Peterhouse Boat Club

About the Boat Club

Founded on 29th April 1828, the Peterhouse Boat Club is one of the oldest Boat Clubs in Cambridge.

The home of the PBC is at the Boathouse where the club's fleet of VIIIs, IVs and small boats is stored and maintained. The Boathouse also provides changing and land training facilities for members. Some racking space is available for rent to owners of private boats and those interested in a space should contact the Junior Treasurer ( for current rates and availability.

The club enters a variety of crews in all the main College events on the Cam as well as events away from the Cam such as the Tideway Heads on the Thames. Typically, the club aims to field at least four novice VIIIs each year (in addition to the senior crews) and then about four VIIIs for the Lent and May Bumps.

The PBC is run by the student committee along with the Senior Treasurer, Dr Stephen Hampton, and the Boatman, Mr Steve Harris.


April 29th 1828 - Peterhouse Boat Club is Founded

1832 - The second division is formed in the Bumps. Peterhouse bumps both St Catherine's and Queens' on the same evening.

1837 - An eight oared boat is hired for £12, is named "Ye Pet" and rises eleven places.

1841 - R. H. Cobbold becomes the first Peterhouse oarsman to win a blue, and is elected President of the CUBC in 1843.

Monday 28th February 1842 - Under the leadership of R. H. Cobbold, Peterhouse bumps Caius to go Head of the River.

1843 - Lord Kelvin is the first Petrean to win the Colquhoun sculls. Peterhouse fields a 2nd VIII for the first time.

1846 - A motion is carried such that every man pay for the washing of his own jersey. The first railway bridge is put over the Cam but is too narrow to race through so the racecourse is shortened.

1847 - Outriggers are introduced. The cost of an VIII is around £15. The Peterhouse colours and uniform are agreed.

1852 - The Boat Club flag goes missing. It transpires that one Cory had promised to wave it at the chairing of the Member for the borough. The Boat Club singles and pairs races are held as side-by-side races across the flooded Midsummer Common.

1854 - Two members of the 1st May VIII indulge in a Champagne breakfast and are "declared to be in an unfit state to pull". Peterhouse rows as a six and amazingly holds off the chasing Clare boat.

1859 - Round handled oars are first used.

1868 - The Cam is dredged to a depth of 5 feet. A proposal to cut through Grassy and Ditton corners and straighten the Bumps course is not acted on.

1871 - An agreement is signed by Logan that for forty guineas he shall provide boat housing, dressing rooms and attendance and a new eight annually. The present railway bridge is constructed and the racing course extended.

1872 - Sliding seats are introduced into the second division.

1873 - St Peter's College Boat Club is renamed Peterhouse Boat Club.

1875 - Of only thirty seven men resident in college, twenty six are members of the boat club but the low numbers still cause problems in getting out crews.

1884 - After the Bumps Supper in hall, forty revellers stray into Old Court, one man destroying the wooden scaffolding then encompassing the chapel.

1888 - The Lent races are cut short by a fatal accident when a Clare rower is killed by the prow of a Trinity Hall boat in the bumps. Bow balls are introduced to prevent this occurring again.

1897 - The first Boathouse is constructed at a cost of £880, including £280 for the land.

1895 - A new eight and oars are purchased for a total of fifty pounds. J. E. Payne is admitted to Peterhouse. Over the next six years he was to win two boat races, be secretary of the CUBC and win the Grand at Henley. He and his younger brother E. R. Payne win several oars with PBC.

1899 - Peterhouse again wins the Clinker fours and the Master sends over half a dozen bottles of champagne ('excellent') to help the celebrations.

1910 - It appears that at this stage it was decided that at least four bumps were reckoned as essential for the honour of winning oars.

1920 - The present 1st VIII crest is adopted.

1925 - PBC is ranked third in the Michell Cup. A new VIII is purchased from Sims for £90

1927 - An appeal to old members is launched to fund a new Boathouse.

1928 - The new Boathouse is built at a cost of four thousand pounds; it was designed by Wheeler, as was the handsome boathouse of Trinity Hall. Peterhouse won the Michell Cup, largely on the strength of twenty one bumps.

1929 - James Mason joins the Peterhouse Boat Club and wins his first Mays colours

1931 - The Herten-Greaven fund is founded by a donation of one thousand pounds in the memory of W. Herten, Captain in 1920. The fund is used to assist the club in sending crews to Henley, something which had not occurred at this stage, much to the disappointment of W. Herten.

1933 - Tom Askwith wins the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta, choosing Peterhouse colours over those of the Leander Club. Tom joined the club in 1929 and was Treasurer and Captain during his time in the college, winning two blues, the Grand at Henley and rowed in two Olympic Games. Tom was also the first Petrean to win the Colquhouns since Lord Kelvin in 1843.

1939-1945 - The evacuated London School of Economics boats from Peterhouse Boathouse.

1941 - All fines levied by the club are donated to the Spitfighter fund.

1948 - The first race with our sister college in Oxford, Merton, is held on the Isis. Peterhouse begins its rise up the Bumps chart to its unimagined peak in 1956.

1951 - A Henley appeal fund is launched to raise three hundred pounds for the purchase of a shell and to pay the two hundred pounds expenses of the visit.

1955-1956 - The 'annus mirabilis' of Peterhouse rowing. Adding the final touches to nearly a decade of hard work, Peterhouse wins the Clinker fours and Fairbairns Cup, takes the Headship in the Lents, goes up five in the Mays and wins the Ladies' Challenge Plate at Henley Royal Regatta. Peterhouse win the Michell Cup for the greatest achievement of any college boat club.

1957 - N. A. Kaye (Captain, 1933) and Brian Oxley found the PBC Trust Fund to ensure the successful future of the club. J. M. Drysdale (Captain, 1908) donates four hundred pounds to the new Boat Club Trust Fund.

1969 - Peterhouse purchases its first set of 'macon' oars. It is said that the then boatman, Ernie Lingwood, was so appalled by the new type of oar that he initially refused to paint them.

1970 - Mike Hart joins the PBC, winning his blue in 1972 and Silver Medal at the Olympic games of 1976.

1971 - Ernie Lingwood retires after tending the clubs boats for forty one years.

1975 - Peterhouse wins the Michell Cup.

1986 - Peterhouse enters its first women's VIII; a composite with Corpus Christi Boat Club.

1990 - The PBCF purchases its first fibreglass VIII, "Greta".

1992 - The Boathouse is extended with a new boat shed to accommodate fours and small boats.

1998 - PBC purchases its first set of 'cleaver' oars, and New Hall Boat Club start to rent space in the Peterhouse Boathouse.

2003 - Peterhouse dominate the University Boat Clubs, with Tim Wooge as CUBC President, Ruth de las Casas as President of CUWBC, and Andrew Murison and Dick Pryce-Jones as Treasurer and Executive Secretary of CUBC respectively. All three mens crews in the Mays win their oars, with the first boat going up five, following a splendid overbump!

2005 - Peterhouse enters a 2nd Women's VIII in both the Lent and May bumps for the first time.

2006 - The PBCF, with assistance from the club's sponsor, CTM, purchases two matched Janousek coxed fours, for £15,000. The boats can be used by both men and women, and can be used for sparring and seat racing. This is the first time that the PBC has ever taken delivery of two identical boats at the same time.

2006 - Sebastian Thormann becomes PBCs 20th Men's Blue. Sebastian won the World Championships in 2002 and still holds the world record in the coxless four.