Tees Rowing Club

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(With grateful thanks to Chris Kenyon for compilation)

On 16th June of this year The Stockton and Hartlepool Mercury and Middlesbrough News reports “Tees Amateur Boat Club – a club of this description has recently been formed in Stockton with the double object of providing a pleasant pastime and a useful relaxation to its members”.

President: Joseph Dodds. Captain: G.N. Duck. Hon Sec: John Trotter.

On the 6th March the first Annual General Meeting of Tees ABC is held at The Black Lion Hotel, Stockton. The club has 39 ordinary, 3 honorary and 9 life members. The first “Tees Regatta” is held on Thursday June 22nd. The poster for this event, kindly donated by past TRC Secretary Malcolm Lambert, hangs in the bar of the River Tees Watersports Centre.

Rivals appear on the River Tees in the form of Middlesbrough Amateur Boating Club whose boathouse is some 3 miles downstream in the Newport area of that town. At this time the lowest river crossing is at Stockton Bridge - now the site of the present Victoria Bridge at Stockton. The two clubs regularly race each other on the Tees. The Stockton course being from Thornaby Wood to the Tees Boathouse, a distance of about one mile whilst the Middlesbrough course is over a similar distance on Billingham Reach. Old programmes in the Tees archives indicate that these were well attended events.

From Bell's Life 25th Aug 1866: T. Nicholson of the Tees Rowing Club, Stockton, will row anyone belonging to Sunderland in 12 foot boats for from £25 to £50 a side and will give reasonable expenses to row on the Tees. A match can be made at Mr. M. Newton’s Rokeby Hotel, South Stockton (now Thornaby-on-Tees).

From Bell's Life 25th Aug 1866: W. Nicholson will row any of the defeated men at the Tees Regatta for £5 or £10 a side. A match can be made at Mr. Newton’s Rokeby Hotel, South Stockton (now Thornaby-on-Tees).

Believed to be the first recorded win by the Tees club – RW Bolsover, S Holmes, JH Tarleton, JF Roberts and J Nicholson (cox) win the Stewards Plate at Durham Regatta.

Tees win the Ladies Plate at York

“Stockton Amateur Rowing Club” hold their Annual Dinner at The Argyle Hotel on 18th October. Ticket price is 5/- (25p).

“Stockton Amateur Rowing Club” hold their Annual Dinner at The Argyle Hotel on 30th October. Tickets cost 5/- (25p). On 27th January the club buys from The Ecclesiastical Commissioners the 782 sq. yard site on which its boathouse stands. The price is £117.6s. (£117. 30p). It will occupy this site continuously until 2001 when the club moves to The River Tees Watersports Centre, - Ed).

President: John Trotter. Captain: JH Tarleton. Hon Sec: WJ Gray. Hon Treas: GE Pybus. The AGM is held at The Argyle Hotel. Tees win The York Challenge Cup. The Joint Secretaries for Tees Amateur Regatta held on 7th July are R Wilson Bolsover and one Mr Albert deLande Long – no less a person than a former winner of the Wingfield Sculls while with London RC who subsequently was one of the joint founders of Dorman Long Ltd., builders of the Sydney Harbour and Tyne Bridges.

Tees win York Sculls

Tees win the Stewards and the City Members Plate at Durham. A joint Tees ABC/Middlesbrough ABC regatta is held at Yarm in August. The course is from the bend below the Friarage to the bend below Yarm Bridge (the same course is to be used in 1957 when the first post war Tees Regatta is held).

Tyne Pairs is won.

The Corporation Challenge Cup is won at Durham Regatta.

A fund opened in September to buy a new racing four raises £39. 4/- (£39.20p) - just over the cost of the boat.

