ONE of the oldest sports clubs in the West Midlands celebrates its 150th anniversary in the city this year.

There will be two 150-year centenary regattas to toast Worcester Rowing Club’s landmark — the Spring Regatta on May 18 and the Autumn Regatta on September 7.

The club, steeped in history, has been in Worcester since 1874 although its roots go back even further.

The historic city has hosted rowing activities for centuries with records showing organised races can be traced back some 210 years ago.

Only horse racing has been going for longer in Worcester.

At one time the city, with the beautiful River Severn at its centre, could boast many separate rowing clubs with each one confined to members engaged in a certain occupation or from a particular walk of life.

It is known, for example, the members of one club were mostly concerned with the haberdashery trade and another with the brewery business while those who were artisans belonged to another.

Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service believes between 1841 and 1905 there were 20 separate rowing clubs in Worcester alone.

It found the first ‘official’ city regatta was in August 1845 following a course stretching from the Grandstand on Pitchcroft to the Dog and Duck Ferry about one-and-a-half miles away and involved prize money of 80 guineas.

Gradually, however, the antiquated class-conscious system, which was universal throughout most sports at the time, was eradicated and most of the clubs disappeared.

Those that remained combined to form the present Worcester Rowing Club in 1874.

Since then, the club has competed at local, national and international level.

Its current clubhouse, built in 1972 and extended in 1992, provides a picturesque backdrop to the regattas and is an iconic building on the banks of the river, adjacent to Sabrina Bridge.

The club’s former clubhouse, a well-known landmark on the banks of the river, provides sponsors with spectacular sights and a fine view of the racing course from its own private balcony.

The club’s membership is large, currently around 300, and diverse, welcoming high-performance athletes through to juniors and recreational rowers.

Worcester, designated by the Sports Council as a Centre of Rowing Excellence, competes at regattas across the UK and internationally.

Members have rowed in the GB National Rowing squad and competed in the Olympic Games.

Honours include the Jackson Trophy at the Tideway Head of the River in London, the Wyfold Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta and the George Innes Cup at Henley Women’s Regatta.

The club provides opportunities for people across Worcestershire to learn how to row through regular Go Row courses during the year and to compete at events, allowing juniors and adults of all ages to keep fit through the sport.

The first mention of schools’ rowing in Worcester is from a local press report dated 1865 involving The Cathedral School crew and Worcester College for the Blind later held regattas.

The lively involvement of King’s School and the Royal Grammar School in the sport over the years has also increased interest in rowing across the city.

And the Royal Worcester Museum has recently opened a new display in collaboration with the rowing club as part of its celebrations.

It has long-standing links with Worcester Porcelain as George Grainger’s porcelain works manufactured the Loving Cup which helped celebrate the opening of the club back in 1874.

Visitors can see some amazing objects on display at the museum, many of which are on loan from members of the club.

This year the club is inviting local businesses to partner up through a range of different corporate sponsorship opportunities.

It is run wholly by volunteers and corporate sponsors are vital to keeping rowing kit up to date as well as opportunities available to the community.

People can find out more on its website at or by emailing Paula Williamson, the club’s fundraising lead, at