Henley Royal Regatta food

Spectators on the waters at the Henley Royal Regatta (somewhere between1890-1900)Henley Royal Regatta will run from July 1-5 this year (2015) | Photo Credit: Henley Royal Regatta

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Henley Royal Regatta, the world-famous rowing competition in Oxfordshire that’s a bastion of Edwardian style, returns this July. Here’s what you need to know.

Spectators on the waters at the Henley Royal Regatta (somewhere between1890-1900)

The History

The most famous regatta in the world has been running annually ever since its establishment in 1839 - except for during the two World Wars. It was originally staged by the Mayor and residents of Henley as a public attraction with a fair and other amusements, but the focus later became the competitive rowing.

Henley Bridge stretching over the Thames | Photo: Nigel HomerHenley Bridge stretching over the Thames | Photo: Nigel Homer

The Location

The five-day event takes place in Henley-on-Thames, a town of around 10, 600 people in Oxfordshire. The first recorded mention of Henley was in 1179, and the town has survived the outbreak of the Black Death (when it lost 60% of its population) and the tumultuous period of the English Civil War. It’s now best known for the Regatta (as well as being a filming location for Midsomer Murders!).

The Royal Regatta course | Image credit: Henley Royal Regatta

The Course

The course for the Regatta is the 1 mile long stretch of Henley Reach, a naturally straight portion of the River Thames north of the town which takes approximately seven minutes to cover.The Royal Regatta course | Image credit: Henley Royal Regatta The Thames itself is the longest river in England, winding 215 miles across the country from its Cotswolds source near Kemble, through Oxford, Reading and London, to its mouth, the Thames Estuary, where it spills out into the North Sea.

A.A.S.R. Skoll (Netherlands) vs. Worcester Polytechnic Institution (USA) during the Temple Challenge Cup | Photo credit: Henley Royal Regatta

The Races

A.A.S.R. Skoll (Netherlands) vs. Worcester Polytechnic Institution (USA) during the Temple Challenge Cup | Photo credit: Henley Royal RegattaOver the five days, there are 20 racing events, with various classes for each, amounting to 200 races in all! Henley has its own rowing rules, having been established before national or international rowing federations, making racing at the Regatta pretty unique.

Imperial College London during the Temple Challenge Cup | Photo credit: Henley Royal Regatta

The Rowers

It’s an international event, typically attracting rowing clubs from the US, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, France and Canada, among other nations. University teams are always represented, with contenders from Oxford and Cambridge colleges, Harvard, Yale and Princeton, Melbourne, Durham, ICL, Lyon, York and plenty of others competing. And there’s a strong association with the Olympics; Olympians past and present have taken to the Regatta waters, 270 of them still alive today, including gold medallists. Indeed, Sir Steve Redgrave is now chairman of the event. Veteran rowers still alive today include Paul Bircher and Michael Lapage who competed in the 1948 Eights, and 95-year-old Charles Eugster who competed at the Royal Regatta in 1938, and is the world’s oldest competitive oarsman and bodybuilder! Though he now attends Henley in a spectatorial capacity.

Imperial College London during the Temple Challenge Cup | Photo credit: Henley Royal Regatta Henley Royal Regatta will run from July 1-5 this year (2015) | Photo Credit: Henley Royal Regatta Leander Club & Gloucester RC during the Princess Grace Challenge Cup | Photo credit: Henley Royal Regatta Prince Albert, the first patron of the Henley Royal Regatta, painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1842
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Prints Online Photo Jigsaw Puzzle of Party of people picnicking at Henley Regatta
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  • PHOTO JIGSAW PUZZLE You are purchasing one Photo Puzzle (252 Pieces). Estimated image size 356x254mm
  • 10x14 Photo Puzzle with 252 pieces. Packed in black cardboard box of dimensions 5 5/8 x 7 5/8 x 1 1/5. Puzzle artwork 5x7 affixed to box top. Puzzle pieces printed...
  • Artwork Description A party of people picnicking at the Henley Royal Regatta, an annual rowing event held on the River Thames near the town of Henley-on-Thames...
  • For any queries regarding this choice of artwork please contact Prints Online quoting Reference 4307017
  • Artwork chosen by Prints Online. (c) Mary Evans Picture Library 2015 -

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