Saluting The Head Of The River

In yesterday’s entry about William Greenfell, 1st Baron of Desborough, I brought up his article “Rowing at Oxford” which was published in the English Illustrated Magazine in 1890. One of the illustrations can be seen above, “Saluting Head of the River”, which I find a wonderful picture. It is, however, not to be confused with the Eton Processions of Boats that Tim Koch wrote about a week ago.


  1. Goran,

    Very interesting, I have never seen this done outside of Eton before. Is this the only example of 'Saluting the Head of the River' that you know of? As an aside, some of the flags seem to be at 'half mast'.

    Tim Koch.

  2. Tim,

    I have to confess that this is the first time I see this done at a 'Head' race. Unfortunately, Greenfell's article doesn't reveal anything related to the illustration. This would be a nice little mission for you, Tim!

  3. Saluting the Head of the River was part of a ceremony known as the Procession of Boats, a description of which can be found in Sherwood's “Oxford Rowing”. A pdf version of the book can be downloaded at . The section on the Procession of Boats starts on page 98. Sherwood was writing in 1900, only 10 years after the illustration in the English Illustrated Magazine, but the Procession had already been abolished by then.
    An 1863 illustration of the Procession of Boats can be seen at .

    Malcolm Cook

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