newspaper coverage of the return home of H.A. (Bert) Barry after winning the World Sculling Championship in 1928, a race for professional watermen. The Observer article highlights the guard of honour of previous Doggett’s winners in their uniforms awaiting Bert on the platform at Waterloo station and is accompanied by a photograph of the winner being carried. The Sporting Life article reports that Bert Barry had to sell his boat and oars in Canada to raise the return fare back to England. Bert notes that there was little interest or support for professional sculling in the UK, making it difficult to finance a return bid to defend his title.
Press coverage of the 1928 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The Telegraph article focuses on the fact that the winner, John Leslie Phelps, was the brother of three previous winners and the son of another. The Daily Herald article highlights the lack of interest in the race from the general public and notes that the winner was pointed out by one bystander as ‘Jack Phelps in red… Putney boat-building people. Coat runs in the family. Send the young ‘uns to win it, like winning their spurs. What they don’t know about this water, nobody knows.’ The Manchester Guardian piece reports the race in detail, particularly the unusual capsizing of two competitors during the race. One competitor, Thomas Guy, had collapsed and had to be rescued by a police boat, while the other competitor was able to get back into his boat and complete the race.
A magazine article from 1924 documenting the history of Doggett’s race featuring a photograph of four winners from the Phelps family in their coats and badges: C. Phelps (1884), H.T. Phelps (1919), T.J. Phelps (1922), and R.W. Phelps (1923). The Phelps family, Thames watermen since the 13th century, have ten Doggett’s winners, the most winners in a single family.
A photograph from 1924 showing the start of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge at London Bridge. In the background the New Hibernia Wharf and Hay’s Wharf are visible.
Two photographs from Illustrated Sporting covering the 1925 race. The photo on the left shows the winner HA Barry lifting his scull aboard the launch at Chelsea. He went on to win the World Sculling Championship in 1927. The photo on the right shows A. Pocock in his livery as Bargemaster, an assistant and several spectators. The newspaper article from the Time Tide informs us that HA Barry was the nephew of E. Barry, the 1903 winner of Doggett’s Coat and Badge and a former World Sculling Champion. The Barry’s were Thames watermen and boat builders.
Photograph of the Phelps Family in 1926 in front of their boatbuilding business, Bowers & Phelps in Putney. C. Phelps, the 1884 Doggett’s winner, is on the furthest left. Below is a photograph, possibly Charles Vesta Phelps, who competed in the 1926 Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race but came in 5th due to a difficult start.
A City Press article dated March 8th 1924 covering the Doggett’s presentation ceremony for R.W. Phelps, the 6th member of the Phelps family to win the race. The Phelps family had been watermen and lightermen on the Thames since the 13th century.
A 1938 article about lack of funds resulting in only two competitors entering that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The article quotes J.T ‘Bossy’ Phelps saying ‘there have never been so few entries’ and cites cost of entry as the cause.
A clipping from the Evening Standard of 23rd July 1937. The top photograph is an image of the winner of that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, F. Silvester, raising a glass with his father, H. Silvester, winner of the 1905 race. His brother, H. Silvester, was the 1932 winner. The photograph at the bottom shows the winner being carried by a guard of honour of previous Doggett’s winners.
These photographs depict the 1939 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The Sheffield Telegraph captures the winner, D.E Thomas, being baptised with champagne and Bargemaster H.T Phelps starting the race. The Daily Telegraph ran a photo of the winner in his scull with a launch full of race observers in the background. The Daily Mail showed three images of the race with details of the esteemed red coat and silver badge received by the winner.
A photograph of Bargemaster H.T Phelps
Coverage of the 1938 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in The Times and The Evening Standard. This race was noted for two things; first that it was the 10th win for the Phelps Family, and second for the fact that E.H (Ted) Phelps was one of only two competitors.
The Sunday Express ran a photo in its 25th July 1940 edition showing a guard of honour made up of previous Doggett’s winners with their uniforms and oars at the wedding of Olympic sculling champion, Jack Beresford. Beresford would win five medals at five Olympic Games in succession, a record not matched until 1996. Watermen such as the Doggett’s winners pictured would not have been eligible to race in the Olympics, as they would have been classed as ‘professionals’ by the Amateur Rowing Association.
A photograph from the July, 1930 edition of the Cork Examiner showing Ted Phelps with his damaged scull after winning the 1930 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Ted Phelps already held the World Sculling Champion title when he competed in Doggett’s. Below are photographs from Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News with a higher resolution photograph of the same image, and an image of previous Doggett’s winners at the race.
A photograph of the winner of the 1933 Race for Dogget’s Coat and Badge, E.L. Phelps, shaking hands with his uncle and Bargemaster, H.T. Phelps. Below is a photograph of the winner receiving a congratulatory kiss from his mother.
A photograph of A.E. Gobbett, winner of the 1935 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, shaking hands with the Bargemaster, HT Phelps. Below is another photograph of the winner after the finish.
These photographs are taken at the start of the 1932 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Both photographs show Fishmongers' Hall and Rennie’s old London Bridge in the background, with the bottom image showing the Bargemaster, H.T. Phelps, ready to start the race and crowds watching from the river banks. The race was won by H.T. Silvester.
A photograph published in an August 1936 edition of the Daily Mail depicting a group of previous Doggett’s winners at that year’s race. On the right is an article from The Times written on the 31st July focusing on the geographic shift eastwards of the winners of recent years after the dominance of rowing clubs further west.
The top photograph here shows previous winners attending the 1935 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Below is another photograph from the 1935 race depicting a launch following the action.
A photograph published in a July 1936 edition of the Evening Standard and an article published on the 1st August 1936 in The Times covering that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The photograph depicts the winner of the race, J.A. Taylor, shaking hands with the Bargemaster, H.T. Phelps. He is surrounded by previous winners T. Phelps (1922), M. Gibbs (1923), H. Green (1924), C. Taylor (1930), A. Harding (1931), H.T. Silvester (1932), H. Smith (1934) and A.E. Gobbett (1935).
These photographs from the July, 1931 editions of The Times and The Daily Telegraph show the winner of that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, Thomas James Harding. Below is an image from the Daily Herald showing H.T. Phelps in his livery as Bargemaster. The article on the left details the race in which the sculler who was ahead up until Blackfriars Bridge lost his lead due to a mistake in steering.
