Berry’s Rowing Instructions

Julius Beresford, born in 1868 with the surname Wiszniewski which he later dropped, was a fine sculler who began his rowing career at Kensington RC. He failed to win the amateur title at the Wingfield Sculls and would never win the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta. However, after moving to Thames RC, he did win the Stewards’ Challenge Cup for coxless fours twice, in 1909 and 1911 at Henley; the latter year, Beresford also won the Silver Goblet’s & Nickalls Challenge Cup together with Arthur Cloutte.

At the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Great Britain sent a Thames RC coxed four with the 44-year old Beresford in the bow seat. They lost the final and got the silver medal. Julius Beresford, by his fellow crew and club members called ‘Berry‘ or ‘Old Berry’, would for the rest of his life be involved in the sport of rowing. He would serve as Captain and a Vice President of Thames RC, and for decades be a devoted and strong-willed coach.

In the mid-1920s, Beresford had the infamous quarrel with the club’s legendary coach Steve Fairbairn, which made Fairbairn leave the club to instead coach the London RC. Decades later, this would still be remembered at Thames RC as ‘The Row’. In 1954, Thames RC published a small, 4-pages pamphlet, Rowing Instructions by J. Beresford. One might guess that this was written by Beresford’s son, the celebrated oarsman, Jack Beresford, Jr., but it was not. The two last sentences go: “But if a crew is physically fit it need never lose its form or Rhythm. This is true and so says BERRY.” Julius Beresford died in 1959.

Nowadays, Berry’s little pamphlet is almost impossible to find in second-hand bookshops.

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