Tyne United Rowing Club

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Tyne United Rowing Club was founded in 1946 to provide a home for the remnants of the Empire, Hawthorn, Gateshead & District and Walker & Wallsend clubs. The boathouse was originally at Pipewellgate, Gateshead, opposite the Swing Bridge. In those days the river was full of oil and sewerage and was not the best rowing water to encourage new participants.

The Club eventually folded in the 1960s but in 2007, the Club name was resurrected and a new boathouse was built on the south side of the River Tyne at Newburn.

In 2007, Durham University awarded a grant of £127,000 to the newly refounded Tyne United Rowing Club to develop its facilities for use by DUBC and Durham College Rowing and these opened in 2009. These included on-site cooking facilities, 18 Ergos and a rowing tank. The University has sole use of two boat sheds at Tyne United: one for DUBC and one for Durham College Rowing.

J.A. Hutchinson Sculling Boat

Professional Sculling BoatProfessional sculling boat for 9 stone sculler

An interesting exhibit exists in the Tyne & Wear Museums. An extremely fragile and lightweight boat (for a 9 stone sculler) named the J.A. Hutchinson, was used in professional racing and was originally at Tyne United Rowing Club, but moved to Blyth RC upon their closure in the 1960s. Boats on the river Tyne were often named after a patron who had paid for it to be built. This boat was probably named after James Arthur Hutchinson, Mayor of Gateshead in 1951, a printer by trade who had lost a leg in the First World War, and then later had his other leg amputated. The boat was bought by Tom McParlin from a Ken Shanks in probably in the late 1950s. The agreed price was 6d and a receipt exists for this. Tom rowed on the Tyne for the Tyne United Rowing Club. The scull had been built for a 9 stone sculler and that would tally with the very fine lines – it would not have sufficient buoyancy to support a bigger man.

Tom was in the boat on the Tyne during a Tyne v Thames race during the 1960s. He was in the built up area of the river around the bridges when he began to sink. He got over to the Gateshead side of the river and, hanging on to the timber fenders on the wall, he got out of the boat while hanging on to it. Not easy with the tide running, and he would be lucky to catch it at slack water. The river police came over, and despite his protests, they snagged the boat with a boat hook, damaging it in the process. It went back to Tyne United Rowing Club, but was not repaired and was never used again.

When the Tyne United Club closed, the boat was taken to Blyth Rowing Club. Then when the Blyth Rowing Club closed in the 1980s Doug Pearson, acting on behalf of the Club, donated the scull to Tyne and Wear Museums on 29th May 1986.

Newspaper articles

12th July 1948
The Blyth News reported:
NORTH SEATON R.C.s BOLD BID FOR SOUTER CUP - Three of North Seaton Rowing Club's four crews entered for the W. A. Souter Cup competition, held on the River Tyne on Saturday under the promotion of the Tyne United R.C., qualified for the semi-final, while the crew to reach the final finished as runners-up. This is a new competition which drew an entry of 22 crews. The cup and silver tankards were presented by Mr W.A. Souter. Semi-finals: Tyne United (McParlin. str), 12 secs.. beat North Seaton (T. Rees, str.), 11 secs.: North Seaton (I T. Alexander. str.), 8 secs.. beat North Seaton (G. Warnaby, str.), 11 secs. Final Tyne United beat North Seaton three lengths.

23rd May 1952
The Morpeth Herald reported:
FORMER STAKEFORD MAN STROKES WINNING CREW - North Seaton Rowing Club were defeated by four lengths by Tyne United in the final the Northern Amateur Rowing Trials on the River Tyne on Saturday. By this defeat North Seaton were deprived of the opportunity of representing the Tyne in a contest with a club, Barnes Amateur, in the London Clubs Regatta on 8th June. The contest will be held for the first time since the war. The Tyne club was stroked by a former Stakeford man, W. Kennedy, who was a member of the Cambois crew, stroked by Matt Turnbull, when they were winners of the Durham Handicap in 1947 and 1949. The North Seaton crew, which usually rows over a half-mile course, felt the strain of the course, between Scotswood Bridge and Newcastle Corporation Quay, which is over the mile. The North Seaton crew was stroked by R. Rees and other local clubs, Cambois and Blyth, competed.