A photograph from the News Chronicle published on 24th July 1937 depicting Doggett’s winners from the 1880s who had been in attendance at that year’s presentation ceremony at Fishmonger’s Hall to F. Silvester – J. Lloyd (1883), G. McKinney (1885), H. Cole (1886), and J. See (1899). The winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge is still presented at Fishmonger’s Hall in a ceremony every year, and previous Doggett’s winners continue to attend in a guard of honour.
An article from the August,1930 edition of the North Kent Argus regarding the desire for the area to produce another Doggett’s winner after a dearth of winners since 1909. The article reports on a fund proposed to pay for the training of potential competitors, as costs required to adequately train for the race were viewed as prohibitive.
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1930s: A Tenth Win for the Phelps!

A 1938 article about lack of funds resulting in only two competitors entering that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The article quotes J.T ‘Bossy’ Phelps saying ‘there have never been so few entries’ and cites cost of entry as the cause.
A clipping from the Evening Standard of 23rd July 1937. The top photograph is an image of the winner of that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, F. Silvester, raising a glass with his father, H. Silvester, winner of the 1905 race. His brother, H. Silvester, was the 1932 winner. The photograph at the bottom shows the winner being carried by a guard of honour of previous Doggett’s winners.
These photographs depict the 1939 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The Sheffield Telegraph captures the winner, D.E Thomas, being baptised with champagne and Bargemaster H.T Phelps starting the race. The Daily Telegraph ran a photo of the winner in his scull with a launch full of race observers in the background. The Daily Mail showed three images of the race with details of the esteemed red coat and silver badge received by the winner.
A photograph of Bargemaster H.T Phelps
Coverage of the 1938 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in The Times and The Evening Standard. This race was noted for two things; first that it was the 10th win for the Phelps Family, and second for the fact that E.H (Ted) Phelps was one of only two competitors.
The Sunday Express ran a photo in its 25th July 1940 edition showing a guard of honour made up of previous Doggett’s winners with their uniforms and oars at the wedding of Olympic sculling champion, Jack Beresford. Beresford would win five medals at five Olympic Games in succession, a record not matched until 1996. Watermen such as the Doggett’s winners pictured would not have been eligible to race in the Olympics, as they would have been classed as ‘professionals’ by the Amateur Rowing Association.
A photograph from the July, 1930 edition of the Cork Examiner showing Ted Phelps with his damaged scull after winning the 1930 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Ted Phelps already held the World Sculling Champion title when he competed in Doggett’s. Below are photographs from Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News with a higher resolution photograph of the same image, and an image of previous Doggett’s winners at the race.
A photograph of the winner of the 1933 Race for Dogget’s Coat and Badge, E.L. Phelps, shaking hands with his uncle and Bargemaster, H.T. Phelps. Below is a photograph of the winner receiving a congratulatory kiss from his mother.
A photograph of A.E. Gobbett, winner of the 1935 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, shaking hands with the Bargemaster, HT Phelps. Below is another photograph of the winner after the finish.
These photographs are taken at the start of the 1932 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Both photographs show Fishmongers' Hall and Rennie’s old London Bridge in the background, with the bottom image showing the Bargemaster, H.T. Phelps, ready to start the race and crowds watching from the river banks. The race was won by H.T. Silvester.
A photograph published in an August 1936 edition of the Daily Mail depicting a group of previous Doggett’s winners at that year’s race. On the right is an article from The Times written on the 31st July focusing on the geographic shift eastwards of the winners of recent years after the dominance of rowing clubs further west.
The top photograph here shows previous winners attending the 1935 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Below is another photograph from the 1935 race depicting a launch following the action.
A photograph published in a July 1936 edition of the Evening Standard and an article published on the 1st August 1936 in The Times covering that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The photograph depicts the winner of the race, J.A. Taylor, shaking hands with the Bargemaster, H.T. Phelps. He is surrounded by previous winners T. Phelps (1922), M. Gibbs (1923), H. Green (1924), C. Taylor (1930), A. Harding (1931), H.T. Silvester (1932), H. Smith (1934) and A.E. Gobbett (1935).
These photographs from the July, 1931 editions of The Times and The Daily Telegraph show the winner of that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, Thomas James Harding. Below is an image from the Daily Herald showing H.T. Phelps in his livery as Bargemaster. The article on the left details the race in which the sculler who was ahead up until Blackfriars Bridge lost his lead due to a mistake in steering.
A photograph from the News Chronicle published on 24th July 1937 depicting Doggett’s winners from the 1880s who had been in attendance at that year’s presentation ceremony at Fishmonger’s Hall to F. Silvester – J. Lloyd (1883), G. McKinney (1885), H. Cole (1886), and J. See (1899). The winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge is still presented at Fishmonger’s Hall in a ceremony every year, and previous Doggett’s winners continue to attend in a guard of honour.
An article from the August,1930 edition of the North Kent Argus regarding the desire for the area to produce another Doggett’s winner after a dearth of winners since 1909. The article reports on a fund proposed to pay for the training of potential competitors, as costs required to adequately train for the race were viewed as prohibitive.
Two photographs from the Sport and General Press Agency of 26th July 1946 capturing watermen rowing in their skiffs.
Press coverage from 22nd July 1947 reporting that all Doggett’s races missed from 1940 – 1943 due to World War Two had been belatedly held, with winners Eric Lupton, George Bowles, Frank Dott and Edgar McGuiness claiming their prize. Races missed from 1943 – 47, also due to the war, would be held the following day. At the bottom of the page are two photographs of umpire Harry Phelps with his brother and 1922 winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, Tom Phelps.
An article from an American publication written on 11th June 1947 reporting on the Doggett’s ‘races held in abeyance because of the war’. The article details the history of the Thames watermen, mentioning that in the 16th century ‘30,000 ferrymen were dependent on London’s river for their livelihood’. It also suggests that the race was initiated by Thomas Doggett, actor-manager of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, to appease striking watermen after new theatres were built on the north bank, diminishing customer need to travel across the river to theatres on the south bank.
A document from the Fishmongers’ Company outlining that all missed races from 1940 to 1947, cancelled due to World War Two, were to be raced on the 21st and 22nd of July 1947. A similar event was held in 1920 in order to make up for races not held due to the First World War. This demonstrates the resilience and perseverance of the watermen in ensuring The Race for Doggett's Coat and Badge survived and continued.
