A Rowing Treasure Chest

Earlier today, when I was looking around on the web for information about some professional sculling races, I stumbled over a real gem, or maybe I should call it a treasure chest filled with rowing jewels. On the web site British Pathé – britishpathe.com – which is said to be the “world’s first digital news archive” with 3,500 hours of video and 12 million stills, you will find tons of black & white, but also colour, videos of rowing and sculling from the early 1900s to the 1970s.

Among other things you will find the Thomas Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race, Henley Royal Regatta, the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge (and each crew in training), early films of women rowing and racing, the European Championships, World [Professional] Championships and how some of the World Champions are training and their different rowing styles. (Search for ‘Ernest Barry’ [see picture above], ‘Bert Barry’, ‘Ted Phelps’, E.A. Phelps’, ‘R. Phelps’, and a real favourite ‘Phelps Family’, which shows the 1960 Doggett’s Race in colour, etc.)

What you will see are ‘previews’, which means that you can not download these videos, or link them, but I guess by contacting British Pathé you can get some kind of rights to download or buy the videos.

Now, if you are ready to spend hours in front of your computer screen, watching rowing, click here.


  1. In an e-mail, rowing historian Peter Mallory mentions two other film archives with rowing: “British Movietone Newsreels” (www.movietone.com) and the French “Gaumont Pathé Newsreels” (www.gaumontpathearchives.com). However, for both these archives you have to be registered users.

  2. In a very nice e-mail, Mr. Tom Weil, famous rowing historian, writes:

    “Göran – What a fantastic find! It would be great to have all of that rowing material in our archives – perhaps we can find a Pathe patron to fund such an acquisition. You have once again made a tremendous contribution to the cause – YOU are the treasure.

    By the way, there is still a challenging project ahead for somebody to develop a master list of all feature films that feature (or even have views of) rowing.”

    Yes, it would be great to have all these lovely rowing films on DVDs, which could be held at the National Rowing Hall of Fame in Mystic, Connecticut, and at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames. This would make it much easier for rowing historians to do their important research.

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