Wednesday, 03 March 2021

Wargrave Local History Society

PETER SYMONS gave a talk on the history of the Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta at the March meeting of the society.

The regatta, which is the third largest on the River Thames after Henley Royal Regatta and the Henley Women’s Regatta, first took place in August 1867 and was organised by Wargrave Yacht Club.

The first regatta comprised seven races with amateurs competing for silver trophies and professionals for money. The competitors originally rowed upstream from Bolney Island to Wargrave Ferry but in 1888 the course changed to go from the railway viaduct to Wargrave Lawn.

At the same time dongola racing was introduced.

Early regattas featured many Wargrave crews but Shiplake residents became more involved in the early 20th century and the title of the event changed to the Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta in 1907.

The event ceased during the First World War and was followed at the end of the conflict by the Wargrave Peace Regatta, which was first held in 1919.

The following year, the first two-day programme was run and in 1921 Shiplake was asked to join, marking the start of the modern Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta.

The regatta was suspended again during the Second World War but by 1970 had grown to 190 events and reached a maximum of 420 in 2004. The event now has around 360 races each year.

Floods in 2007 caused the regatta to be cancelled.

The society held its annual meeting before Mr Symons’s talk where the past year was reviewed, the committee for the next year was elected and details of the 2017/18 programme were given.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 11, when George Rawlinson will share his memories of growing up in Wargrave.

On Tuesday May 9, Peter Trout will talk about the early history of airships. 

Meetings are held at the Old Pavilion on the recreation ground in Recreation Road, starting at 8pm.

For more information, call Peter Delaney on 0118 940 3121 or visit www.wargrave

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