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1940s: War is Over, the Race Must Go On

Two photographs from the Sport and General Press Agency of 26th July 1946 capturing watermen rowing in their skiffs.
Press coverage from 22nd July 1947 reporting that all Doggett’s races missed from 1940 – 1943 due to World War Two had been belatedly held, with winners Eric Lupton, George Bowles, Frank Dott and Edgar McGuiness claiming their prize. Races missed from 1943 – 47, also due to the war, would be held the following day. At the bottom of the page are two photographs of umpire Harry Phelps with his brother and 1922 winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, Tom Phelps.
An article from an American publication written on 11th June 1947 reporting on the Doggett’s ‘races held in abeyance because of the war’. The article details the history of the Thames watermen, mentioning that in the 16th century ‘30,000 ferrymen were dependent on London’s river for their livelihood’. It also suggests that the race was initiated by Thomas Doggett, actor-manager of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, to appease striking watermen after new theatres were built on the north bank, diminishing customer need to travel across the river to theatres on the south bank.
A document from the Fishmongers’ Company outlining that all missed races from 1940 to 1947, cancelled due to World War Two, were to be raced on the 21st and 22nd of July 1947. A similar event was held in 1920 in order to make up for races not held due to the First World War. This demonstrates the resilience and perseverance of the watermen in ensuring The Race for Doggett's Coat and Badge survived and continued.
A photograph of Royal Waterman B. Barry assisting Queen Elizabeth on a barge in 1951. Doggett’s winners are often asked to perform important ceremonial duties such as Swan Upping, leading the Lords Mayor’s Show and acting as Royal Watermen. Until the mid-19th century, royalty often travelled on the Thames between the Palaces of Windsor, Westminster, Hampton Court and the Tower of London, and would always be accompanied by Royal Watermen. Nowadays, the post of Royal Waterman is mainly ceremonial.
An announcement dated 5th April 1956 from the Fishmongers’ Company about a new initiative which they hoped would ‘make it easier and cheaper to enter for the race’. The Fishmongers’ Company had purchased six sculling gigs for competitors of the 1956 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge and all subsequent races. This was prompted by fact that it had been ‘a matter of concern over the past few years that there have been so few entrants for the race…’
An extract from the minutes of the Fishmonger’s Company Finance Committee on 8th December, 1955, noting a ‘falling off of entries for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge’ due to the high cost of buying or hiring a boat for entry. The minutes record that the Prime Warden had authorised the purchase of six boats at £500 by the Fishmonger’s Company to lend to future competitors.
A poster from the Fishmongers’ Company advertising the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge which was to take place on 27th of July 1959. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will to ensure the tradition continued forevermore.
A certificate presenting a rowing gig named “A. J Kirk” to the Fishmongers’ Company on behalf of the Tugman’s Guild (May 1958). The boat was presented to the Fishmongers’ Company in appreciation of their role in supporting the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge.
A photograph of Sir Gerald Barry, Director-General of the Festival of Britain greeting eleven winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge on Nelson Pier at the South Bank Exhibition in 1951. The City Press article mentions the recently refurbished Watermen’s Hall, home to City of London guild The Company of Watermen and Lightermen ‘which has operated consistently since 1514’.
Photographs from the 273th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, 1951. On top, the start of the race is watched by crowds on boats and piers outside the now demolished Hibernia Wharf. In the bottom photograph, the Duke of Edinburgh follows the race in the umpire’s launch. That year, the race was won by Malcolm Martin, a lighteman from Charlton.
Press coverage of the 237th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, 1951. That year, the race was won by Malcolm Martin, a lighterman from Charlton. Also significant that year was the fact the race was attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, who followed the race from the umpire’s launch (top right photograph). Martin is pictured with his wife Iris in the Kentish Mercury, and a mention is made of Charles Didbin’s comic opera ‘The Waterman’, written in 1744.
Two photographs from the 1952 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. In the top photograph, umpire Harry Phelps is surrounded by seven winners of the race, with Rennie’s old London Bridge in the background.
Photographs from the 1952 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, showing the start of the race outside the former Hibernia Wharf by Rennie’s old London Bridge (top), and previous winners of the race watching from a launch (below).
A photograph from 1952 of three watermen in skiffs, with Tower Bridge and still operating industrial wharves and cranes in the background. Watermen and lightermen transported goods right into London until containerization and the closure of the docks from the 1960s onwards.
A letter dated 7th February 1951 from G.O. Nickalls, the Honourable Secretary of the Amateur Rowing Association to F.A. Pester of the Fishmongers’ Company urging him to consider providing trophies instead of vouchers as prizes to the competitors of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. It appears that there had been some hesitation in presenting trophies as the Fishmonger’s felt they were ‘debarred from giving set cups or prizes under the terms of the Doggett bequest’. The presentation of trophies instead of cash prizes or vouchers was very important as it allowed the watermen to retain their amateur status, enabling them to compete in races such as Henley Royal Regatta.
A document issued by the Amateur Rowing Association on the matter of amateur status. The Association had decided to grant a free pardon to members who had been expelled prior to 1st July 1948 due to racing for money prizes, racing against professionals or teaching/assisting with rowing. This pardon had been prompted by the fact that the prohibiting of racing for money prizes had led to hardship for some members.
Press coverage of the 1950, 236th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, which was won by George James Palmer from Gravesend. F. A. J. Chandler of Fulham came in second and L. D. Reed of East Ham came in third. George Palmer was a professional rower, meaning he had previously raced for prize money and won, which caused some controversy between the organisers of Doggett’s race and the Amateur Rowing Association. Bottom left is a photograph of Palmer being congratulated by T. Phelps, and bottom right is a photograph of previous Doggett’s winners watching the race from a launch.
These Evening Standard articles from the 26th June, 18th July and 21st July 1950 report that, for the first time, watermen competing in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge would win vouchers instead of cash, so that they could retain their amateur status. The articles report that competitor Freddie Burwood had even signed a contract to forfeit the prize of red coat and badge if he won, so that he might be eligible to compete in amateur races such as the Diamond Sculls at Henley. The article of 19th July refers to the ‘broad-minded’ decision of the Amateur Rowing Association to welcome working watermen as long as they had not raced for prize money, unlike ‘the bad old days when these riverside characters were automatically rejected’.
A race card from the 237th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1951 stating the names of the competitors, with a mark next to the winner, Malcolm Martin from Charlton.
