Tees Rowing Club
(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).
The Ironmasters Cup is won. A press report on Tees Regatta (run jointly by Tees ABC and Middlesbrough ABC) comments on the “absence of any effective organisation” and makes a number of constructive suggestions. These include siting the enclosure at either the start or the finish rather than in the middle of the course. At Durham Regatta we win Jubilee Sculls, The Lady Anne Lambton Plate beating Bede College in the final and The Mayor’s Plate beating Durham (City) in the final. A club photograph which includes 21 members and the trophies is taken in George Thompson’s garden at 16 The Green, Norton. (This photo is in excellent condition and is in the Tees RC archives).
President: Coun. Walter Thompson. Captain: T.R.G. Rowland. Hon Sec: Thomas Dent. Hon Treas: Harold Walton. Membership: 69 Ordinary members, 36 Life Members. G Iredale the club’s senior sculler establishes an amateur record for the north by winning the Championships of the Wear (Durham Regatta), the Tyne (Tyne ARC Regatta), The Ouse (York Regatta), the Tees (Tees and Middlesbrough Joint Regatta). Wins are also recorded at Durham in the Lady Anne Lambton Plate and at Tyne in Senior Strakes. The club Autumn Fours are held at Yarm but racing has to be abandoned when a rigger on one of the club boats breaks. The club instigates meetings of all the amateur clubs in the north with a view to fixing regatta dates. In effect this is the founding of what we now know as the Northern Rowing Council. Chairman is John Wallace of Tyne ARC and Officers are T.R.G. Rowland, T.E. Dent and H. Walton of Tees ABC.
President: Coun. Walter Thompson. Captain: T.R.G. Rowland. Hon Sec and Treas: Thomas Dent. G Iredale offers his skiff for sale. The club Captain buys it for £6 “to prevent it passing out of the club”. Club Vice President Frank Brown is knighted. An idea to raise funds for boat purchase by raffling a gold watch is abandoned when it is found to be illegal. At York we win The York Challenge Cup, at Tyne The Percy Challenge Cup and at Tynemouth The Open Sculling Race.
President: T.R.G. Rowland. Captain: Fred Thompson. Hon Sec and Treas: Thomas Dent. Burglaries and wear and tear almost totally depletes the stock of towels at the boathouse. The matter is placed in the hands of the Captain and Vice Captain. Eight crews race at the Spring Fours on Opening Day. Thomas Dent resigns as Hon Sec/Treas to take up an appointment in New York, USA. The side of the boathouse is damaged by “cinder pickers who break off some of the lats. A letter is sent to the Police Superintendant reporting the damage and asking them to “see that the place is looked after during the close season”. The club agrees to allow Messrs. James and Bulmer to store a canoe in the boathouse but declines their request for a key as this “would establish a dangerous precedent”. They are told that they must follow existing practice of collecting it from The Alexandra. (A pub at in Bridge Road opposite the end of Boathouse Lane).
President: Ald. B Stephenson, Captain: Fred Thompson. Hon Sec and Treas: Chas Atkin. The Club’s 50th Anniversary of its founding. A history of the club is prepared by the Hon. Secretary and published in the Sports Gazette (a copy of this is in the Tees RC archives). At Tees Regatta we win The Ironmasters Challenge Cup beating Middlesbrough ABC for a record seventh successive year. The Tees crew is W.L. Kingdom, A.F.L. Green, H. Wintersgill, G.H. Rowland and J.R. Gillies (cox). The Middlesbrough crew includes Alf Tomlinson – later to become President of Tees ARC. Tees also win the Tees Cup. There is a good attendance of ladies and gentlemen and the Thornaby Scout Band is in attendance. Henry Wright retires after 33 years as Boatman. Members subscribe to and present him with a silver mounted pipe and case, the balance of the £7 raised was given in a purse. Henry Walker of 78 Buchanan Street is appointed as Boatman for a one year trial period at the rate of ten shillings (50p) per week. The Captain and Secretary are asked to draw up a list of duties for him. (So - Nothing new about Job Descriptions) Heavy tides and fresh water damage the boathouse steps. W.H. Barry applies to join the club. Decision deferred pending advice from Amateur Rowing Association in respect of his “amateur status”. ARA replies that “if Barry lost his amateur status since serving his apprenticeship he could not compete at any ARA regatta”. TABC respond to the ARA by saying that Barry was called before the committee and assured them that he had not lost his amateur status. Accordingly he was elected to membership “providing the ARA do not advise to the contrary as he complies with our local rules the same as other members”. What is then termed “The European War” breaks out. (It was only many years later that it was referred to as “The First World War”). The Hon Sec is asked to write to the Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees and “offer the use of our premises for any purpose that it may be found useful for during the present crisis. The club decides to “join the Cricket Club in offering their help to the Authorities should it be found necessary to defend the town in case of withdrawal of the Territorial Force”. Soldiers guarding the Railway Bridge take up the offer to use the club’s Dressing Room and Bathroom. Regattas are cancelled owing to the outbreak of war.
