It’s A Date

The date on this poster is correct but, if you try to watch the 2021 Oxford – Cambridge Boat Race from around Hammersmith Bridge, your view will be restricted. Also, do not rely on catching a trolleybus or a tram, things were different in 1936.

5 December 2020

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch marks his calendar.

It has been announced that the 2021 Oxford – Cambridge Boat Races will be held on Easter Sunday, 4 April. Last week it was confirmed that it will be moving from London to Ely, Cambridgeshire, because of the challenge of planning a high-profile event in an urban area around COVID-related restrictions.

When it was hoped that Boat Race Day could take place on the Thames Tideway as usual, the date of 3 April had been set. However, tides are not a consideration at Ely and presumably Sunday was favoured by the BBC.

A marker denoting the finish point of the 1944 race, just short of Queen Adelaide Bridge. It was put in place as part of the celebrations around the 60th anniversary of the event in 2004. Picture: Jo Cotgrove.

In my piece last week on the move to Cambridgeshire, there was some doubt about the direction and exact course of the 1944 Boat Race (which took place at Ely because of wartime restrictions). I have since found an extract from the Peterborough Standard of 25 February 1944:

The event will take place over the eights trial course, a distance of one-and-a-half miles, between Branch and Adelaide Bridge. The crews will change at Ely and paddle down to the starting point at the Branch… (The) finishing point will be Adelaide Bridge.

Ely – intimate.

The 2021 races will be held behind (metaphorical) closed doors and the Boat Race Company has urged people to get involved at home and respect any restrictions that may be in place at the time. A spokesman said: ‘In the more intimate setting of the Great Ouse, there are exciting new possibilities for safely filming the event and we will be bringing you closer to the action, on and off the water’.

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