The race was first held in 1715 to mark the first anniversary of the accession of George I, which makes the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Rowing Race one of the oldest annual sporting events in the world. Each year, young Watermen from the Waterman’s Company, race from London Bridge to Chelsea to compete for a coveted scarlet coat with a silver arm badge, plus the scarlet breeches, this is a uniform reminiscent of the livery that was used by the early 18th century Watermen.
The race last year was won by Henry McCarthy who comes from a family of Waterman, both his father and his uncle have won the race, so we were all delighted when Harry came in first past the line.
In this anniversary year, there will be a change to the usual arrangements. To enable all the celebrations to take place at Fishmonger’s Hall, the winner will not be presented with champagne at Chelsea, but will return immediately to Fishmongers Hall.
But the Chelsea Society will still be watching from the Embankment and cheering on the winner as he finally crosses the line after an exhausting race. Do come and join us.