President: Ald. B Thompson (Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees). Captain: Fred Thompson. Hon Sec and Treas: Chas Atkin. A significant entry in the minutes confirms that there were two rowing clubs on the Tees at Stockton. Two fours are offered for sale to the club by “The Stockton and Thornaby Rowing Club” - a professional club. The price is £17- 10s (£17.50) to include a set of oars. Sadly it would appear that the professional club has to sell up and close to “meet their accounts”. The Northern Amateur Rowing Council cancels all regattas for the season.
President: Ald. B. Stephenson. Captain: Fred Thompson. Hon Sec and Treas: Chas Atkin. Members serving in the armed forces are elected to Honorary Membership. An approach is received from Mr B. Wren, formerly Secretary of Stockton and Thornaby Rowing Club who wishes to know if he could join the club to store his skiff and use the landing so that he can continue his training as a professional rower. The Committee “would not entertain this proposition”. Reports are received of members being killed and wounded in action. The boathouse is only open at weekends.
President: Ald. B. Stephenson. Captain: Fred Thompson. Hon Sec and Treas: Chas Atkin. The management of the club is left in the hands of the Captain and Vice Captain if they are unable to assemble a quorum of Committee Members. The boathouse is open for June and July. 29 members are “serving under the King’s Colours”. With so many members away an appeal for funds is made to the Vice Presidents (who presumably are non sub paying) to contribute in place of the absent members. This produced a good response.
President: Ald. B. Stephenson. Captain: Fred Thompson. Hon Sec and Treas: Chas Atkin. The club bought the site on which the boathouse stands in 1875 with the aid of a mortgage of £180. In view of the shortage of members difficulty is encountered in making repayments on the now outstanding balance of £120. T.R.G. Rowland generously not only takes over the mortgage but also declines any interest on repayments. An appeal is launched to raise funds to redeem the mortgage “before the boys come home”. The war ends on 11th November. Honours boards are created to recognise those members who had been killed in the war – sadly these no longer exist.
President: Coun. Walter Thompson. Captain: G.H. Rowland. Hon Sec and Treas: Chas Atkin. The club wins Maiden Fours (now known as Novice Fours - Ed) at York At Home Regatta. It is reported that the Railway Company damaged in transit a pair of sculling blades beyond repair. (For many years club boats and oars were carried by rail). O. Johnson is in the Cambridge 2nd Crew. He states that it was due to the good rowing he had had while a member of TABC. The boathouse and contents are insured for £1000. Rowing and sculling races are held as part of the Peace Celebrations. The mortgage is paid off in September. A Dinner at The Royal Hotel is proposed in celebration of this and the return of members from the war.
President: T.R.G. Rowland. Captain: G.H. Rowland. Hon Sec: J. Pettigrew. Hon Treas: Chas Atkin The joint Tees / Middlesbrough Regatta is held on the Tees course on Saturday July 31st under ARA Rules. Programme price is 6d (2.5p). Season closes with 39 Life members and 89 Ordinary members.
President: Ald. J.McNaughton. Captain: Con Sec: Jas. Pettigrew. Hon Treas: Chas. B Atkin. The club has 72 Ordinary members. The President presents the club with The Mayors Cup to be presented to the winner of the Club Handicap Sculls.
