Visit to Leander Club, Henley-on-Thames

From the invitation to express interest in the Spring newsletter:

The visit will include a boat trip, a two-course lunch and a tour at the Leander Club, the domain of Britain’s top oarsmen. Founded in 1818, Leander Club is recognized the world over for its extraordinary achievements, having won more Olympic and World championship gold medals than any other club and being home to rowing heroes and to the champions of tomorrow.
Who were the men who won the Grand for Leander in 1840 and what became of their medals? Why are the Cork Cups so important to Leander’s history? And why did Leander move away from the Club’s foundation in London all those years ago? A guided tour will give us the opportunity to find out and to visit those parts of the Clubhouse which are often hidden away from view. More details and application form will be in the July Newsletter. As this is expected to be a popular event you may wish to express your interest early, preferably by email to the administrator. The visit will include a boat trip, a two-course lunch and guided tour at Leander Club, the domain of Britain’s top oarsmen. Afterwards, a visit to the River and Rowing Museum may well complement this visit.

From the announcement in the Summer newsletter:

An excellent opportunity to visit the international home for the sport of rowing, just one hour from London! We start our visit at 12 noon with a one hour Hobbs of Henley public river cruise along the river Thames. Having obtained a lovely view of Henley from the water, we will then have a short walk to the Leander Club, where we shall be enjoying a two-course set lunch in the large room overlooking the river. After lunch a guided tour will take us to parts of the Clubhouse which are often hidden away from view. Afterwards, an optional visit to the River and Rowing Museum may well complement this visit.
Amateur rowing in England started in the 18th century mainly at Eton, Oxford and Cambridge. Groups of gentlemen got together in clubs for mainly social reasons and some gentle rowing. One of these groups formed the Leander club in 1818. This makes Leander Club one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world. In 1897 it moved to its present site in Henley on Thames, where in 1839 the Henley Royal Regatta had started. The Patron and member is Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II and honorary members are Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent.
Leander is an unusual rowing club. It combines a large social (non-rowing) membership of 3600 members with an elite athletes rowing programme. Athletes can only join Leander if they have achieved a certain standard of rowing. The club hosts the largest rowing library in the world.
Henley Royal Regatta and Leander are two distinct and separate organisations even though the Regatta is held next to Leander Club. The Regatta takes place every year for five days in the first week of July. There has been a long connection between Henley and Dutch rowing. In 1892 J.J.K. Ooms won the Diamond Sculls and in 1895 Nereus from Amsterdam won the Thames Challenge Cup. Since the start of this famous regatta in 1839, Dutch crews have won quite a few cups, with the first female crew winning in 2016.

On Saturday 7 September, meet at noon, pre-registration and payment required.

From the report in the Autumn newsletter :

On a wonderful September morning 30 ANS members assembled on the riverbank in Henley to board a Hobbs river cruise. After a pleasant cruise between the locks either side of Henley we took a short walk over the bridge to the Leander Club.

After some pre-lunch drinks in the bar, we sat down to lunch in the dining room with lovely views of the river Thames and surrounded by rowing memorabilia.
Sabine Bolier welcomed the guests. After the main course, Robert Bolier shared interesting stories about Leander and the events on the Henley stretch of the river with of course the main event being Henley Royal Regatta. Irene Hewlett got the full attention of the audience with her account of training and competing for Oxford in the Blue Boat.

The GB Development members Cameron Buchan and Stewart Innes (Rio’16) gave a guided tour through both the social and the rowing parts of the clubhouse and amazed people with their stories on the training and selection process. The food poster in the Crew room with a daily meals total of over 6000 calories was photographed often and the fact that athletes sometimes need to eat up to 2 pints of ice cream, made some ANS members consider taking up professional rowing.

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