Curlew Rowing Club: A Brief History

(adapted from the Centenary Commemorative Dinner, 23rd April 1966)

Club members complete with boaters from 1911 in front of the old club raft from the Thames river bank. The old clubhouse in the background eventually was redeveloped in the 1950s
Standing, back: W.Pollard, S.E.Hill, E.E.McColm, A.Smith, V.Williams, A.A.Hawkes, A.J.P.McCarthy, J.A.Spurling, P.E.Scars, T.Crafter, F.Orchard Press
Standing, middle: R.O.Budds, B.Palmer, A.G.Feak, H.Bryden, G.H.Cotter, G.Carr, W.E.Miskin, D.A.Harding
Standing, front: J.Greig, W.Robinson, L.Furrell, G.P.Budds, L.D.Henderson, W.L.Furrell, A.Beal, C.Taylor, G.Hichisson, W.A.Simth, P.E.G.Portch, S.Spurling
Seated: Cadet H.Ockerby, C.W.Dawson, H.W.Woods, W.J.Marrott, A.J.Milne, A.Watkins, F.Fenner, T.J. Smith, H.T.Davies, W.T. Cotter

Curlew Rowing Club has been in Greenwich, without interruption for over 130 years, through 2 world wars, based in various boathouses and not always called Curlew.

We have evidence in the club that the first regatta, at which a “Curley” crew rowed was held at Greenwich in 1787. We also know that in the first half of the 19th century,“Curley” was one of several crews, along with a crew called “The Argonauts”, who had their own boats in the Greenwich and Deptford reaches. The Argonauts grew substantially in numbers until some of its members transferred their activities to Putney, to form the London Rowing Club with the object of rowing at Henley.

The “Curley” crew remained in Greenwich and became very popular. Indeed support had been growing so much for the crew, that in 1866 a club was formed in order to rent the former “Crown and Scepter Inn” for its headquarters. “Curley”, by this stage had become “Curlew” and had incorporated the residue of the “Argonauts” and another crew “Lurline”, who had been unable to carry on independently.

The club occupied the “Crown and Scepter” until the building was demolished in 1934. So after 68 years the club moved to its home in part of the “Trafalgar Tavern”, where we had a Club room / bar and a small basement gym. These premises where leased at that time from the Greenwich Hospital Estates. (Apparently both of our former homes we identified with the very fashionable Victorian society, who were very keen on River trips and Whitebait suppers).

Curlew 1934
W.B.E.Chandler, J.C.Stevens, Bertram Carter, C.A.Blaseby, V.Harris

The club is now based in the Trafalgar Rowing Centre only a few doors down from our old home. We moved here in 2003, and with the Trafalgar Trust (Curlew Rowing Club and Globe Rowing Club) now own a new boathouse and Gym in Greenwich. The Club trains mainly at the calmer non-tidal waters at the Docks and has done so since at least 1966. However, recently we have relocated some of our boats to Greenwich, and are training on the River Thames again, enjoying the long stretches of water from the Thames Barrier past the Millennium Dome to Tower Bridge.

The 1866 Club

The 1866 Club was set up to keep old members who have either left the club, hung up their oar or moved away from the area in contact with the club. The 1866 club tries to meet at least once a year to share stories and toast old members over dinner…005-members of winning crews 1960

The 1866 Club will be involved in Curlew’s 150th Anniversary celebrations in 2016…More information will follow…

To get back involved with Curlew please send an email to and you will be added to a distribution list.