President: Ald. J. McNaughton. Captain: T.E. Dent. Hon Sec: Ed. Plumley. Hon Treas: W. Dent. The joint TABC / MABC regatta is held on the Tees course on July 8th. It is a financial failure owing to “wretched weather experienced on the day”. Two new Strake Fours and two new Pleasure Boats are bought.
President: Ald. J. McNaughton. Captain: Hon Sec: Thomas Jobling Jr. Hon Treas: W Dent. Electric lighting is installed at the boathouse and improvements are made to the dressing room and bathroom. The Annual Ball organised by The Lady Members of the Dance Committee raises £21 – the “Secretary is instructed to inform them of the club’s appreciation of their services”.
President: Ald. J. McNaughton. Captain: Hon Sec. Thomas Jobling Jr. Hon Treas: NH Thompson. The club insurance policy with the Car and General Insurance Corporation Ltd includes “the building of a boathouse and dressing rooms timber built and roofed lighted by electric light and heated occasionally by a pipe stove....Boats oars and other contents” The building is insured for £1200 and the boats and blades for £700. The premium payable is £5. It is interesting to note that the terms of the policy specifically prohibit “repairing, making or varnishing of boats in said building.
President: Ald. J. McNaughton. Captain: J. Hughill. Hon Sec: Thomas Jobling Jr. Hon Treas: N.M. Thompson A tub pair is purchased. A club regatta is held to celebrate the “Railway Centenary”.
President: G.H. Rowland. Captain: James Hugill. Hon Sec: J. Wighton. Ho Treas: B. Johnston. On Club Ladies day a picnic is held at Yarm. Members travel on a loaned launch, club pleasure and racing boats
President: G.H. Rowland. Captain: James Hugill. Hon Sec: J. Wighton. Hon Treas: B. Johnston. The Ironmasters Cup is offered for open competition and is won by Tyne ARC. Ordinary members number 36. A pair of gum boots is purchased for the boatman to “facilitate the launching of crews”.
President: G.H. Rowland, Captain: D.G. Murphy, Hon Sec: L.F. Clark. Hon Treas: J. Wighton. Scholars of 16 years of age and over at the Grammar and Secondary Schools are invited to come to the club to practice rowing. The Rateable Value of the club is increased by 50% to £15 – an appeal is made. Durham ARC win the Ironmasters Cup.
President: G.H. Rowland. Captain: R. Johnston. Hon Sec / Treas: L.F. Clark. The appeal against the increased rateable value is successful and the figure reduced to £7. It is common practice for clubs to close in the autumn and reopen in the spring. Quite literally the clubs were closed and there was no activity. In the June minutes, it is recorded that it was agreed that “the boathouse be opened upon two evenings per week during the close season”.
President: James Hugill. Captain: J. Waller. Hon Sec / Treas: J Bainbridge. Middlesbrough ABC lose their boathouse to the building of the Tees (Newport) Bridge. They receive £200 compensation. The Northern Amateur Rowing Council discuss whether Maiden (Novice) races should be rowed in sliding seat boats. It was agreed that while this would be more comfortable physically it “was not calculated to improve the standard of rowing in Maiden races”.
President: J. Hugill. Captain: J. Waller. Hon Sec and Treas: L.J. Herrell. The club has 35 Life Members and 23 Ordinary members. Concern is expressed at the AGM of the poor financial state of the club, the dilapidated condition of the boats and the distinct loss of interest in the welfare of the club. It must be remembered that the UK was in the throes of a depression. It is agreed to reduce the Boatman’s wages from 15/- (75p) per week to 5/- (25p) per week and to reduce his attendance at the boathouse to two days per week. To encourage more senior members the entrance fee paid on joining in addition to the annual subscription is abolished. The facility to pay subs in instalments is introduced. Moves are made to amalgamate with Middlesbrough ABC on a temporary basis until they were able to find new premises.
President: H. Wintersgill. Captain: J.L. Tait. Hon Sec /Treas: L.J. Herrell. The idea of holding a regular open regatta at Yarm is raised with the NARC. The Blue Bell is to be approached to provide “stripping accommodation”.
