In my little collection of rowing books and pamphlets is a 15-page brochure called Oarsmanship printed by Spottiswoode, Ballantyne and Co. Ltd – Eton, Colchester and London. It is missing its cover and has no author or printing year. On the top of the page it states “For private circulation only”. The texts begins,
“If it were not for the fact that oarsmen of the very first class are extremely rave, it would appear that the art of rowing ought not to be a difficult one to acquire. There is only the one stroke to learn, and, when that is learned, it only has o be repeated, now at a faster, and now at a slowe rate; there are not the same difficulties as there are for instance in cricket, where the beginner has to learn a number of different strokes and where he has to deal with circumstances which are constantly changing.”
The author goes through the rowing stroke: the swing forward; the beginning; the swing back; the finish; the recovery; the swing forward. The unknown author mentions Dr. Warre and quotes from his “Notes on the Stroke” (published it seems in 1875, 1880, 1898 and in On the Grammar of Rowing in 1909), and the Oxford University eight of 1878, “one of the most famous eights”. He also writes, “When I went up to Oxford in the early eighties… “. Some Cambridge victories in 1886, 1887, 1888, and 1889 are also mentioned in the text.
This little publication is not listed in Freddy Brittain’s Oar, Scull and Rudder (1930).
Help to identify the author and printing year would be very much appreciated!