Press coverage from 22nd July 1947 reporting that all Doggett’s races missed from 1940 – 1943 due to World War Two had been belatedly held, with winners Eric Lupton, George Bowles, Frank Dott and Edgar McGuiness claiming their prize. Races missed from 1943 – 47, also due to the war, would be held the following day. At the bottom of the page are two photographs of umpire Harry Phelps with his brother and 1922 winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, Tom Phelps.
A letter dated 6th March 1951 from the Honorable Secretary of the Tradesman’s Rowing Clubs Association to the Clerk of the Fishmongers’ Company. In this letter the Tradesman’s Rowing Clubs Association requests that trophies are presented to winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge rather than cash prizes or vouchers. This was extremely important in allowing competitors to retain their amateur status. Watermen had a long history of racing for wagers, but with the rise of ‘the gentleman amateur’ rowing for pleasure, the Amateur Rowing Association classed wagermen as ‘professionals’ and barred them from entering races such as Henley Royal Regatta. In reality, they feared these watermen would have an unfair advantage.
(continued...) letter dated 6th March 1951 from the Honorable Secretary of the Tradesman’s Rowing Clubs Association to the Clerk of the Fishmongers’ Company. In this letter the Tradesman’s Rowing Clubs Association requests that trophies are presented to winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge rather than cash prizes or vouchers. This was extremely important in allowing competitors to retain their amateur status. Watermen had a long history of racing for wagers, but with the rise of ‘the gentleman amateur’ rowing for pleasure, the Amateur Rowing Association classed wagermen as ‘professionals’ and barred them from entering races such as Henley Royal Regatta. In reality, they feared these watermen would have an unfair advantage.
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1950s: Gentlemen vs. Tradesmen

A photograph of Royal Waterman B. Barry assisting Queen Elizabeth on a barge in 1951. Doggett’s winners are often asked to perform important ceremonial duties such as Swan Upping, leading the Lords Mayor’s Show and acting as Royal Watermen. Until the mid-19th century, royalty often travelled on the Thames between the Palaces of Windsor, Westminster, Hampton Court and the Tower of London, and would always be accompanied by Royal Watermen. Nowadays, the post of Royal Waterman is mainly ceremonial.
An announcement dated 5th April 1956 from the Fishmongers’ Company about a new initiative which they hoped would ‘make it easier and cheaper to enter for the race’. The Fishmongers’ Company had purchased six sculling gigs for competitors of the 1956 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge and all subsequent races. This was prompted by fact that it had been ‘a matter of concern over the past few years that there have been so few entrants for the race…’
An extract from the minutes of the Fishmonger’s Company Finance Committee on 8th December, 1955, noting a ‘falling off of entries for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge’ due to the high cost of buying or hiring a boat for entry. The minutes record that the Prime Warden had authorised the purchase of six boats at £500 by the Fishmonger’s Company to lend to future competitors.
A poster from the Fishmongers’ Company advertising the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge which was to take place on 27th of July 1959. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will to ensure the tradition continued forevermore.
A certificate presenting a rowing gig named “A. J Kirk” to the Fishmongers’ Company on behalf of the Tugman’s Guild (May 1958). The boat was presented to the Fishmongers’ Company in appreciation of their role in supporting the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge.
A photograph of Sir Gerald Barry, Director-General of the Festival of Britain greeting eleven winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge on Nelson Pier at the South Bank Exhibition in 1951. The City Press article mentions the recently refurbished Watermen’s Hall, home to City of London guild The Company of Watermen and Lightermen ‘which has operated consistently since 1514’.
Photographs from the 273th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, 1951. On top, the start of the race is watched by crowds on boats and piers outside the now demolished Hibernia Wharf. In the bottom photograph, the Duke of Edinburgh follows the race in the umpire’s launch. That year, the race was won by Malcolm Martin, a lighteman from Charlton.
Press coverage of the 237th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, 1951. That year, the race was won by Malcolm Martin, a lighterman from Charlton. Also significant that year was the fact the race was attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, who followed the race from the umpire’s launch (top right photograph). Martin is pictured with his wife Iris in the Kentish Mercury, and a mention is made of Charles Didbin’s comic opera ‘The Waterman’, written in 1744.
Two photographs from the 1952 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. In the top photograph, umpire Harry Phelps is surrounded by seven winners of the race, with Rennie’s old London Bridge in the background.
Photographs from the 1952 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, showing the start of the race outside the former Hibernia Wharf by Rennie’s old London Bridge (top), and previous winners of the race watching from a launch (below).
A photograph from 1952 of three watermen in skiffs, with Tower Bridge and still operating industrial wharves and cranes in the background. Watermen and lightermen transported goods right into London until containerization and the closure of the docks from the 1960s onwards.
A letter dated 7th February 1951 from G.O. Nickalls, the Honourable Secretary of the Amateur Rowing Association to F.A. Pester of the Fishmongers’ Company urging him to consider providing trophies instead of vouchers as prizes to the competitors of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. It appears that there had been some hesitation in presenting trophies as the Fishmonger’s felt they were ‘debarred from giving set cups or prizes under the terms of the Doggett bequest’. The presentation of trophies instead of cash prizes or vouchers was very important as it allowed the watermen to retain their amateur status, enabling them to compete in races such as Henley Royal Regatta.
A document issued by the Amateur Rowing Association on the matter of amateur status. The Association had decided to grant a free pardon to members who had been expelled prior to 1st July 1948 due to racing for money prizes, racing against professionals or teaching/assisting with rowing. This pardon had been prompted by the fact that the prohibiting of racing for money prizes had led to hardship for some members.
Press coverage of the 1950, 236th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, which was won by George James Palmer from Gravesend. F. A. J. Chandler of Fulham came in second and L. D. Reed of East Ham came in third. George Palmer was a professional rower, meaning he had previously raced for prize money and won, which caused some controversy between the organisers of Doggett’s race and the Amateur Rowing Association. Bottom left is a photograph of Palmer being congratulated by T. Phelps, and bottom right is a photograph of previous Doggett’s winners watching the race from a launch.
