22 July 2005
Founded by an Irish actor by the name of Thomas Doggett in 1715, the Doggetts Coat and Bridge Race is one of the worlds oldest rowing races. Doggett, a comedian and manager of the Drury Lane Theatre, organised the race each year on 1 August in commemoration of the accession of George I and offered the prize of a coat and silver badge for the six young watermen who would win. In his will of 10 September 1721 he left instructions for the executors of his estate to continue the tradition bequeathing five pounds for a badge of silver and eighteen shillings for cloth. In one way or another, the race along the River Thames has taken place every year since, but now falls on 22 July. Four and half miles long, the race follows the river Thames from The Swan at London Bridge to The Swan at Chelsea and usually takes 30 minutes. Viewing is free. Fri 12.15-12.45.