Poole Amateur Rowing Club celebrated their 125th Anniversary in 1998, an achievement unique to the town of Poole and South Coast rowing.
Entered in the first minute book June 1873 the then secretary F.B.White with the assistance of Mr.A.Street collected £25.13s from towns folk, and commissioned Mr.L.Bromby to find a suitable boat house to rent, he later purchased a skiff priced £2.5/- and two galleys named the Cambria and Contest for £12.00 each. Compared with today's price of over £10,000.00 for a coastal racing four.
The towns rowing history possibly dates back further with a second club called the Red Star amateur rowing club. In 1885 they amalgamated with P.A.R.C. The first recorded win by P.A.R.C. was on the 23rd August 1873 at Bournemouth Regatta. The 1st prize being £6. As written in the minutes their rowing was the subject of general admiration.
Early regattas consisted of inter-club events, and on occasions travelling as far as Hern Bay to the east, Biddeford and Appledore to the west. Popular social excursions were trips to Sandbanks and Studland, the annual captains afternoon tea party was well supported, with the then captain footing the bill.
From 1900 to 1914 several cups and trophies were won outright by the senior crew of J.Matthews (stroke), W.Puddy 2, D.Keane 3, G.Saunders (bow) and A.Condon (cox). During the great war 39 members took up arms. 5 paid the supreme sacrifice.
The 20s and 30s membership was mainly from the high street trading families. The club can boast of having had Lords, Knights, and MP's as members over this and later periods. In 1934 and 1939 the club won two junior Hants and Dorset championships. Prior to the outbreak of the second world war the club was given a government grant of £500, and plans had been passed for a new two storey boat house and club room. The grant was withdrawn with the money going to the war effort. A second blow came later, the boat house at Newman's yard was taken by the navy as a store. During enemy action 14 of the 17 boats were destroyed. A few older members took care of club business but were unable to repair any of the remaining boats. They were left unprotected to the elements and finally unrepairable. As members returned from the war they slowly began to raise money and a few members were kindly allowed the use of the Westover Rowing Club and they were loaned a boat to train in. With money raised and also a war damage payout new equipment was purchased and a temporary corrugated iron boat house was erected at the present club site.
The 50s and 60s saw a rise, and later a decline in membership. In 1951 winning the Hants and Dorset championship at junior status the crew of D.Hawkins (stroke), G.Potter 3, W.Wilson 2, N.Brown (bow), and K.Banyard (cox). They also put on a fine display at Oxford, at the junior fours championship of Great Britain, narrowly being defeated in the final by Neptune rowing club, the local representation of Oxford A.R.C. 1959 was a then record breaking year with 17 trophies and two championship crews. The junior/senior crew of M.Rigler (stroke), R.Dartnall 3, D.Rigler 2, M.Cartridge (bow), and G.Rigler (cox). The junior crew of R.Holland (stroke), D.Winson 3, D.Brown 2, R.Bassington (bow) and B.Bassington (cox). They also went on to be junior/senior champions in 1960.
By 1967 the rowing membership fell with only a few crews entering regattas. With a dilapidated boat house, the then committee decided that if the club was going to survive, they needed a new boat house with better facilities. Plans had been drawn up, passed and approved by Poole Borough Council, with the aid of a bank loan and money raised by members to the sum of £900. The building work started shortly after the boats and equipment had been stored in a loft adjacent to the King Charles pub. During the winter of 1967/68 members demolished the old and erected the new building. Work was finished by June 1968. Without boat training that winter the club went on to win the junior pairs championship. J.Murphy (stroke), D.Diffey (bow) and a novice win at Coalporters regatta at Southampton.
In 1975 and 1976 the club won the Hants and Dorset Junior 4's championships and just missing out in 1974 taking the runners up. The 1975 crew were, R. Hawkins (stroke), A. Dunsdon, P. Diffey, J. Diffey (bow), S.Diffey (cox). Steven Diffey also won the Hants & Dorset Coxswain of the Year Award. The 1976 crew were, D.Vincent (stroke), D. Armstrong, K.Nicholson, D.Rideout (bow). By the late 70's the clubs rules were changed to allow lady rowing members, today they make up about 50% of the club membership. This trend followed throughout most coastal and inland clubs.
