The Story About Leander’s Olympic Boat

After yesterday’s entry about the 1912 Oxford crew who raced twice against Cambridge that year, let me continue with another 1912 eight who took the Olympic gold medal at Stockholm: the Leander crew seen above, who beat New College (with Bob Bourne as stroke) in the final. In the photograph are from the stern: coxswain Henry Wells, stroke Philip Fleming, 7 seat Alister Graham Kirby, 6 seat Arthur Stanley Garton, 5 seat James Angus Gillan, 4 seat Ewart Douglas Horsfall, 3 seat Leslie Graham Wormald, 2 seat Sidney Ernest Swann, bow Edgar R. Burgess.

In Tim Koch’s report of this year’s Rowing History Forum at the Henley River and Rowing Museum, Paul Mainds, RRM Chief Executive, is quoted saying that he hopes to have both the 1912 and 2000 Olympic eights on display at the muesum for next year’s Olympic Games in London. Leander’s 1912 eight is currently at the Sports Museum in Stockholm after being donated by one of the local rowing clubs in Stockholm, Stockholms Roddförening.

Stockholms Roddförenings club house acted as the Olympic Rowing Committee’s Headquarters during the Olympic regatta. On the right in the photograph is Leander’s George Duncan Rowe.

Actually, in 2003, I sent a note to Stockholms Roddförening asking how on earth Leander’s eight ended up in their boat house. I received a nice reply from Mr. Lennart Borgh, who had copied the club’s minutes from a committee meeting on 8 August 1912, which read: “The Vice President reported that Chamberlain Fredr. Löwenadler has donated Leander’s eight and oars to the club.” [My translation] Mr. Borgh informed me that old club members had stated that when the shell arrived at the club, the sliding tracks were slightly displaced laterally to increase the leverage. Sometime during the 1930s, the tracks were changed to be straight. Stockholms Roddförening donated the boat to the Sport Museum in the beginning of the 1990s.

So, how come Fredrik Löwenadler donated Leander’s boat to the Stockholm club? I really do not know. However, there is a link between this Swedish nobleman and Leander, I realised when I did a Google search. Lars Johan Fredrik Löwenadler, who was born in Stockholm in 1854, was a match merchant who also worked for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom in London at that time. In 1884, he married Miss Florence ’Flo’ Rogers, who was born 1863 in Weston-Super-Mase. They settled in Henley-on-Thames, where Fredrik died in 1915. His wife, Florence, died there in 1946. Living in Henley, Fredrik must have had some contacts with Leander Club!

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