These Evening Standard articles from the 26th June, 18th July and 21st July 1950 report that, for the first time, watermen competing in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge would win vouchers instead of cash, so that they could retain their amateur status. The articles report that competitor Freddie Burwood had even signed a contract to forfeit the prize of red coat and badge if he won, so that he might be eligible to compete in amateur races such as the Diamond Sculls at Henley. The article of 19th July refers to the ‘broad-minded’ decision of the Amateur Rowing Association to welcome working watermen as long as they had not raced for prize money, unlike ‘the bad old days when these riverside characters were automatically rejected’.
A race card from the 237th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1951 stating the names of the competitors, with a mark next to the winner, Malcolm Martin from Charlton.
Press coverage from 22nd July 1947 reporting that all Doggett’s races missed from 1940 – 1943 due to World War Two had been belatedly held, with winners Eric Lupton, George Bowles, Frank Dott and Edgar McGuiness claiming their prize. Races missed from 1943 – 47, also due to the war, would be held the following day. At the bottom of the page are two photographs of umpire Harry Phelps with his brother and 1922 winner of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, Tom Phelps.
A letter dated 6th March 1951 from the Honorable Secretary of the Tradesman’s Rowing Clubs Association to the Clerk of the Fishmongers’ Company. In this letter the Tradesman’s Rowing Clubs Association requests that trophies are presented to winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge rather than cash prizes or vouchers. This was extremely important in allowing competitors to retain their amateur status. Watermen had a long history of racing for wagers, but with the rise of ‘the gentleman amateur’ rowing for pleasure, the Amateur Rowing Association classed wagermen as ‘professionals’ and barred them from entering races such as Henley Royal Regatta. In reality, they feared these watermen would have an unfair advantage.
(continued...) letter dated 6th March 1951 from the Honorable Secretary of the Tradesman’s Rowing Clubs Association to the Clerk of the Fishmongers’ Company. In this letter the Tradesman’s Rowing Clubs Association requests that trophies are presented to winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge rather than cash prizes or vouchers. This was extremely important in allowing competitors to retain their amateur status. Watermen had a long history of racing for wagers, but with the rise of ‘the gentleman amateur’ rowing for pleasure, the Amateur Rowing Association classed wagermen as ‘professionals’ and barred them from entering races such as Henley Royal Regatta. In reality, they feared these watermen would have an unfair advantage.
A cover of Rowing Magazine from 1969 showing Kenneth Dwan, who won the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race in 1970 and rowed for Great Britain in the Olympic Games of 1968 and 1970. By this time, the amateur/professional divide had been dissolved and watermen were allowed to compete at Henley and the Olympics.
A letter dated July 18th 1968 from boat builders W.E.R. Sims agreeing to supply a launch for the 1969 race at the price of £20. The Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge is followed down the river by a small number of launches carrying those who support and organise the race. In former years, many boats would have filled the Thames to follow the race, and huge crowds of spectators would cheer from the river’s banks and bridges. Watching watermen race on the Thames was once as popular as watching football is today.
An article in Rowing Magazine from 1969 on Doggett’s Coat and Badge winner Kenneth Dwan. Kenneth Dwan was a member of the Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club and won Doggett’s in 1970. He competed for Great Britain in both the 1968 and 1972 Olympic games. The Dwan family went on to have four more Doggett’s wins, and continue to row and work on the Thames today.
An account of the history of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and badge from its beginnings up until the 1960s, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race.
A list of winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge from 1715 to 1963, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race. Click here to view a full list of Doggett's winners to date.
A portrait of the winner of the 250th anniversary Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1964, Edward Franklin, who won the race in 26 minutes and 42 seconds.
A poster from the Fishmongers’ Company advertising the 1966 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge which was to take place on the 25th of July. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will.
A portrait of a man believed for many years to be Thomas Doggett, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race. The portrait is no longer believed to be of Thomas Doggett, who is is more widely believed to be represented in a portrait that hangs at Watermen’s Hall.
An account of the history of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and badge from its beginnings up until the 1960s, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race.
A letter dated 20th July 1967 from the Company of Watermen and Lightermen to the Fishmongers’ Company confirming that the six contestants hoping to race in 1967 were qualified. Thomas Doggett specified in his will that contestants for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge had to be in the ‘first year of freedom’ from their apprenticeship as Thames watermen.
A document showing the result of trial heats for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1967. These heats decided which of the watermen who had put their name forward would take part in the race. There have always been six places for the race.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1961 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, which was to be held on Friday 28th July. Each competitor was allocated a different station and boat. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge.
A pink guest ticket for the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This ticket provided admission to one of the barges from which invited guests could watch and follow the race.
Back of the guest ticket for the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This ticket provided admission to one of the barges from which invited guests could watch and follow the race.
A letter from the tailors Samuel Brothers dated 2nd August 1963. This letter outlines arrangements for taking measurements and making the costume for the winner of the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, David Allen. The distinctive Doggett’s costume has remained very similar to the original costume worn by the first Doggett’s winners in the eighteenth century, designed by Thomas Doggett himself. The bright red coat would have signaled the wearer as a superior Thames waterman, and the badges were often melted down as pensions.
A letter from Buckingham Palace dated 23rd June 1964 outlining the fact that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, would attend the 1964 Race for Doggetts Coat and Badge Race, the 250th anniversary race.
A letter dated 9th May,1963 from the boat builder Edwin Phelps who built and repaired many of the boats used in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. In this letter he provides a cost for repair of the damaged boat ‘Chadwyck Healey’.
A copy of a painting by artist Thomas Rowlandson (1756 – 1827) depicting the finish line for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, showing the race day action as it would have looked during the early days of the race, with spectators crowding the river and bankside. The original painting is held in the British Museum, and this copy was used during the 250th race anniversary celebrations in 1964.
A painting by V Coverley-Price for the 250th anniversary of The Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1964. The painting shows previous Doggett’s winners watching the race in their red coats and silver badges from a barge on the Thames.
An account of the 1964 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, the 250th anniversary race attended by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. This lively account was written by the umpire and 1919 winner of the race Harry Phelps. The Phelps family, Thames watermen since the 13th century, had ten winners of the race, the most winners in a single family.
An account of the history of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and badge from its beginnings up until the 1960s, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race.
Raymond Easterling, winner of the 1960 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, celebrating with his mother Freda at Cadogan Pier, the finish line. Raymond was a member of Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club.
A Port of London Authority notice to mariners regarding the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The notice gives information on the technicalities of running the race on the river safely.
