The Newcastle Handicap (also known as the Tyne Christmas Handicap) was created by Thomas Winship in 1876 and ran until 1935
The well-supported event was usually a half-mile knockout event for single scullers held over a number of days on the Tyne between the High Level and Redheugh Bridges. Matched 20 foot outrigged boats were used for the races. Until 1886 the handicap was given in lengths at the start but after that seconds were applied. Competition started on Boxing day and continued over a few days until a conclusion. Up to 100 scullers would compete with prizes of between £50 and £100 for the winner. (Credit: Ian Whitehead for this information)
9th April 1881 (Bell's Life):
"No less than ninety entries have been secured for Messrs. W.R. McKenzie (Black Bull Inn, High Bridge) and Thomas Winship's open boat handicap, fixed to take place on Good Friday and following day on the Tyne. The handicap is apparently a good one and there is pretty sure to be a large acceptance and excellent sport".
25th August 1866 (Bell's Life):
Boat racing handicap at Scotswood – A boat racing handicap for money prizes, came off at Scotswood near Newcastle, on Saturday last, and excited a great deal of interest. There were 28 entries and after several good contests R. Humble won, J. Tulip being second.
The winner was Philip Pearson of Blyth.
The winner was James 'Curly' Lavery of Blyth.
The winner was G. Lewis of Blyth who beat J. White Tyne Main.
10th December 1936
The Newcastle Journal reported: In an effort to revive interest in professional rowing on the River Tyne, a suggestion has been made that a small handicap should be promoted and decided in the summer in best boats over a mile course from a point opposite Allhusen's old works to the Ouseburn. It is realized that the rowers in the district with experience in best boats are limited, and a list of possible competitors has been drawn up as follows: Jack Dodds, W. Bewley, Peter Muirhead, W. Elder, Jack Quinn, Jack Liddle, Victor Ormston, Albert Watson, G. Sinton, G. Lister, W. McParlane, the brothers Rowan, R. Kempster, Jack Briggs, Nipper Clark, and T.R. Liddle. In the event of a handicap being promoted a well-known sportsman has promised to give a silver cup to the winner, All interested are asked to communicate with Mr T. R. Liddle, c/o Mr W. McParlane, Tyne Main R.C. Headquarters