Tees win The Mayors Plate at Durham

President: George Thompson. Captain: ? Hon Sec/Treas: T.R.G.Rowland. The club wins The Lady Herschell Plate at Durham Regatta and also races in The Corporation Challenge Cup and The Mayors Plate. The club’s entry in The Lady Anne Lambton Plate is disqualified by the regatta committee on the grounds that two of the crew had previously been in the Tees Cup winning crew. An appeal by the club to The Amateur Rowing Association is successful. The ARA rule that as the Tees and Ironmasters Cups are matches which, as at present rowed, are confined to TABC and MABC and therefore the Durham Regatta Committee decision was wrong. A club dinner dance is held on Friday December 12th at The Borough Hall, Stockton-on-Tees. Tickets, including supper, are priced at 10/6 (52.5 p) for a double ticket, 7/- (35 p) for gentlemen and 3/6 (17.5 p) for ladies. (A splendid photographic portrait of George Thompson JP and the 1902 Durham Regatta programme are filed in the Tees RC archives)

Wins are recorded in Junior Sculls and The Oswald Plate at Durham and in The Cutter Race at Sunderland.

The Lady Anne Lambton Plate is won at Durham.

President: F Brown (Mayor of Stockton). In February a Whist Drive is held at The Masonic Hall attended by 200 “ladies and gentlemen”. The Summer Fours are held in June over a half mile course. Tees beat Middlesbrough for the Tees Cup after “a ding dong race”. Fifty members and friends attend the closing fours which are held at Yarm on September 15th. Five crews compete. Tea is served afterwards at The Black Bull Hotel followed by a Smoker. A large crowd watch a professional sculling match between J H Walker of Thornaby and Harry Atkinson of Chester-le-Street which is held over a half a mile course at Stockton for £25 a side. Walker wins by one and a half lengths although the betting was 11/10 on Atkinson.

The Oswald Plate is won at Durham and The Cutter Race at Tyne “At Home”. The challenge race with Middlesbrough ABC for the Tees Challenge Cup is raced over the Thornaby High Wood to Railway Bridge Course, a distance of approximately 1.25 miles. MABC win by “4 yards”. Tees are also beaten by MABC in the Ironmasters Challenge Cup race. The Northern Athlete reports that “afterwards they smilingly departed for their annual fishing excursion to the mouth of the Tees ....where they had a royal time. They indulged in such sports as “cockle spotting” and water polo “in birthday costumes only”. Although the club can’t relieve their Middlesbrough brethren of the Tees and Ironmasters Cups they are not downhearted. Life with them has its compensations”. The season’s closing fours are held at Yarm where a capital day’s sport is enjoyed in charming conditions before a fairly large crowd of spectators.

President: Ald. G. Thompson. Captain: T.R.G. Rowland. Hon Sec: Hon Treas: W.C. Willis. Tees ABC and Middlesbrough ABC hold their Joint “At Home” Regatta on the Tees course on Saturday July 25th. Programmes are priced at 2d (say 1p). Photos of Tees sculler G Iredale and the Tees Ironmasters winning crew are published in that night’s Sports Gazette. A Supper and Smoker is held at The Royal Hotel, High Street, Stockton promoted jointly with Middlesbrough ABC and also attended by representatives of other sports bodies including Mr. H.T. James of the Neptune Club, Mr. C. McAdams of the Richmond Meet, Mr. C.L. Townsend, Captain of Norton Cricket Club and Mr. J. Nattrass of Stockton Automobile Club. T.R.G. Rowland of Tees ABC in responding to a toast to the club remarked that “the proper way to popularise the sport would be to form a Federation of Northern Amateur Rowing Clubs”. G Iredale wins the prestigious Black Diamond Challenge Cup at Tyne Regatta.

The opening fours are held on May 8th – a photo of a Tees crew is published on line in the Picture Stockton Archive. An outstanding season – we win The Black Diamond Challenge Cup and Maiden (Novice) Fours at Tyne Regatta, Junior Fours at Tyne “At Home” and The Grand Challenge Cup at Durham. (It will be 75 years before Tees win it again).