Raymond Easterling, winner of the 1960 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, in one of the sculling boats used in the race.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Tuesday 23rd July. Each competitor was allocated a different station and boat. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were situated from the north bank to the south bank of the Thames by London Bridge.
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1960s: 250 Years of Doggett’s

A cover of Rowing Magazine from 1969 showing Kenneth Dwan, who won the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race in 1970 and rowed for Great Britain in the Olympic Games of 1968 and 1970. By this time, the amateur/professional divide had been dissolved and watermen were allowed to compete at Henley and the Olympics.
A letter dated July 18th 1968 from boat builders W.E.R. Sims agreeing to supply a launch for the 1969 race at the price of £20. The Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge is followed down the river by a small number of launches carrying those who support and organise the race. In former years, many boats would have filled the Thames to follow the race, and huge crowds of spectators would cheer from the river’s banks and bridges. Watching watermen race on the Thames was once as popular as watching football is today.
An article in Rowing Magazine from 1969 on Doggett’s Coat and Badge winner Kenneth Dwan. Kenneth Dwan was a member of the Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club and won Doggett’s in 1970. He competed for Great Britain in both the 1968 and 1972 Olympic games. The Dwan family went on to have four more Doggett’s wins, and continue to row and work on the Thames today.
An account of the history of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and badge from its beginnings up until the 1960s, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race.
A list of winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge from 1715 to 1963, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race. Click here to view a full list of Doggett's winners to date.
A portrait of the winner of the 250th anniversary Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1964, Edward Franklin, who won the race in 26 minutes and 42 seconds.
A poster from the Fishmongers’ Company advertising the 1966 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge which was to take place on the 25th of July. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will.
A portrait of a man believed for many years to be Thomas Doggett, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race. The portrait is no longer believed to be of Thomas Doggett, who is is more widely believed to be represented in a portrait that hangs at Watermen’s Hall.
An account of the history of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and badge from its beginnings up until the 1960s, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race.
A letter dated 20th July 1967 from the Company of Watermen and Lightermen to the Fishmongers’ Company confirming that the six contestants hoping to race in 1967 were qualified. Thomas Doggett specified in his will that contestants for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge had to be in the ‘first year of freedom’ from their apprenticeship as Thames watermen.
A document showing the result of trial heats for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1967. These heats decided which of the watermen who had put their name forward would take part in the race. There have always been six places for the race.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1961 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, which was to be held on Friday 28th July. Each competitor was allocated a different station and boat. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge.
A pink guest ticket for the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This ticket provided admission to one of the barges from which invited guests could watch and follow the race.
Back of the guest ticket for the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This ticket provided admission to one of the barges from which invited guests could watch and follow the race.
A letter from the tailors Samuel Brothers dated 2nd August 1963. This letter outlines arrangements for taking measurements and making the costume for the winner of the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, David Allen. The distinctive Doggett’s costume has remained very similar to the original costume worn by the first Doggett’s winners in the eighteenth century, designed by Thomas Doggett himself. The bright red coat would have signaled the wearer as a superior Thames waterman, and the badges were often melted down as pensions.
A letter from Buckingham Palace dated 23rd June 1964 outlining the fact that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, would attend the 1964 Race for Doggetts Coat and Badge Race, the 250th anniversary race.
A letter dated 9th May,1963 from the boat builder Edwin Phelps who built and repaired many of the boats used in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. In this letter he provides a cost for repair of the damaged boat ‘Chadwyck Healey’.
A copy of a painting by artist Thomas Rowlandson (1756 – 1827) depicting the finish line for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, showing the race day action as it would have looked during the early days of the race, with spectators crowding the river and bankside. The original painting is held in the British Museum, and this copy was used during the 250th race anniversary celebrations in 1964.
A painting by V Coverley-Price for the 250th anniversary of The Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1964. The painting shows previous Doggett’s winners watching the race in their red coats and silver badges from a barge on the Thames.
An account of the 1964 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, the 250th anniversary race attended by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. This lively account was written by the umpire and 1919 winner of the race Harry Phelps. The Phelps family, Thames watermen since the 13th century, had ten winners of the race, the most winners in a single family.
An account of the history of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and badge from its beginnings up until the 1960s, as presented in a booklet celebrating the 250th anniversary of the race.
Raymond Easterling, winner of the 1960 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, celebrating with his mother Freda at Cadogan Pier, the finish line. Raymond was a member of Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club.
A Port of London Authority notice to mariners regarding the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The notice gives information on the technicalities of running the race on the river safely.
Raymond Easterling, winner of the 1960 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, in one of the sculling boats used in the race.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1963 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Tuesday 23rd July. Each competitor was allocated a different station and boat. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were situated from the north bank to the south bank of the Thames by London Bridge.
A yellow ticket valid on the 19th July 1974 for a lunch traditionally held for guests of the Fishmongers’ Company following the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will.
A blue guest ticket for the 1977 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This ticket provided admission to one of the barges from which invited guests could watch and follow the race. In former years, many boats would fill the Thames to follow the race, and tens of thousands of spectators would cheer from the river’s banks and bridges.
A photograph of Princess Anne in a royal barge at Henley-on-Thames, rowed by ten winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Doggett’s winners are often asked to perform important ceremonial duties such as Swan Upping, leading the Lords Mayor’s Show and acting as Royal Watermen.
An extract from a committee meeting on the 1st April 1971, after only two young watermen entered the 1971 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, recommending that if six young watermen could not be found, the Fishmongers’ Company should be empowered to nominate other watermen to bring up the number. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1971 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Friday 23rd July. Each competitor was allocated a different station and boat. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge.
This extract from a meeting held on 10th February 1972 shows some important incentives that were put in place to encourage entrants to the race. As there had only been one entrant in 1972, it was decided that watermen who had previously taken part would be allowed to row again in the race. It was also decided that watermen who had served at least two years of their apprenticeship could take part. Finally, it was decided to award cash prizes to the rowing clubs of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th position rowers.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1974 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Friday 19th July 1974. Each competitor was allocated a different station and boat. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge.
A letter dated 13th of October 1975 from the Clerk of The Fishmongers’ Company to the secretary of The London Rowing Club, stating that the cash prizes awarded to the rowing clubs of watermen who came 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge had been increased.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1975 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Wednesday 23rd July 1975. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge.
