Henley: On Thames and On Line

Henley’s First Lady – the statue on Temple Island.

Tim Koch writes,

Rowing’s spiritual home, Henley-on-Thames, will see the 26th Henley Women’s Regatta running from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 June, 2013, on a 1,500m course from Temple Island to Remenham Club. From HWR’s start in 1988, the organisers consciously decided not to be a ‘poor (wo)man’s Henley Royal Regatta’. There were to be no entrance fees and no dress code. All efforts were put into establishing the first (and still only) international women’s regatta in the world. Henley Royal did not offer any women’s events at the time and, while the Stewards did nothing to hinder the fledgling event, they were clear that HWR could not use HRR land (HTBS has previously written about The Royal’s difficult relationship with women.

From the 2011 HWR.

Lack of support from the older event was probably beneficial to the new regatta as, if there was ever any doubt, it was clear that HWR had to establish its own identity, forge its own traditions and establish its own organisation. The fact that Henley Women’s Regatta has grown in strength from year to year proves that the organisers have succeeded in all this. In this tradition of innovation, the 2013 regatta sees an exciting new element. According to the HWR Facebook page:

We are delighted to announce a ‘Henley First’, that being we will have a LIVE WEBCAST for our 2013 regatta. In HD via Satellite uplink including among other provisions: Event graphics, Pre and Post race interviews, Integration of sponsor graphics and adverts and a Highlights Package after the event in the HWR YouTube Channel.

This will surely encourage more foreign entries in the future. HTBS will publish details of this pioneering move closer to the time.

‘I’m ready for my close up…’Reading University on the start, HWR 2011.

The coverage of women’s rowing by the latest media methods is not new. In 1922 British Pathe cameras filmed the ‘Ladies Fours’ at Hammersmith Regatta for inclusion in their cinema newsreels. In an attempt to be humorous by posing a clearly ridiculous question, the title of the silent film read:

London. The Ladies Fours provided spirited contests at Hammersmith Regatta. Will the Ladies invade Henley?


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