Doggett’s Déjà Vu

A victory salute from Max Carter-Miller who became the 307th winner of the Doggett’s Coat and Badge on 8 September 2021. Picture: Kerry Ahearn.

2 October 2021

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch posts more images from D-Day 2021.

My report on the 2021 Doggett’s Coat and Badge, a sculling race for newly qualified Thames Watermen that has run for more than 300 years, contained over forty photographs. However, I hold that you can never have too many images of this unique event as, running between London Bridge and Chelsea’s Albert Bridge, the race spans over four-and-a-half miles of liquid history. 

The pictures here are from two sources. The ones that I took are of a few interesting features along the Victoria Embankment, home to Crown Pier, the embarkation point for the press and for spectators from the Watermen’s Company and from the Fishmongers’ Company. The remainder are by Kerry Ahearn, a man whose Twitter account describes him as “Retired English professor, Oregon State University” and “Active masters competitor with Corvallis Rowing Club”. Kerry was in London to do research on 18th-century watermen and so it was entirely appropriate that he witnessed an event that the subjects of his studies would have been very familiar with.

At the finish: Max spent. Picture: Kerry Ahearn.
Paul Prentice, Doggett’s winner in 1976. Picture: Kerry Ahearn.
Doggett’s winner in 1984, Simon McCarthy, wearing the comparatively newly designed blazer that all who have competed for Doggett’s can wear. Picture: Kerry Ahearn.
At Victoria Embankment, Old Father Thames keeps an eye on things.
The arch where the Old Father Thames carving shown above forms the keystone. It was built in 1935 to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the accession of King George V.
Blackfriars Bridge, completed in 1869, and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, completed in 1710.
The cast-iron lamp posts along the Victoria Embankment date from 1868 and feature two dolphins (or sturgeons). They were inspired by the dolphin sculptures on the Fontana del Nettuno in Rome.
Flying fish. The Doggett’s competitors gathered opposite the Old Billingsgate Fish Market, a small part of which is shown here. It was London’s fish market from the late 15th century until trading ceased there in 1982. The existing hall dates from 1877 and it is now an events venue.
The arms of the Fishmongers’ Company on display at Crown Pier. Salted fish, dried fish and St Peter’s Keys are on the escutcheon but why the supporting merman cannot be young, pert and topless – and his mermaid companion old, grizzled and covered – we can only speculate.
An 18th-century version of the Fishmongers’ arms. It was originally fixed to the stern of the Fishmongers’ barge and today hangs in their banqueting hall. This picture was taken in 2015.
Before the fizz really started to fly: George Gilbert, Max Carter-Miller, Coran Cherry and Lucas Britton.
Pictured at the draw for stations at Waterman’s Hall in August, Kerry Ahearn and Thomas Doggett both strike a pose.

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