A letter dated 20th October 1975 from the Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club to the Fishmonger’s Company expressing thanks for the cash prize they had received after one of their members participated in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, and also for the ‘joint determination’ they shared to keep the race alive. Poplar, Blackwall & District is a rowing club that was built by and for working Thames watermen and lightermen, and has over forty winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The club still has a strong community of river workers who return to gather and celebrate despite a demographic shift away from the area after the docks were demolished and Canary Wharf was developed.
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1970s: Two More Chances… to Up Your Chances

A yellow ticket valid on the 19th July 1974 for a lunch traditionally held for guests of the Fishmongers’ Company following the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will.
A blue guest ticket for the 1977 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This ticket provided admission to one of the barges from which invited guests could watch and follow the race. In former years, many boats would fill the Thames to follow the race, and tens of thousands of spectators would cheer from the river’s banks and bridges.
A photograph of Princess Anne in a royal barge at Henley-on-Thames, rowed by ten winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Doggett’s winners are often asked to perform important ceremonial duties such as Swan Upping, leading the Lords Mayor’s Show and acting as Royal Watermen.
An extract from a committee meeting on the 1st April 1971, after only two young watermen entered the 1971 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, recommending that if six young watermen could not be found, the Fishmongers’ Company should be empowered to nominate other watermen to bring up the number. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1971 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Friday 23rd July. Each competitor was allocated a different station and boat. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge.
This extract from a meeting held on 10th February 1972 shows some important incentives that were put in place to encourage entrants to the race. As there had only been one entrant in 1972, it was decided that watermen who had previously taken part would be allowed to row again in the race. It was also decided that watermen who had served at least two years of their apprenticeship could take part. Finally, it was decided to award cash prizes to the rowing clubs of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th position rowers.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1974 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Friday 19th July 1974. Each competitor was allocated a different station and boat. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge.
A letter dated 13th of October 1975 from the Clerk of The Fishmongers’ Company to the secretary of The London Rowing Club, stating that the cash prizes awarded to the rowing clubs of watermen who came 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge had been increased.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1975 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Wednesday 23rd July 1975. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge.
A letter dated 20th October 1975 from the Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club to the Fishmonger’s Company expressing thanks for the cash prize they had received after one of their members participated in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, and also for the ‘joint determination’ they shared to keep the race alive. Poplar, Blackwall & District is a rowing club that was built by and for working Thames watermen and lightermen, and has over forty winners of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. The club still has a strong community of river workers who return to gather and celebrate despite a demographic shift away from the area after the docks were demolished and Canary Wharf was developed.
An article from The Times written on 23rd July 1987 outlining the history of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge and the connections of the winner Christopher Spencer and his family to the race. The Spencer family can trace their family’s connections to the Thames and this area back four hundred years. They owned the river’s first steam-powered boat ‘The Greenwich Bell’.
A poster from the Fishmongers’ Company advertising the 1986 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge which was to take place on the 25th of July. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will.
A pink guest ticket for the 1989 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This ticket allowed admission to one of the barges from which invited guests could watch and follow the race, and to a buffet dinner in the evening.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, showing one of the competitors coming under Albert Bridge at the finish line, closely observed by the umpire dressed in his ceremonial costume.
An article from The Times written on 25th July 1987 describing the 1987 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, which was won by Christopher Spencer. The article discusses Spencer’s occupation working in the development of the docklands area rather than directly on the river, reflecting the changing nature of the docklands and the river community who lived there. The Spencer family can trace their family’s connections to the Thames and this area back four hundred years. They owned the river’s first steam-powered boat ‘The Greenwich Bell’.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1982 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on 22nd July. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were situated from the north bank to the south bank of the Thames by London Bridge.
An article for The Port published in August 1984 about Simon McCarthy, winner of the 270th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, alongside an article about oarmaker Terry Sutton who made oars for both Doggett’s and the Olympics. The McCarthy family stretch back four generations working as Thames watermen. Simon’s brother Jeremy and son Harry have also won Doggett’s Race for Coat and Badge.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge showing one of the competitors rowing underneath Lambeth Bridge.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge showing winner Roger Spencer preparing to enter the water.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, showing spectators and umpire in the umpire’s boat. They are watching one of the competitors approaching Vauxhall Bridge close to the end of the race.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge showing one of the competitors and race spectators.
A letter dated 29th April 1987 from Mr Earl, Clerk of the Fishmongers’ Company, to the Bargemaster calling a meeting to discuss the fact that there had been only one entry for the 1987 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. At several points in its long history the race has struggled to continue but has always been revived through the efforts of the river community.
A letter dated 29th April 1987 outlining that only one potential competitor, Spencer, had registered for the race. This letter outlines the efforts being made to find other competitors to continue the race and shows that planning was being undertaken if there was to be only one waterman competing.
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1980s: Docklands Decline. Keeping the Race Alive!

An article from The Times written on 23rd July 1987 outlining the history of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge and the connections of the winner Christopher Spencer and his family to the race. The Spencer family can trace their family’s connections to the Thames and this area back four hundred years. They owned the river’s first steam-powered boat ‘The Greenwich Bell’.
A poster from the Fishmongers’ Company advertising the 1986 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge which was to take place on the 25th of July. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will.
A pink guest ticket for the 1989 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. This ticket allowed admission to one of the barges from which invited guests could watch and follow the race, and to a buffet dinner in the evening.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, showing one of the competitors coming under Albert Bridge at the finish line, closely observed by the umpire dressed in his ceremonial costume.
An article from The Times written on 25th July 1987 describing the 1987 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, which was won by Christopher Spencer. The article discusses Spencer’s occupation working in the development of the docklands area rather than directly on the river, reflecting the changing nature of the docklands and the river community who lived there. The Spencer family can trace their family’s connections to the Thames and this area back four hundred years. They owned the river’s first steam-powered boat ‘The Greenwich Bell’.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1982 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on 22nd July. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were situated from the north bank to the south bank of the Thames by London Bridge.
An article for The Port published in August 1984 about Simon McCarthy, winner of the 270th Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, alongside an article about oarmaker Terry Sutton who made oars for both Doggett’s and the Olympics. The McCarthy family stretch back four generations working as Thames watermen. Simon’s brother Jeremy and son Harry have also won Doggett’s Race for Coat and Badge.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge showing one of the competitors rowing underneath Lambeth Bridge.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge showing winner Roger Spencer preparing to enter the water.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, showing spectators and umpire in the umpire’s boat. They are watching one of the competitors approaching Vauxhall Bridge close to the end of the race.
