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University College Boat Club (Oxford)

University College Boat Club commonly abbreviated to UCBC is the rowing club for all members of University College, Oxford "Univ" UCBC has had a recent run of successes, notably in the Women's divisions with the Women's 1st VIII winning Blades in Summer Eights 2015 to leave them fourth on the river, and the 2nd VIII winning Blades in Summer Eights 2014 The men's side is also highly successful and is currently seventh on the river in Summer Eights, with three crews in fixed divisions[1]


  • 1 History
  • 2 Recent Results
  • 3 The Boathouse
  • 4 Equipment
  • 5 Notable alumni of UCBC
  • 6 Social events
    • 61 Dinosaurs and Cassandrians
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


The idea of inter collegiate racing was pioneered by Brasenose College Boat Club and Jesus College Boat Club in 1815 In 1827, it was decided to form a University College eight The origins of UCBC can be attributed to one student, William Roper, who supervised the raising of £100 to build a boat and select a crew Whilst the crew did not compete in 1829 or 1832-8 it has done so almost continuously until the present day, first going Head of the River in 1841 By the mid-1850s the Boat Club was enjoying a centrality to college life that it has not lost The mid nineteenth century was a period of great success for UCBC being Head of the River in 1869–71, 1874–5 and 1877–8[2] One undergraduate Charles Cree recorded the celebrations in 1871:

"Univ Head in the Eights Univ, though Balliol came near them were never in dangerThe Eight supped with Snell and the rest of us joined them after supper, and had a glorious evening Singing and shouting as well as our voices would let us — Everything went off well no one being drunk"[2]

Univ won the headship in 1914, the college now being in possession of an original commemorative blade from that time Sadly, many of that crew did not live to see the end of the Great War Stephen Hawking was a member of the club in the 1960s, coxing the Men's Second VIII The club features on the front cover of his autobiography, My Brief History

Univ was last Eights Head of the River from 1990 to 1991

Recent Results

Men's 1st VIII Summer Eights 2007 coxed by Acer Nethercott

In Summer Eights, the Men's 1st VIII has climbed steadily over the past decade from the middle of Division II As of 2017, the 1st Eight is seventh on the river The Women's 1st Eight meanwhile, achieved Blades in 2010, 2011 and 2015 and are now fourth in Division 1, equalling their highest position ever last achieved in 1992 The club is also highly successful lower-down the divisions, qualifying more boats for Eights 2012 and 2014 than any other college[1]

The club's recent record in Torpids is less successful, with the Men's 1st Torpid currently towards the bottom of Division II The Women's 1st Torpid has been stronger recently, achieving Blades in 2010 and 2011, and moving up four places in 2015 to be seventh on the river in Division 1

Novice training is also strong, with large numbers of boats entered every year for Nepthys Regatta and Christ Church Regatta[1] Indeed, the former was won in 2012 by the Men's Novice A crew

Additionally, UCBC has been successful in external regattas and races, for example, in 2014 Univ Women won Novice Eights at Bedford Regatta, 56th place in Women's Head of the River and 4th place in the Intermediate Academic Coxed Fours at Henley Women's Regatta

The Boathouse

Main article: University College Boathouse

UCBC's boathouse has become an iconic and instantly recognisable architectural statement in and around Oxford The original 19th century boathouse, designed by John Oldrid Scott, succumbed to arson in 1999 After eight years, a new boathouse was finished, designed by Belsize Architects The Boathouse has been awarded a Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA prize[3] The £27million structure has enjoyed a very favourable reception in the architectural world Yuli Toh's article describes the structure as not just a boathouse, but "a grandstand of the first order" arguing that it represents a new age in rowing[4] The Boathouse was also subject of a recent article in the Row360 rowing magazine[5]

Saturday of Eights’ Week 2007 saw the opening of the new boathouse by Colin Moynihan 1974 who coxed the College and the University, won a silver medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, gained a boxing Blue, later became Minister of Sport, and is now Chairman of the British Olympic Association The ceremony also marked the dedication of the Coleman Viewing Terrace by Jimmy Coleman 1963 and Jamie Coleman 1994; it is named for their generous gift


UCBC benefits from having one of the most modern fleets on the Isis[citation needed]

The men's side of the boat club uses the following shells:

Class Make Name Notes
8+ Empacher 2006 Lord and Lady Butler Named after then Master of the College, and his wife
8+ Empacher 2008 Norman Dix Named after former Boatman Name had previously been used for a wooden boat
8+ Janousek 2000 Michael Collins Named after UCBC Senior Member & Mathematics Fellow
8+ Janousek 2000 Phoenix from the flames purchased after boathouse fire
4+ Janousek 2002 George Cawkwell II Named after Emeritus Fellow
2-/2x 85 kg Janousek 2002 The Two Bills Named after then Head Porter and Chaplain
1x 85 kg Janousek 2002 Bob
1x 70 kg Radley Norman
1x 80 kg Radley Edward

The women's side of the Boat Club uses the following shells:

Class Make Name Notes
8+ Empacher 2008 Minnie Coleman Named after wife of Old Member and benefactor, Jimmy Coleman
8+ Janousek 2007 Margaret Chamberlain
8+ Janousek Marion Screaton II
8+ Janousek Claire Sherriff II Named after Claire Sherriff, benefactor and supporter of UCBC
4+ Janousek 2002 Marjorie Collins Named after wife of UCBC Senior Member & Mathematics Fellow
4+ Janousek 2014 Acer Named after UCBC alumnus Acer Nethercott
1x Janousek 2002 David Named after David Sherriff, benefactor and supporter of UCBC

The boathouse gym is equipped with 8 Model D Concept2 indoor rowers, stretching/exercise mats and balls, and a full weights suite, along with changing rooms for crews

Notable alumni of UCBC

  • Colin Moynihan, Olympic Silver Medallist Moscow 1980 Olympics and Chairman of the British Olympic Committee
  • Acer Nethercott, Olympic Silver Medallist, Cox GB 8+, Beijing 2008 Olympics
  • Mark Evans and Michael Evans Olympic Gold Medallists, Canadian 8+, Los Angeles 1984 Olympics
  • Tom Solesbury, GB pair, Beijing 2008 Olympics, and GB Quad, London 2012 Olympics
  • Stephen Hawking, physicist Coxed whilst studying at Univ, prior to his debilitating illness
  • Roz Savage, ocean rower, speaker and campaigner First woman ever to row solo across three oceans

Social events

UCBC organises several social events per term, ranging from crew dates and pub crawls through to formal dinners, held to celebrate both Torpids and Eights

Dinosaurs and Cassandrians

Univ members who have rowed or coxed at least two days of Summer Eights as part of the Men's 1st VIII are entitled to become a member of the Dinosaurs society Members who have rowed or coxed at least two days of Summer Eights as part of the Women's 1st VIII are entitled to become a member of the Cassandrians society An annual Dinosars and Cassandrians dinner is held usually in January where many Old Members return to the college to celebrate Univ rowing with current members A related club is the Univ Dinosaurs and Cassandrians Ironman Triathlon Club UDCITC


  1. ^ a b c , OURCS
  2. ^ a b Darwall-Smith, Robin 2008 A History of University College Oxford Oxford University Press pp 346–7, 378–380 ISBN 978-0-19-928429-0 
  3. ^ Oxford Mail "New college boathouse scoops design award"
  4. ^ Toh Shimazaki Architecture News Archive
  5. ^ Row360 Article, Row360 Article

External links

  • http://wwwucbcorguk Club website
  • http://wwwunivoxacuk University College website
  • https://wwwfacebookcom/univbc Club Facebook page

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