New boathouse for Royal Canoe Club
In its unique setting on an island in the River Thames, the Royal Canoe Club is providing greatly improved facilities for both members and the local community following the opening of a new clubhouse.
Around 400 kayakers/canoeists, rowers, skiffers and dragon boaters regularly use the Royal Canoe Club, its current site on Trowlock Island on the Thames near Teddington having been the club’s home for 110 years.
The club wanted to provide improved facilities for its members, be able to host training events and provide the local community with opportunities for social and physical recreation. However, the committee realised that the buildings were over 100 years old, in a poor state, draughty, and had no access for wheelchairs.
The archetypal new boathouse is a long, low building dog-legged to make maximum use of available site. Flooding could be a major issue at Trowlock Island so to protect it against 1-in-100 year flood event damage, it is built on 900mm high brick piers which allow space for the free flow of water during very high tides or in a flood.
Its coaching and workout room enjoys excellent views over the river and provides ample space for a variety of other activities, social functions and community meetings. The new building boasts changing rooms, disabaled toilet and shower areas, as well as a heavy-weights gymnasium situated at the rear of the building. Ramps and a disabled lift on one side mean that all elements of the facility are fully accessible to disabled users. There are three sheds to store boats, blades and assorted equipment complete the facilities.
Asked whether the club is happy with project, committee member Janet Evans says: ‘We are absolutely delighted. We now have a facility that will allow us to expand the range of our activities and one that is ideal for everyone from Olympic canoeists through to local clubs. Being wheelchair friendly throughout means we can provide increased opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in watersports – something we are very keen on."
Report from Royal Canoe Club