In 1989 the ladies coxless pair of L.Diffey (stroke), and F.Thirwell (bow), gained our first championship.
The 90's have been the most successful and record breaking decade. In 1990 winning the men's junior/senior coxed 4's Hants and Dorset and south coast championships. The latter at Plymouth, the first in the clubs history. The crew were P.Jacobs (stroke), P.Drane 3, W.Callaghan 2, A.Sothcott (bow), and J.Best (cox).
In 1994 and 1995 the crew of P.Jacobs (stroke), W.Callaghan 3, I.Hill 2, P.Drane (bow) and S.Weldon (cox) won the Hants and Dorset senior coxed 4's championship. They also won the men's coastal coxed four event at the National Championships at Nottingham. In the same season Wayne Callaghan went on to become the senior scull Hants and Dorset champion.
In the 1996 season the club had a record 29 coastal wins and several river wins and two Hants and Dorset championships winning the ladies coxed junior 4's with the points being shared between three Poole crews. Finally being won outright by M.Graham (stroke), C.Weightman 3, A.Houlton 2, M. Wornham (bow), and J.Callaghan (cox). With eight wins, the crew of S.Crook (stroke) and R.Murphy (bow) gained the men's junior pair Hants and Dorset championship. 1997 brought them the senior pairs Hants and Dorset championship. The club also picked up the ladies novice 4's championship.
The outstanding achievement of 1997 was when two members entered a rowing race across the Atlantic from Los Gigantes in Tenerife to Port St.Charles, in Barbados. Wayne Callaghan, is the most successful oarsman in the clubs history, by winning six Hants and Dorset championships, one south coast championship, and three National championships of Great Britain. He also holds the course record for coastal sculling at the Nationals. Tim Welford corporal in the marines, has been a member of the rowing club since 1993. On 12th October they set off taking 60 days, 5 hours, 8 minutes, to complete the race finishing a creditable 8th out of 29 international crews.
In 1998 the club celebrated their 125th anniversary by winning the Senior Mens pairs with 7 wins from 2 crews, 4 for Stuart Crook and Ray Murphy and 3 for Pete Jacobs and Mark Heard.
Since the turn of the century the club has continued to grow and enjoy further success.
In 2002 the crew of Sarah Pethen, Alison Houlton, Emma Hill and Julie Maskell with cox Matthew Jacobs won the Senior Ladies Hants and Dorset Championship. In 2009 and 2010 the club took back to back Junior Pair Championships with first Daryl Price and Steve Hebdtich going through the season unbeaten and then Ollie Patrick and Lee Mantell winning the trophy with 4 regattas to spare.
In 2009 the club also won the Archie Fraser Trophy for being the most successful club at the South Coast Championships, held at Folkstone, with wins in the Open J/S and Novice Ladies and a number of 2nds and 3rds.
The club has also ventured strongly into river events, in particular, with Ray Wilson and Pete Jacobs taking gold at the 2005 World Masters Regatta in Strathclyde, in a Poole/Warwick composite coxless 4, and then in 2010 winning gold in the pair at the 2010 British Masters in Nottingham. This pair has also ensured that the Poole colours have appeared at Henley Royal Regatta for the first time, competing in a 4 in 2007 and an 8 in 2009.
2010 has proved to be the most successful year in memory with the club winning 3 Hants and Dorset Championships and having 3 representative crews at the South Coast Championships.
The H & D Championships came from the Junior Pair as already mentioned, the Senior Sculls for 20 year old Chris Schrieber in his first year in the status, and also the Ladies Novice Fours Championship with 3 wins from the squad coached by James Kirkham.
The representative crews were the Men’s Junior Senior and Ladies Junior Fours who had 3 wins each during the season and the Ladies Senior crew who clinched their place with victory at the last regatta of the season. All the crews were the 2nd H & D crew and places of 3rd; 4th and 5th respectively were very creditable results.
The club has invested heavily in equipment more suited to junior rowers in the last few years and this has seen a steady built up of under 16’s joining the club to learn the art of rowing and to compete around the country, with a number of Poole youngsters representing Wessex at Inter-Regional events.
The club has now reached saturation point as regards to how much equipment it can store and eagerly await the opportunity to move to larger premises to be able to continue their growth.
by Roger Squires (Club President 1998) and Peter Jacobs (Chairman 2013)