Leander celebrates 200 years

Leander Club, the most successful and prestigious rowing club in the world, is celebrating its bicentenary with a whole variety of events


One of Leander's 199 Henley wins - in the 2017 Prince of Wales Challenge Cup (c) Leander

Leander Club is celebrating 200 years of success during 2018 with a whole variety of events in Henley as well as further afield.

They include an exhibition at the River and Rowing Museum, celebratory dinners in London, Dublin, Sydney and New York, and the ‘Hippo 200 Project’ in which local clubs, schools and organisations are invited to decorate hippos as part of a community-wide project in the Henley area.

And though Leander has had much to celebrate in the past, its vision is very much for the future, where the club hopes to share its hard-won expertise with others in the sport.

The club’s schools outreach project is already reaping rewards by attracting new talent from local, non-rowing, state schools. Having expressed an interest in the sport boys and girls can then be directed to other rowing clubs in the area while some are recruited to the high-performance programme at Leander.

Its elite rowing programme has generated an enviable degree of success over recent years, with sporting legends including Pete Reed, Debbie Flood, Steve Redgrave, Vicky Thornley, Matthew Pinsent and Anna Watkins.

Leander has so far notched up 199 wins at Henley in its first 199 years!

It was in 1818 that six gentlemen first set out in the ‘Leander’, a clinker-built cutter, from Searles’s boathouse in Lambeth, London, on the site of what is now St Thomas’s Hospital.

Some forty years later Leander moved upstream to Putney to avoid the congestion and pollution which had become prevalent in London throughout the 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1896 that Leander finally developed its clubhouse in Henley.

Its foundation coincided with the development of the modern Olympic Games, and Leander athletes have since gone on to win 124 Olympic medals, as well as three Paralympic golds.

Leander has been similarly successful at Henley Royal Regatta where, by coincidence, the club has so far notched up 199 wins in its first 199 years!

The club’s history and success are reflected in a sumptuous new book ‘The First 200 Years’, where readers can also get under the skin of the club and its athletes, and gain some understanding of the reason behind Leander’s success in rowing.

The club’s fledgling coaches’ outreach programme has drawn support from both British Rowing and World Rowing as it seeks to nurture promising coaching talent in developing rowing nations.

Details of Leander and its bicentenary programme can be found here.