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The Boat Race 1858

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15th Boat Race
Date 27 March 1858 (1858-03-27)
Winner Cambridge
Margin of victory 7 and 1/2 lengths
Winning time 21 minutes 23 seconds
Overall record
Umpire Joseph William Chitty

The 15th Boat Race took place on the River Thames on 27 March 1858. Typically held annually, the event is a side-by-side rowing race between crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The 1858 race, disrupted by poor rowing and a collision with a barge, was won by Cambridge who defeated Oxford by seven-and-a-half lengths in a time of 21 minutes 23 seconds.


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] Oxford went into this year's race as reigning champions, having defeated Cambridge by eleven lengths in the previous year's race. Cambridge however led overall with eight wins to Oxford's six.[4]

Cambridge were coached for the fifth time by Thomas Selby Egan, (who had coxed the Light Blues in the 1836, 1839 and 1840 races),[5][6] while Oxford's coach was Alfred Shadwell (cox for the Dark Blues in the 1842 race and coach for the fourth time).[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][9]


The Oxford crew weighed an average of 11 st 8.875 lb (73.7 kg), 1 pound (0.5 kg) per rower more than their opponents. Archibald Levin Smith, Robert Wharton and Robert Lewis-Lloyd (who was rowing his third Boat Race for the Light Blues)[10] had featured in Cambridge's 1857 crew. Oxford's crew included five participants who had competed in the previous race,[11] including J. T. Thorley, who was making his third appearance in the event.[10]

Archibald Levin Smith rowed at number two for Cambridge.
Seat Cambridge
University of Cambridge coat of arms.svg
Name College Weight Name College Weight
Bow H. H. Lubbock Gonville and Caius 11 st 4 lb R. W. Risley Exeter 11 st 8 lb
2 A. L. Smith 1st Trinity 11 st 4 lb J. Arkell Pembroke 11 st 3 lb
3 W. J. Havart Lady Margaret Boat Club 11 st 4 lb C. G. Lane Christ Church 11 st 10 lb
4 D. Darroch 1st Trinity 12 st 1 lb H. Austen Magdalen 12 st 7 lb
5 H. Williams Lady Margaret Boat Club 12 st 4 lb E. Lane Balliol 11 st 10 lb
6 R. L. Lloyd (P) Magdalene 11 st 13 lb W. H. Wood University 12 st 0 lb
7 A. H. Fairbairn 2nd Trinity 11 st 12 lb E. Warre Balliol 13 st 2 lb
Stroke J. Hall Magdalene 10 st 7 lb J. T. Thorley (P) Wadham 10 st 3 lb
Cox R. Wharton Magdalene 9 st 2 lb H. S. Walpole Balliol 9 st 5 lb
(P) – boat club president[12]


The Championship Course along which the Boat Race is competed

Cambridge won the toss and elected to start from the Middlesex station, handing the Surrey side of the river to Oxford.[13] The race commenced at 1pm and almost immediately the Oxford boat club president and stroke J. T. Thorley "caught a crab"[14] which "completely brought their eight to standstill."[15] Cambridge took the lead but were caught following a clash of their port-side oars with a barge. The boats were level at the Crab Tree pub but here Cambridge began to draw ahead and passed under Hammersmith Bridge with a length-and-a-half lead.[16] The Light Blues continued to increase their lead and passed the flag-boat at Mortlake seven-and-a-half lengths ahead of Oxford in a time of 21 minutes 23 seconds.[4]

It was the fastest time since the 1846 race (which was held on the ebb tide), and took the overall record in the event to 9–6 in Cambridge's favour.[17] Although it was hoped that a rematch would be conducted at the Henley Royal Regatta, Oxford failed to make up a crew, and Cambridge went on to defeat Leander Club before winning the Grand Challenge Cup against London Rowing Club.[18][19]



  1. ^ a b "Dark Blues aim to punch above their weight". The Observer. 6 April 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  2. ^ Smith, Oliver (25 March 2014). "University Boat Race 2014: spectators' guide". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  3. ^ "The Course". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Boat Race – Results". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  5. ^ MacMichael, pp. 238–239
  6. ^ Burnell, p. 110
  7. ^ Burnell, pp. 54, 111
  8. ^ Drinkwater, p. 54
  9. ^ Burnell, pp. 49, 97
  10. ^ a b Burnell, p. 56
  11. ^ a b MacMichael, p. 248
  12. ^ Burnell, pp. 50–51
  13. ^ MacMichael, p. 242
  14. ^ Anderson, Andy (15 October 2000). "Ask Doctor Rowing: British crabs and wooden schoenbrods". The Independent Rowing News. p. 30.
  15. ^ Drinkwater, p. 45
  16. ^ MacMichael, p. 243
  17. ^ "Results". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  18. ^ Drinkwater, p. 46
  19. ^ Burnell, p. 86


  • Burnell, Richard (1979). One Hundred and Fifty Years of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Precision Press. ISBN 0950063878.
  • Drinkwater, G. C.; Sanders, T. R. B. (1929). The University Boat Race – Official Centenary History. Cassell & Company, Ltd.
  • MacMichael, William Fisher (1870). The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races: From A.D. 1829 to 1869. Deighton.

External links

  • Official website
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