The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, 1829-

April 11 2015

The 161st race was today. It has been annual since 1856, except for 1915-19 and 1940-45. All except the first have been rowed in London. Oxford have won 79, Cambridge 81, 1877 was a dead heat. HistoryList of results.

The first report in The Times was on April 4 1839 after the third race; the Cambridge win, by 35 lengths, was the strongest in the entire series; Melbourne (Trinity, Cambridge) was prime minister:

Times, 1839 04 04

“Off the penitentiary” refers to Millbank Prison.

“Searle laid down the winning boat; King, of Oxford, that in which the vanquished pulled.” Laid down means designed or built. Searle was a London boathouse. It is mentioned earlier in the piece.

April 16 1840: “It is not a little refreshing to the real lovers of old English sports and manly exercise to find these sorts of amusements beginning to supersede the swindling, dangerous and absurd practice of steeple chasing – things merely got up by publicans and horsedealers to pillage the unwary and enrich themselves.”

Many races are on Pathé, including some of the unofficial wartime ones in the ’40s, which were held outside London and aren’t in the record. Here are the 1939 crews:

4 Responses to “The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, 1829-”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    “Mounted on fine cattle”: in the language of the stable, cattle could mean horses. The word is related to chattels.

  2. davidderrick Says:

    1877 was the year Wimbledon began.

    The first women’s rowing event between Oxford and Cambridge was held in 1927. Before 1935, it was not a race, as the two boats were not on the river together and were judged mainly on style. Until 2014 it was held in Henley and perhaps elsewhere. In 2015, it was held on the same course and on the same day as the traditional male event for the first time.


  3. […] The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, 1829- […]


  4. […] The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, 1829- […]


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