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Behind The Scenes: The World’s Oldest Boat Race

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This is a past event and has already taken place

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“You’ve heard of Henley and the University Boat Race... but what do you know about Doggett’s?”

Join this unique opportunity to sail through central London, and hear the hidden history of the world’s oldest boat race – the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge. Hear from Sean Collins (1990 Doggett's winner and co-founder of MBNA Thames Clippers) and Simon McCarthy (Master of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, London Youth Rowing).

As we sail down the race route, discover the secret tradition that has been passed down through generations of Thames watermen (river workers), and learn all about Doggett’s fascinating past and the fight to keep this special rowing race alive for 315 years.

Journey back to a time when rowing was the domain of wherrymen (the water-taxi drivers of their day), who raced for high-stake wagers, drawing crowds of thousands along the banks of the Thames. Discover Thomas Doggett and the young river apprentices who competed to win his prestigious red coat and badge, and still do so today.

Our journey afloat will chart the changing landscape of rowing on the Thames; through the closure of the docks and the decline of river industries, to the rise of rowing as a leisure sport, and the rift between ‘gentlemen amateur’ and ‘professional’ rowers. As we approach the finish line, our guests will talk about what working on the river means today, and discuss the continued significance the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge has in the rivers apprenticeship system. This is an opportunity to hear from those fighting to keep rowing at the heart of the working river, and to ensure competitive rowing is a sport that is always open to all.

Essential information:

  • If you have access requirements [javascript protected email address] or call 020 7928 8998.