‘Sons of the Thames’ – Won a Race Already in 1840

Sons of the Thames RC. Photo: Wikipedia/Martin Dixon.

Regarding last Sunday’s post about the Sons of the Thames RC, rowing historian Bernard Hempseed writes from New Zealand:

According to page 111 in The Aquatic Oracle, published in 1852, there was a crew who rowed in a boat called the “Sons of the Thames.” The boat was four-oared. They won the first prize of 1,000f (franc) at Havre Regatta in July 1840. The crew were Robert Doubledee, Robert Newell, John Doubledee, Robert Coombes at stroke, and David Coombes as cox.

Whether this crew had any connection to the later group of the same name would require more research. I suspect that “Sons of the Thames” would have been some sort of generic name. The Aquatic Oracle is a mine of information on early professional races and can be downloaded off the net, here.

An interesting aside would how the club got its shield or nominal coat of arms. It’s a bit of a mixture – a horse designed by a committee!


  1. To answer the question about the club's coat of arms, I quote from our President, Colin Price:

    “The club badge is divided into 4 sections denoting areas where the club has been active over past years.

    The Lamb holding the flag of St. George denotes Lambeth.

    The horseshoes and shell and crosslets denote Hammersmith.

    The flag of St. George with river under is London County Council. Sons were at Erith near Dartford Tunnel in earlier years.

    The chequerboard represents Wandsworth.”

  2. The crew that raced in the 1840s appears be have taken the moniker 'Sons of the Thames' presumably as they simply rowed on the Thames.

    There's more on Robert Coombes on Wikipedia, he certainly seems like an interesting chap, managing to beat a pair in a scull for example! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Coombes

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