Polytechnic Boathouse – 100 Years

Apr 12, 2024

It is almost 100 years since our current boathouse was built, replacing the mainly wooden structure financed by Quintin Hogg and opened in 1888. The Polytechnic Rowing Club and Quintin Boat Club took occupation of the present building in February 1925. It is therefore quite fitting that, almost one hundred years on, we are looking forward to the construction of a new boathouse on the site, with work due to commence in about a month’s time.

With the imminent demolition of most of the old building in mind, it was felt timely to make a modest record of the current structure for posterity. In the plans for the rebuilding, the clubroom-end with its tiled roof will be retained, with a new boat store, changing rooms and gymnasium behind. The building which originally housed the rowing tank but is now used as a gymnasium will also be demolished.

Quintin archive pix March 2024

A photographic record of the boathouse may be found at http://quintinboatclub.org/gallery/index.php?ref=3393

It is interesting to note the sentiment expressed in the Polytechnic Rowing Club’s Secretary’s Report for 1924-25 as many members past and present will, no doubt, echo these feelings when the new building materialises:

From the Polytechnic Magazine, December 1925

“When I last had the honour of reading my report, we were in the midst of the partial dislocation of our Club life by the rebuilding of the Boathouse. In spite of various promises of earlier possession, it was not until February, 1925, before actual occupation of the new building could be obtained. There can be no doubt the present Boathouse has revealed itself a great improvement on the old, especially from the point of view of accommodation. Many regret the passing of several old features, but I am sure these losses are greatly minimised by the numerous improvements and comforts now installed.”

See also Vin Batten’s photographs of the 1951 rebuild after damage caused by an incendiary bomb in 1944.

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