Friday, 23 July 2021

Sir Matt’s look back at the regatta in pictures

SIR MATTHEW PINSENT has compiled a book of photographs to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Henley Royal Regatta, where

SIR MATTHEW PINSENT has compiled a book of photographs to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Henley Royal Regatta, where he enjoyed so much success.

The four-times Olympic champion wrote a 5,000-word introduction to Henley Royal Regatta: A Celebration In Photographs discussing the history of the event from its beginning in 1839 and how it has been developed.

Sir Matthew, 43, says: “It’s both a historical and up-to-date record of what the regatta was like and is like.

“It will hopefully give people a flavour of the regatta and everything it stands for.

“We always felt a visual celebration rather than a text-heavy book would be best.

“To reach 175 years is a nice landmark for the regatta. I remember racing there when it was 150 and this is a nice stepping stone on its way to being 200.”

Most of the photographs for the hardback book were sourced from Getty Images and many of them have never been seen before.

They illustrate how the event has changed over the years, including the dress code and the equipment used by the rowers. Sir Matthew, who won 16 trophies at the regatta, was also responsible for selecting the photographs and writing the captions.

“There are a few nostalgic moments,” he says. “Finding pictures of me racing that I hadn’t seen before — not that many of those made the book — was nice.

“But what is most nostalgic is the way the regatta was long before I knew it. There are photographs in the book that are 100 years old and I’m not sure if many of them have been in print before.

“I’ve loved the process, including the chance to have a look through the rowing boxes that Getty held and try to cross reference who was doing what.

“While the last 20 years are well covered, including ages and places of crews I rowed in, the historical bits are strong too.”

Images in the book include the “Sydney Four” — Sir Matthew, Sir Steve Redgrave, Tim Foster and James Cracknell — that won gold at the 2000 Olympics as well as some of the regatta spectators.

Sir Matthew, who was made a regatta steward in 2000, said: “The course has changed slightly over the years and you can see the change in dress codes and fashions.

“Some of the fixtures and fittings that go round the regatta have changed but at the end of the day it’s still the same regatta and has the same DNA that it has always had.”

* Henley Royal Regatta: A Celebration In Photographs (£50) is published by Phillimore and is available from the royal regatta headquarters.

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