Cambridge Scouts Boat Club: Introduction

Cambridge District Scout Archive

The Cambridge Scout Boat Club was formed in 1923 on CC Charlie Wood’s advice.  It was thought to be the only such club in the country. C T Wood had rowed at Shrewsbury School and was treasurer for ’99 rowing club in its early days.

‘There are three particular things we owe to C.T.Wood;… in 1923 he urged the formation of the Scout Boat Club, of which Fred Feary was the first Captain, and I a humble non-rowing member’.   WTT Archaeology 1978

The club was for Scout Masters, Scouts and Rovers over 16.

The club was successful from the start and the first boat sat in the top three for a quarter of time it raced and the top five for half the time.  Scouts I reached 3rd position by the end of their fourth years racing and was only out if the top 5 for one year in the next quarter of a century.

In some years it put out four boats in the town bumps and four in the Time Race, the only two events for which we have most of the results   It was Head of the River on three occasions. 

Scouts I had the rare distinction of starting from last boat and reaching Head of the River in the town bumps without being bumped.

 The Scouts’ Debut 
‘In 1923 a new club, known as the Cambridge Scouts Boat Club, was formed.  It became affiliated with the Cambridge Rowing Association and competed on the Cam in the Town Bumps’

Colours are often given as green and gold but are listed as Green and Yellow in the programmes. The oars and the blazers, scarfs and tie were in these colours, two of the three Scout colours of green, yellow and red.

This self funded group of enthusiasts created a very successful boat club, moving quickly to success against the more established clubs.  Its members were at the forefront of the post war recovery in 1946 – 7 and proposed the winter league that is still held by the CRA.

The club never had a boat club and was, for many years reliant on loaned boats.  Many of the coaches were from college clubs, particularly in the early days, with some ex Scout rowers being credited, particularly after the war.

It last raced in 1979.

University links

Collectively the University Rovers do not appear to have been involved in the Cambridge Scout Boat Club. Individuals were involved in College boats and the Jesus and Sidney Patrol were, at Easter 1937, able to say ‘nearly all of our Patrol were in the Sidney 1st boat or one of the Jesus boats’. They challenged the Selwyn Patrol to a race but Selwyn, couldn’t get a crew and the race was abandoned.

JWR Archivist Nov 2019