The date is 21 July, 1913, and the well-dressed gentleman wearing a boater, being escorted by mounted police on the towpath at Putney, is none other than Ernest Barry, the reigning world professional sculling champion. Barry is there to defend his title on the Championship course between Putney and Mortlake on the Thames against Harry Pearce of Australia and for £500 aside. Barry won the race at 24 min. 9 sec. Harry’s son, Bobby Pearce, would, twenty years later, in 1933, take the professional championship title from Ted Phelps. Bobby Pearce had begun his sculling career as an amateur, taking two Olympic gold medals in the single in 1928 and 1932, and the Diamonds at Henley in 1931.
The story is actually only an excuse for me to point out that as it is Labor Day in the U.S. today, which means that it is the last day to wear your straw hat if you care to follow the etiquette. So hats off, gentlemen!