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Born on this day
Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow was a Canadian-born American writer and a Nobel Prize winner.
24th week in year
10 June 2020

Important eventsBack

The first Boat Race between the University of Oxford takes place10.6.1829

Wikipedia (03 Jun 2013, 11:34)

The Boat Race is an annual rowing race between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club, rowed between competing eights on the River Thames in London, United Kingdom. It is also known as the University Boat Race and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, or by a title that includes the name of its current sponsor (from 2013, the BNY Mellon Boat Race). It usually takes place on the last Saturday of March or the first Saturday of April.

The first race was in 1829 and the event has been held annually since 1856, except during World War I and World War II. The course covers a 4.2-mile (6.8 km) stretch of the Thames in West London, from Putney to Mortlake. Members of both teams are traditionally known as blues and each boat as a "Blue Boat", with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue. As of 2013 Cambridge have won the race 81 times and Oxford 77 times, with one dead heat.

The race is a well-established and popular fixture in the British sporting calendar. In 2010 an estimated quarter of a million people watched the race live from the banks of the river and in 2011 almost 17.2 million viewed the race on television.


The tradition was started in 1829 by Charles Merivale, a student at St John's College, Cambridge, and his Old Harrovian schoolfriend Charles Wordsworth who was studying at Christ Church, Oxford. Cambridge challenged Oxford to a race at Henley-on-Thames but went on to lose easily. As the Oxford Strokeman, Staniforth, and four of his crew were from Christ Church, then Head of the River, the decision was – eventually – taken to race in the Dark Blue of that college, which still pertains. There is dispute as to the exact source of the colours chosen by Cambridge. The second race occurred in 1836, with the venue moved to be a course from Westminster to Putney. Over the next couple of years, there was disagreement over where the race should be held, with Oxford preferring Henley and Cambridge preferring London. Cambridge therefore raced Leander Club in 1837 and 1838. Following the official formation of the Oxford University Boat Club in 1839, racing between the two universities resumed on the Tideway and the tradition continues to the present day, with the loser challenging the winner to a re-match annually.

The race is governed by a Joint Understanding between Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs.

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