President: H. Wintersgill. Captain: E.P.Johnston. Hon Sec / Treas: S.R.Mellen. T.Kelly of Pine Grove is appointed Boatman. Ordinary members number 40. Regatta wins are achieved at Durham, Tynemouth, Berwick, Tyne Joint and Talkin Tarn but Tees Regatta is cancelled owing to lack of entries.
President: J.C.H.Booth. Captain: E.P.Johnston. Hon Sec / Treas: S.Roxburgh. A Workmen’s’ Compensation Insurance Policy is taken out covering claims for injury which may be suffered by the Boatman. The annual premium is 16s 3d (81p) covering wages of £20 pa. Printing and stationary services are provided by John W Baker of Finkle Street, Stockton, a business association which continues until well into the 1970s. Membership comprises 34 life members and 38 Ordinary members. Wins include The Palmer Grand at Tyne. With Middlesbrough ABC inactive a legal agreement is drawn up in which MABC as the owners of the Ironmasters, Middlesbrough and Mason Cups agree to lend them to Tees ABC. Various conditions are attached including that all three trophies shall be competed for at open regattas. It is stressed that the loan is temporary. (As will be seen later MABC subsequently amalgamated with Tees ABC to form Tees ARC and so the agreement was no longer relevant).
President: J.C.H.Booth. Captain: J.G.Lewis. Hon Sec / Treas: S.Roxburgh. Wins include the Tyne General Ferry and The Ironmasters. Winter tides and storms damage the landing. A new set of 4 oars is bought from Aylings for £10. The Boatman’s wages are raised to 6/- (80p) per week. The landing is in a very poor state of repair making boat launching difficult – “a large amount of voluntary effort from members will be necessary”.
President: H.Martin. Captain: J.G.Lewis. Hon Sec: W.A.Stainsby. Hon Treas: J.J.Henderson. An Amateur Boxing Tournament and a Supper dance are held to raise funds but although successful as events the financial outcome is break even.
President: H.Martin. Captain: T.Clark. Hon Sec: W.A.Stainsby. Hon Treas: J.J.Henderson (later R.W.Whitehead). A NARC meeting is attended at which Mr Tugwell outlined the situation on grants under the National Physical Fitness Campaign. The Hon Treas resigns as he is leaving the district and is replaced by R W Whitehead.
President: T.Jobling. Captain: J.S.Brown. Hon Sec: W.A.Stainsby. Hon Treas: R.W.Whitehead. The club’s 75th Anniversary of its founding. Discussions continue with Middlesbrough ABC about some form of “fusion” although it seems that MABC would wish to retain their “entity”. Frank Hall, later to be a long serving President of Tees ARC, led discussions on behalf of MABC. It is recorded that a number of MABC members are already rowing with TABC. Arrangements are made with the National ARA for Ernest Barry to spend the month of June coaching at the club for a fee of £10. He is welcomed at a by the Mayor at a Smoker held at The Black Lion. His visit is a great success and the club’s standard of rowing is improved. War breaks out in Europe.
President: T.Jobling. Captain: J.S.Brown. Hon Sec / Treas: S.Mellin. Finances are poor. It is suggested that recruitment could be directed at RAF Thornaby and other local H.M. Forces as well as schools. Arrangements are made for the club trophies to be placed in safe keeping. – Minute 2nd March 1940 “Owing to heavy weather the club premises in Boathouse Lane collapsed and the meeting was called to discuss the necessary steps to be taken. It was resolved that the boathouse be offered for sale.” (This was the building itself not the site on which its remains stood).
1941 – 1942
No rowing activity at Tees ABC.
A meeting of members at the Boathouse agreed that the building should be dismantled and realised forthwith. Mr J H Wiley of Norton Road to undertake this work, paying himself out of the proceeds with any surplus going to club funds. Mr Fred Thompson undertook to store the record boards and oars at his works. When the site is cleared it is to be railed round and a notice to be erected “Trespassers to be prosecuted”.
A meeting at the Boathouse site. Mr Wiley reported that he had left the Dressing Room firmly boarded up. Since the last meeting most of it had gone and also the contents. Resolved the whole site be cleared and the offer of £10 from Mr Wiley for the timber be accepted.
