Two Rowing University Men

So, who were those handsome fellows in the entry from yesterday? They both had had an article each published in the spring of 1890 in the English Illustrated Magazine. The piece by the fellow on the left was called “Rowing at Oxford”, and the fellow on the right had one called “Rowing at Cambridge”.

While I do not think that we have ever mentioned the chap on the right on HTBS, which, by the way, is really bad of us, the chap on the left is one of ‘HTBS’s heroes’. However, he looks a little different in this picture as he is not wearing a moustache nor does he look like a light-weight; it is said that he weighted 148 lb, or 67 kg, when he rowed. The answer, of course, is R.C. ‘Rudie’ Lehmann, famous rowing writer and coach, who actually did not have an astounding record as a Cambridge Blue, or as an oarsman at Henley Royal Regatta. But enough about Lehmann whom we have written a lot about on HTBS.

So, who is then the moustached fellow on the right? William Grenfell, who was educated at Harrow School and Balliol College, Oxford. Grenfell rowed for Oxford in the famous dead-heat boat race of 1877, and belonged to the dark blue crew that won the following year. He was President of OUBC in 1879. He also enjoyed mountaineering, tennis, fencing, swimming and fishing, and swam the Niagara rapids twice. Grenfell climbed the Matterhorn three times, rowed across the English Channel and was Amateur Punting Champion of the Upper Thames.

Greenfell was an MP, first for the Liberal Party and then for the Conservatives. He received a peerage in 1905 as 1st Baron of Desborough. He was a driving force to get the Olympic Games to London in 1908. His sons, Julian (the poet) and Gerald were both killed in action in 1915. Desborough’s third son, Ivo, died in a car accident in 1926. The Barony was extinct with the death of Baron of Desborough in 1945.

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