The Boat Race 1871

The 28th Boat Race between crews from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge took place on the River Thames on the 1 April 1871. The race, umpired by Joseph William Chitty, was won by Cambridge by one length in a time of 23 minutes 10 seconds for their second consecutive victory.

28th Boat Race
Date1 April 1871 (1871-04-01)
Margin of victory1 length
Winning time23 minutes 10 seconds
Overall record
UmpireJoseph William Chitty


Joseph William Chitty was the umpire for the 1871 Boat Race.

The Boat Race is a side-by-side rowing competition between the University of Oxford (sometimes referred to as the "Dark Blues")[1] and the University of Cambridge (sometimes referred to as the "Light Blues").[1] The race was first held in 1829, and since 1845 has taken place on the 4.2-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course on the River Thames in southwest London.[2][3] Cambridge went into the race as reigning champions, having defeated Oxford by three lengths in the previous year's race, while Oxford led overall with sixteen wins to Cambridge's eleven.[4]

Oxford were coached by W. D. Benson (their non-rowing president, who had rowed three times for the Dark Blues in the 1868, 1869 and 1870 races).[5] Cambridge's coach was John Graham Chambers (who rowed in the 1862 and 1863 race, and was a non-rowing president for the 1865 race)[6] and John Hilton Ridley (who rowed in the 1869 and 1870 races).[7]

The race was umpired by Joseph William Chitty who had rowed for Oxford twice in 1849 (in the March and December races) and the 1852 race, while the starter was Edward Searle.[8]


The Oxford crew weighed an average of 12 st 4.125 lb (76.1 kg), 2.75 pounds (1.2 kg) more than their opponents.[9] The Cambridge crew saw only three new rowers, with five returning from the 1870 race, including the Cambridge University Boat Club president John Goldie and William Henry Lowe in their third appearance in the event, along with the cox Henry Erskine Gordon. Similarly, Oxford saw five of their crew return, including S. H. Woodhouse at bow and Thomas Southey Baker who were participating in their third Boat Races.[10]

Seat Cambridge
Name College Weight Name College Weight
Bow J. S. Follet 3rd Trinity 11 st 6.5 lb S. H. Woodhouse University 11 st 6.5 lb
2 John B. Close 1st Trinity 11 st 8 lb E. Giles Christ Church 11 st 13.5 lb
3 H. J. Lomax 1st Trinity 12 st 2 lb T. S. Baker Queen's 13 st 3.5 lb
4 E. A. A. Spencer 2nd Trinity 12 st 9 lb E. C. Malan Worcester 13 st 1 lb
5 W. H. Lowe Christ's 12 st 10 lb J. E. Edwards-Moss Balliol 12 st 8.5 lb
6 E. L. Phelps Sidney Sussex 12 st 1 lb F. E. H. Payne St John's 12 st 9.5 lb
7 E. S. L. Randolph 3rd Trinity 11 st 10 lb J. M. Clintock-Bubury Brasenose 11 st 8 lb
Stroke J. H. D. Goldie (P) Lady Margaret Boat Club 12 st 6.5 lb R. Lesley Pembroke 11 st 10.5 lb
Cox H. E. Gordon 1st Trinity 7 st 13 lb F. H. Hall Corpus Christi 7 st 10.5 lb
(P) – boat club president (W. D. Benson was Oxford's non-rowing president)[11]


The Championship Course, along which the race is conducted

There was "little or no tide and head wind over part of the course" according to Drinkwater.[12] Cambridge won the toss and elected to start from the Surrey station, handing the Middlesex station to Oxford.[9] The umpire, Chitty, got the race underway at 10.08 a.m., with Cambridge taking an early lead. The Light Blues had a clear water advantage by the Point and held a two-length lead by the time the crews shot Hammersmith Bridge.[12] Despite a spurt instigated by Oxford stroke Robert Lesley at Barnes Bridge, Goldie remained steady until, before the final twenty strokes, he increased the stroke rate and saw Cambridge home by one length in a time of 23 minutes 10 seconds for their second consecutive victory and took the overall record to 16–12 in Oxford's favour.[4]



  1. ^ a b "Dark Blues aim to punch above their weight". The Observer. 6 April 2003. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  2. ^ Smith, Oliver (25 March 2014). "University Boat Race 2014: spectators' guide". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  3. ^ "The Course". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Boat Race – Results". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  5. ^ Burnell, p. 96
  6. ^ Burnell, p. 104
  7. ^ Burnell, pp. 108, 110–111
  8. ^ Burnell, pp. 49, 97
  9. ^ a b c Burnell, p. 60
  10. ^ Burnell, p. 59
  11. ^ Burnell, p. 50–51
  12. ^ a b Drinkwater, p. 65


  • Burnell, Richard (1979). One Hundred and Fifty Years of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Precision Press. ISBN 0950063878.
  • Dodd, Christopher (1983). The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race. Stanley Paul. ISBN 0091513405.
  • Drinkwater, G. C.; Sanders, T. R. B. (1929). The University Boat Race – Official Centenary History. Cassell & Company, Ltd.

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