A photograph from the 1985 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge showing one of the competitors and race spectators.
A letter dated 29th April 1987 from Mr Earl, Clerk of the Fishmongers’ Company, to the Bargemaster calling a meeting to discuss the fact that there had been only one entry for the 1987 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. At several points in its long history the race has struggled to continue but has always been revived through the efforts of the river community.
A letter dated 29th April 1987 outlining that only one potential competitor, Spencer, had registered for the race. This letter outlines the efforts being made to find other competitors to continue the race and shows that planning was being undertaken if there was to be only one waterman competing.
Sean Collins, winner of the 1990 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge pictured on the Thames wearing his winners costume. Sean went on to found one of the river’s most successful companies operating today, the commuter and passenger service MBNA Thames Clippers.
Doggett’s winners Robert Prentice, Simon McCarthy, Gary Anness, Robbie Coleman and Jeremy McCarthy engaged in ceremonial duties, rowing a barge on the Thames. Doggett’s winners are often asked to perform important ceremonial duties such as Swan Upping, leading the Lords Mayor’s Show and acting as Royal Watermen.
A negative strip showing Claire (Burran) Hayes, the first woman to row in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1992. Claire broke a 287 year old tradition when at the age of 21 she raced in Doggetts and came in third position. Also shown is the winner of the race that day, Jeremy McCarthy, who was racing for the second time after his boat capsized the previous year.
A poster from the Fishmongers’ Company advertising the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge which was to take place on the 17th July 1990. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will. Race posters had remained virtually unchanged in design for decades.
An article in The City of London and Docklands Times dated 20th July 1990 reporting on that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Pictured is winner Sean Collins, celebrating. Sean went on to found one of the river’s most successful companies operating today, the commuter and passenger riverbus service MBNA Thames Clippers.
An article from The Times dated 22nd July 1994 commenting on the survival of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge into the 1990s. Pictured is Sean Collins, 3rd generation watermen and winner of the 1990 race.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1990 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Thursday 19th July. Of note is the name Sheila Ann McGeown, who would have been the very first woman to race for Doggett’s but withdrew her place.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1992 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Thursday 23rd July 1992. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge. The race card bears the name of Claire (Burran) Hayes, who beat several men during heats to gain her place. This was the first time in the 287 year history of the race that a woman had participated.
A photograph of Claire Hayes, the first woman to row in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. In 1992, Claire broke a 287 year old tradition when, at the age of 21, she raced in Doggett’s. She is pictured alongside another competitor, James Clifford, who went on to win the race the following year.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1998 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge to be held on Thursday 13th July. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge. This race included Kate Saunders, the second woman to race in Doggett’s. Kate comes from a family of Thames watermen and she raced in Doggett’s three times in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1999 Doggett’s race, to be held on Thursday 15th July. This race included Kate Saunders, the second woman to race in Doggett’s. Kate comes from a family of Thames watermen and she raced in Doggett’s three times in 1998, 1999 and 2000. There have been no more women to have raced in Doggett’s...yet.
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1990s: Here Come the Women

Sean Collins, winner of the 1990 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge pictured on the Thames wearing his winners costume. Sean went on to found one of the river’s most successful companies operating today, the commuter and passenger service MBNA Thames Clippers.
Doggett’s winners Robert Prentice, Simon McCarthy, Gary Anness, Robbie Coleman and Jeremy McCarthy engaged in ceremonial duties, rowing a barge on the Thames. Doggett’s winners are often asked to perform important ceremonial duties such as Swan Upping, leading the Lords Mayor’s Show and acting as Royal Watermen.
A negative strip showing Claire (Burran) Hayes, the first woman to row in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1992. Claire broke a 287 year old tradition when at the age of 21 she raced in Doggetts and came in third position. Also shown is the winner of the race that day, Jeremy McCarthy, who was racing for the second time after his boat capsized the previous year.
A poster from the Fishmongers’ Company advertising the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge which was to take place on the 17th July 1990. The Fishmongers’ Livery Company have been responsible for the race since 1722 when they were chosen by Thomas Doggett in his will. Race posters had remained virtually unchanged in design for decades.
An article in The City of London and Docklands Times dated 20th July 1990 reporting on that year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Pictured is winner Sean Collins, celebrating. Sean went on to found one of the river’s most successful companies operating today, the commuter and passenger riverbus service MBNA Thames Clippers.
An article from The Times dated 22nd July 1994 commenting on the survival of the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge into the 1990s. Pictured is Sean Collins, 3rd generation watermen and winner of the 1990 race.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1990 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Thursday 19th July. Of note is the name Sheila Ann McGeown, who would have been the very first woman to race for Doggett’s but withdrew her place.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1992 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, to be held on Thursday 23rd July 1992. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge. The race card bears the name of Claire (Burran) Hayes, who beat several men during heats to gain her place. This was the first time in the 287 year history of the race that a woman had participated.
A photograph of Claire Hayes, the first woman to row in the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. In 1992, Claire broke a 287 year old tradition when, at the age of 21, she raced in Doggett’s. She is pictured alongside another competitor, James Clifford, who went on to win the race the following year.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1998 Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge to be held on Thursday 13th July. Boats were provided by the Fishmongers’ Company, and the six stations were arranged from the north bank to the south bank along London Bridge. This race included Kate Saunders, the second woman to race in Doggett’s. Kate comes from a family of Thames watermen and she raced in Doggett’s three times in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Announcement of the competitors entering the 1999 Doggett’s race, to be held on Thursday 15th July. This race included Kate Saunders, the second woman to race in Doggett’s. Kate comes from a family of Thames watermen and she raced in Doggett’s three times in 1998, 1999 and 2000. There have been no more women to have raced in Doggett’s...yet.

Fishmongers' Scrapbooks

Photos & news clippings from the 1920s - 1960s

These scrapbooks, compiled by Fishmongers’ Hall, contain newspaper clippings, photos and other articles about The Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge from the 1920s through to the 1960s. After Thomas Doggett’s death in 1722, the Fishmongers Livery Company took over responsibility for the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge, and they have ensured that it has been raced annually ever since.

 

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Special thanks to Jenna Han and Catherine Debray for their help and dedication to working on this archive.

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