A meeting at 51 High Street, Stockton. It is confirmed that the site is completely cleared. Agreed to loan it to the Sea Cadets at a nominal rent of 2/6 per year until TABC need it. The club’s trophies are stored at Barclays Bank, Stockton.
1946 - 1950
Middlesbrough add their cash assets to the assets of Tees ABC to form Tees Amateur Rowing Club. By then the Tees assets were only a site as their timber boathouse had collapsed during the war. Pre-war stalwarts such as Frank Hall and his business partner Alf Tomlinson lead the club's reformation.... An old army hut is acquired, equipment begged and borrowed and members recruited.
This photo is believed to have been taken at a Regatta at Hartlepool in either 1955 or 1956. Recognisable are Roger Chicken, John Goody, Roy Smith, David Storry, John Baker, John Roe, Peter "Pop" Allen, Colin Clinkard,and Neil Simmons of Tees ARC and Harry Keightley of the Dockers.
By 1999 no less than five of them had served as Club President. The photo is Copyright of The Northern Echo and is no.10957(2). We wonder if they can identify it and relate it to a story in their archives? Watch this space......
Tees Dockers and Grangefield Grammar School are also active.... Old clinker Eight acquired - it's name "Mary S.Johnstone" is retained. (This boat may have come from Thames Tradesmen RC in London - we believe that Mary was their Treasurer/benefactor for many years).
Tees RC and Tees Dockers each score 3 wins. Tees Regatta is held at Yarm - the first regatta on the river since 1939. Two clinker sculling boats are bought - named "Alexandra" and "Ship" after TRC watering holes.
George Harrison is Captain of Tees Dockers.
Plans are discussed to replace the wooden boathouse with a larger and more permanent structure.
From L-R: Andrew Verney, John Hilton, John Baker, Tony Frost, John Heron, David Storry, Brian Lewis, Alan Parsons and Tim Wilson. One of our double sculls was named after John Hilton's wife Frances; John Baker, who died tragically young in 1968, was one of the driving forces in building the present boathouse; John Heron coached the Veteran E 4+ and Alan Parsons rowed in it; David Storry was a Past President of Tees R C; Brian Lewis moved the north west and regularly umpired there; Tim Wilson, a Vice President lived in Putney where he was a member of Thames R.C. Sadly we do not know the whereabouts of Andrew Verney or Tony Frost.
In today's terms this crew, coached by Club Captain John Hilton, went from Novice to Senior 1 in consecutive regattas winning at York Spring, Tees, Tyne at Home and York Summer. L-R: John Baker, Tony Frost, John Heron, Andrew Verney and Alan Parsons. 41 years later Alan and John H were reunited in the TRC Veteran E crew.
New Edwin Phelps sectional coxed four purchased. This boat is believed to have been one of the first sectioned racing boats. A purpose built trailer was also bought to transport it. The four is named "The Black Bull" after the pub in Yarm. Some would say aptly as it acquired a reputation for being strong but heavy in terms of both weight and gearing. Later the gearing is lightened by the simple expedient of cutting the riggers in half and welding in sleeves to increase the span by no less than 50mm (2"). Eventually the boat was sold to St. Andrew's University. Does it still exist?......The trailer does. It was sold to a college in Durham and was last seen at the back of DARC's camp site looking rather sorry for itself. Perhaps it should be rescued and donated to The River and Rowing Museum.....
TRC win their first Eights Trophy at Tyne Regatta.
A quiet year. Fund raising in progress. Old shell Eight purchased. Sawn in three before the very eyes of its previous owners (ULBC?) as a preliminary to DIY sectioning by Brian Lewis the TRC Hon. Boatwarden. The boat named "The Bay Horse" after the pub in Hutton Rudby.
Death of Club President Alf Tomlinson after a lifetime's involvement in the sport on Teesside. He joined Middlesbrough ABC in 1912 and was Captain in 1920, led the search for new premises and subsequently the amalgamatiom with Tees RC.
Planning permission obtained for new boathouse - estimated cost on a mainly DIY basis was £4000.
Work starts on new boathouse on Easter Saturday. Steel frame built over old boathouse so that rowing activity can continue. Main part completed by Christmas. Eric Colwell retires after a total of 35 years as Hon. Treasurer of MABC and TRC.
