Calcutta Rowing Club, Strand Road, Calcutta, 1858

StrandRoad BoatHouse
কলকাতা রোইং ক্লাব, ১৮৫৮
The Calcutta Rowing Club, probably the oldest club in the East, was founded by a small number of enthusiastic oarsmen in 1858. The first boat house with a thatched roof was on the bank of the Hooghly near Chandpal Ghat. This boat house was built in 1860 and lasted until 1864 when a disastrous cyclone swept it away-boats and all. during which the boat house and the boats, together with the minute books, and records disappeared. The only things preserved, were the Accounts of 1858-59 signed by John Cowle, as the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, and he goes down in history as the first officer on record.The successor to this boat-house was built near Fort Point in 1865,. Upto this time, all the boats had fixed seats, but, about 1872, one of the members of the Club brought back with him from England a sculling boat fitted with a sliding seat. The owner, one Charles Newman, had for some time been propounding his theories regarding this type of seat and he might lay some claim to having been its inventor.CalcuttaRowinClub
In 1888, the Club had to abandon its boat-house at Fort Point as the land moved to the new boat-house on Strand Road itself opposite to Eden Gardens.CalcuttaRowing-Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Ap21,1877 Rowing took place there during succeeding years, but, became progressively more difficult owing to the increase in the number of steam ferry boats and tugs. Many instances during this period are on record of boats being swamped and their crews having to struggle for their lives, against the strong under-currents of the river and regular rowing on the Hooghly was finally abandoned. Various alternative sites were tried, including Tolly’s Nullah and even the long tank in Eden Gardens which has long since been filled-in. In 1897, however, the Port Commissioners came to the rescue and offered a course on the Dock Basin at Kidderpore which is now occupied by the Coal Dock.

A site was allotted and a boat house built and the Club then had a almost straight ¾ mile course that could take three crews racing abreast. This led to, amongst other things, a visit to Poona in 1899, when the defeat of 1877 was avenged. 1902 was the beginning of an event then called ‘Class Fours’ from which our present Merchants’ Cup has grown. Also in 1902, a Four was sent to Madras and its members succeeded in winning the Fours, Pairs and Sculls. See

The pen & ink drawing,” Rowing in India -The Calcutta Four” was published in Illustrated Sports and Dramatic News, April 21, 1877.

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