This week, watch London’s oldest continuously-running sporting challenge on the Thames.
This year’s Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge will take place on Wednesday 4th September, as part of the Totally Thames series of events. This unusual boat race has taken place every year since 1715, making it the world’s longest-running rowing challenge.
Competing young Watermen will row under eleven bridges on the four mile, seven furlong (7,400 metre) course. Throughout the race’s 300 year history the event has remained relatively unchanged, with today’s start and finish near to the original sites of the Old Swan Tavern and the Swan Inn, Chelsea.
The race was founded by Thomas Doggett in commemoration of King George I’s accession to the throne on 1st August 1714. He came up with the prize of a coat and badge, which only young ‘Watermen’ were allowed to compete for. The Watermen were the river’s taxi drivers of the day.
After Doggett’s death, the Fishmongers’ Company took over the race organisation, and has faithfully kept up the race traditions ever since.
This year’s race will begin at 2pm from London Bridge. Spectators can view the race from one of the bridges along the course, including the Millennium Footbridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Chelsea Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, and Vauxhall Bridge.
When: 4th September 2019, 2pm
Where: On the Thames, between London Bridge and Cadogan Pier (Chelsea)
£: Free to watch
More info: totallythames.org