Centenary Year. The present boathouse, built largely by the members is opened by the then MP for Stockton, Bill Rogers (now Lord Rogers) - you may remember him as one of the "Gang of Four" who broke away from the Labour Party and eventually evolved into the Liberal Democrats.
Changing rooms, showers and WCs added to boathouse. Grangefield Grammar School again become active on the river.
First recorded Veteran win (Tim Wilson, Roy Smith, David Storry and Jim Brownlow at Dumfries). Construction of two man rowing tank started.
Lots of races - no wins. Novice crew goes off to Universities.
One of the joys of writing this history is to find that it has reached and been welcomed by former Tees members some of whom have not been heard from for many years. One such "lost sheep" is Chris Little who was one of the crew of Grangefield Grammar School students introduced to the club in the mid 1960s by John Green. The photo above, taken at Durham Regatta, is of the Tees Novice 4+ in which Chris and others from Grangefield were joined in their gap year by Phil Stephenson. Chris recalls rowing down an enormous RAF crew and then being knocked out by Imperial College, the eventual winners, in the Durham Novice event. It is believed this crew comprises: Chris Little (bow), Arthur Pearce? (2), Geoff Hodson (3), Phil Stephenson (str) and Wilf Ashman (cox).
Death of John Baker, former club Captain and leader of the "build a new boathouse team". Tim Wilson of Tees RC elected Divisional Representative on reconstituted ARA Council.
David Cruttenden of Tees wins Cambridge UBC blue. Bequest from John Baker, donation from retiring President Tom Nattrass and a Government Grant enable an order for 2 Restricted Fours, 2 Restricted Sculls and a Tub Pair to be placed with Banhams of Cambridge plus 12 Oars and 3 pairs of sculls from Aylings.
On April 25th the new boats are named. The fours "John Baker" and "Tom Nattrass", the sculls "Alf Tomlinson" and "Frank Hall" and the Tub Pair "Eric Colwell". David Cruttenden elected President of Cambridge UBC. Geoff Potts starts his sculling career at Tees RC.
Replacement coaching launch and engine purchased with funds raised via sponsored row.....Tees RC appoints Chris Kenyon as its first Publicity Officer.
Tees R C Senior 3 4+
(From bow) - Jim Wolsey, Dave Sandland, Mike Warnock and Mike Firby with cox Ashley Graham(?) won Senior 3 Fours at Wear Regatta in 1971 but are probably remembered as much for the difference in height between stroke and three with Mike W. standing at 6'4" (1.93m) and Mike F at 5'4" (1.62m). Despite this - or perhaps because of it - this was a tidy crew as the photo (taken at York) shows. Jim is now living in Durham, Mike F, although now living in Paris, is a regular visitor to the UK, has renewed his Tees membership, races now and then with our vets and racks his single scull at Tees.
Teesside Polytechnic (now University of Teesside RC) take their first tentative strokes led by lecturer David Carter. Tees RC Vice President Gerald D Cochrane joins us at the Annual Dinner. He is believed to be the oldest living "rowing blue" having rowed for Cambridge in 1906. Tees Long Distance Sculls first held as an invitation event. Won by Rolf Munding of DUBC.
Tees RC 1st Four
Winners of S1 at Tyne at Home and Durham and Elite at York Summer (The Londesborough). The crew - Bob Robinson, Phil Stephenson, John Lund, Chris Kenyon and cox Ashley Graham are in the club's only shell four at the time, "The Black Bull". Bob has since retired but maintains a keen interest in the club as a Life Member. John became Vicar of Hart Village - went on to become a successful coach of Durham ARC Juniors.
Tees Dockers RC reactivated. Tees Long Distance Sculls becomes an annual event.
The club takes delivery of it's first new shell four since the Black Bull in 1959. Built by Roland Sims of Nottingham it is named "John Baker II". Geoff Potts, now at Durham ARC, selected as Gt. Britain Lightweight Single Sculler at World Rowing Champs. in Lucerne. First time that these championships include events for lightweights. Geoff wins the first ever WRC lightweight race and finishes 4th overall.
Full members subs rise to £10 per annum.
