The club's exact beginnings are hard to pinpoint. The first notes of a boat club are made in the 'Hartley University College Student's Handbook' 1904/05, in which is remarked 'Unfortunately the college has no boats of its own, but...Indulgence in this sport is a welcome variation, and the extent to which it is followed leaves no doubt as to its popularity.' Boats were therefore hired from a separate establishment at the following prices - 'Single sculls, 4.5 d. per hour, Double Sculls 9d. per hour'.
Handbooks from the next few years show that the club's luck soon changed, as 'Previous to the boating season of 1906 the College was unfortunate in possessing no boats of its own, but now the purchase of a gig has been sanctioned and rules for its use will be pushed each season.' It would seem that more oarsmen were joining, as there is mention of creating competitions against other close establishments.
As the handbook writes, 'Boating is a past time which affords pleasure to all temperaments - the energetic tyro rejoices in the production of perspiration, blisters and crabs, whilst the toil-worn worker finds it a soothing task to loll in the stern with the guide lines or to lie listening to the gentle gurgles of the water in the bows.' To be continued...
Unfortunately much of our history has been lost or forgotten. If you know anything about the club's past, please contact us.