The Boat Club Endowment Project is being launched in preparation for the 200th Anniversary of the Christ Church Boat Club. The aim of this Project is to secure the future of the Boat Club in perpetuity.
A letter from Sir William Gladstone introducing the Boat Club Appeal is below. Please also see the attached brochure which details the Boat Club Endowment Project.
Dear Member of the House,
As I hastily prepared to come up to The House in October 1946, having managed to get out of the Navy a
few days before the beginning of term, I was surprised to be told by my father that if I took up rowing I
would probably make many of my best friends through the Boat Club. In my mind the Boat Club would
be associated with the less polished and intellectual members of the College, which did not appeal to me.
But my father was right, and I was wrong; and I value my membership of the Boat Club as one of the
most rewarding experiences of my life.
I am honoured to have been asked to write to you, although my rowing career at Oxford was less
distinguished than that of either of my brothers, Peter and Francis, who enjoyed rowing for The House as
much as I did; or, for that matter, of my uncle and my father, A.C. and C. A. Gladstone, who straddled one
of the Club’s annos mirabiles, 1908. I am sure there are members of all vintages who will support this
appeal – and all for the same reason, whether or not they had the good fortune to be photographed in
Peck with triumphal inscriptions and trophies.
Rowing in my book is a supreme sport because no nonsense need be spoken about the team spirit: the
individuality of every member is inevitably a thread woven into a single organic entity – the crew. Once
experienced, the poetry of an eight or a four which is ‘going well’ is never forgotten. The subtle refinements
of the art of rowing, the physical challenge, the excitement of the chase, the moods of the Isis – the
icebergs of 1947, the floods in which ‘the gulfs may wash us down’, the hay harvest breezes, and the
stillness of an autumn evening; and above all the fellowship, which lasts a lifetime; these are the things we
all remember. So let us help our successors to enjoy them.
FROM SIR WILLIAM GLADSTONE, BT., K.G.