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The World’s Oldest Boat Race

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

Since 1715, the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge has been passionately rowed by apprentice river workers on the Thames. It is believed to be the oldest continually competed sporting event in the world. Despite its fascinating history, little of Doggett’s is documented and it has long been overshadowed by the much more famous Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race.

This year, Totally Thames will delve into a tradition passed down through generations of Thames watermen with a series of outdoor exhibitions.

Using recorded oral histories, photographic portraits by Hydar Dewachi, and 100 years of archive material made publicly accessible for the first time, The World’s Oldest Boat Race brings to life this hidden history at the heart of London. It encompasses stories of family pride and family rivalry, and a passion that kept Doggett’s race alive through two World Wars, a schism between ‘gentlemen amateur’ and ‘professional’ rowers, the decline of the docks and a fast-changing capital.


  • Riverside Walkway, Queens Walk by Millennium Bridge, Sat 18 Aug – Sun 30 Sep
  • Find us aboard the MBNA Thames Clippers boat, Tornado Clipper, Tue 28 Aug – Sun 30 Sep
  • Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE, Sat 8 – Mon 24 Sep

This project is delivered in partnership with London Metropolitan Archives, The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers’ and The Company of Watermen and Lightermen.