Albert Gymnastic & Rowing Club

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The Albert Gymnastic & Rowing Club was formed in October 1867 and rowed from James Percy's boathouse at Low Elswick, just west of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Club appeared to have a very short life, possibly of less than a year. The Shields Daily News reported in March 1868: It is pleasing to note that through the exertions of a few spirited draper's assistants in the employment of Messrs. C. Bainbridge and Co., of Market-street, Newcastle, a new rowing club, confined to this class of business men, has been successfully started. The establishment was originated in October last, and it now boasts something like thirty members. There cannot be the least doubt that young men following such a confined calling will benefit very considerably by aquatic exercise during the summer months, and, as will be seen from the name of the society, "The Albert Gymnastic and Rowing Club," their objects are two-fold—to provide recreation for the winter evenings, in the shape of gymnastic exercise, and rowing during the summer. Mr. Cuthbert Bainbridge has expressed his approval of the movement, inasmuch as he has consented to officiate as President of the society. An arrangement has been entered into whereby the members of the club secure the loan of Mr. James Percy's boats for seven months in the year, at a fixed sum, and everything promises future prosperity.

Launch of two new four-oared boats - built by Mr. James Percy, the boats were launched from that gentleman's well-known boathouse. near the Newcastle Gas Works, yesterday evening, in the presence of a large number of spectators. These craft are the first that have been built by James Percy, and certainly their proportions and general excellent features lead to the belief that at no distant date will become famed in this peculiar art. They are of the same dimensions, each boat possessing five strakes, and for finish cannot possibly be excelled. Their length over all is 30 feet, 2 feet 9 inches wide amidships, with 11 inch outrigger, 16 inches at the stem, and 141 inches at the stern, and they are built of fine cedar wood. They were named "Newcastle" and "Gateshead", and were placed in the water by Messrs. James and George Percy. The face of old Father Tyne was rather ruffled, which was considered favourable for testing the capabilities of the boats in rough weather, and the buoyancy of the craft gave general satisfaction. With the view of trying the merits of the new, a scratch match was originated between members of the Albert Gymnastic and Rowing Club. The course was from the foot of the ' 4 Annie ' down to a point opposite Percy's boathouse. The rowers were attired in white trousers, white straw bats with blue ribbands round them. and blue flannel jackets trimmed with white, and as they rowed with remarkable steadiness, considering that this was their first public appearance at the post.

23rd May 1868:
Bell's Life reported:
AQUATICS IN THE NORTH - Albert Gymnastic and Rowing Club - On Wednesday morning week, a series of four-oared races amongst the members of the Albert Gymnastic and Rowing Club was commenced on the Tyne, and after a capital race Messrs Starke, Challoner, Hall, and Baker beat Messrs Cooper, Smiles, Patterson, and Heron by a quarter of length. The third crew, Messrs Archbold, Hiddleton, Drewry, and Rudd got a bye, and it was decided to row off the final heat on Saturday morning. At the appointed time Mr Rudd’s crew duly put in an appearance, and the absence of Mr Baker's rowed over the course, and obtained the stakes. It is intended to continue these four-oared contests fortnightly, the crews to be chosen ballot on each occasion, and tho«6 competitor! who row in the winning boa’s the greatest number of times will be entitled to either gold or silver medals, as the funds of the society at the end of the rowing season may permit.

20th June 1868:
Bell's Llife reported:
The members of this club rowed a four oared race on the Tyne last week, when the following crews (P. Milligan, O. Oliver, T. Short, J.W. Smiles and W. Greenwell, W. Drury, W. Stark, J. Hunter) were left in for the final heat, which was fixed for Thursday evening. Owing to the non-appearance of Smiles, Hunter rowed over and claimed the prize".