Tees RC 3rd in NE League. Tees Dockers cease activities. John Roe retires after 14 yrs. as Hon. Treasurer.
An Historic Crew - the 1977 Tees RC Women's Four
This was the first known Tees RC Women's crew to race at a regatta. Not only did they race, they won - at York Spring, Chester le Street and Hexham. Pictured L-R are Linda Hall, Lynn Feltoe, Lynn Lee and Judy Preece. The cox was David Rice. (For photo of him see 1978 W4+). Linda, now Mrs. Thomas, lives in Wargrave just across the road from former Tyne member Brian Armstrong. She is still rowing and her daughter Bethan won two J15 silver medals at Nat Champs in 2000. Lynn Lee is the mum of Amelia Jayne Lee - local osteopath and repairer of Tees RC members aches and pains. Lynn Feltoe and husband Colin, who also rowed at Tees now live in New Zealand and have been in touch having found the web site.
Bill Kearsey and Jemima
Bill was one of the influx of new members in the late 1970s who did so much to revive the club's fortunes. In 1977 he won single sculls at Durham, Chester le Street and Cambois. Seen here in action at Tynemouth Regatta on Killingworth Lake. The boat is Jemima Puddle-Duck built by Edwin Phelps and owned by Chris Kenyon from new in 1969 to 1979. At Lucerne in 1974 this boat, sculled by former Tees member Geoff Potts, won the first ever Lightweight World Championships race. Geoff just missed out on the medals finishing fourth in the final.
Stockton Regatta reintroduced having last been held in 1939. Sponsored by Stockton Borough Council and Evening Gazette. Tees member Chris Kenyon succeeds Ron Bradbeer of Tyne RC as ARA Divisional Representative.
Naming of John N Roe
With the purchase of a new Ray Sims coxed four in 1978, it was fitting that it should be named after long serving former Hon. Treasurer and Past President John Row. Our photo shows John about to cox the boat having performed the naming ceremony.
Women members invited to attend Club Dinner for the first time.
Tees RC Women's Four
Pictured after winning at Tyne Regatta are L-R: Judy Preece, Lynn Feltoe, Fran Hawkins, Judith Aitchison and cox David Rice. Lynn emigrated to Canada with rowing husband Colin and family, both Fran and Judith married Tees rowers - Bill Kearsey and David Carter respectively. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Judy and David? The boat is The Collingwood - a Tees RC clinker four named after the pub in Trafalgar Street, Thornaby at which we used to have our committee meetings. The landlady was Mrs. Eva Maiden, the daughter of "Nutty" Walker, a professional sculler and athlete.
Champions of the North East of England.
Led by Club Captain David Carter Tees RC are rewarded for a sustained period of determined and organised training in the gym and on the water - we win the Page Pennant - a trophy presented to ARA Division One by Freddie Page, Honorary Secretary of the Amateur Rowing Association, to encourage competition between the clubs. Bought coxed four "Tim Wilson", restricted four "The Borough of Stockton-on-Tees" and Avon coaching launch and engine. First VIII finishes 43rd in Tideway Head.
First Tees RC entry at Henley Royal Regatta
Thames Cup 1979 - Beat York City RC in the first round, lost to Kingston RC in the second round and gained valuable experience. The crew (from bow): Peter Mackfall, Martin Rawson, Tony McMaster, Graham Calvert, David Carter, Dennis O'Neill, Shaun Wanless, John Inman and cox Gary Bettinson.
The last Yarm Regatta is held.
Winning at Bradford
Winning what would now be termed Senior 1 are a Tees crew containing some faces which should be familiar to many members today! Tony McMaster (bow - now in the Metropolitan Police), Graham Calvert (2 - now back on Teesside after a spell living in Belgium), Peter Mackfall (3 - active Tees veteran whose son Lewis is now one of our Junior members), Martin Rawson (stroke - now plays golf) and Gary Bettinson (cox - active Tees veteran).
Seen here in action at Hexham Regatta, David Carter was Captain of Tees RC in the late 1970s and led the club to the North East League Championship in 1979. He also led the foundation of Teesside Polytechnic Rowing Club (now University of Teesside RC).