The rowing club has evolved over many years. Founded originally in 1936 as the New Museums Boat Club, the club changed names several times before it was renamed in 1995 as Champion of the Thames (Cambridge) Rowing Club.

Following this the club began to grow rapidly and with the introduction of a ladies section in 1998, it took on new impetus. In May 2000 a special meeting of the club was called and proposals were agreed for its future development. These included changing the club colours to orange and black, adopting a new club constitution and joining the Amateur Rowing Association.

The club now has a thriving membership of men, ladies and juniors. “The Champ” were the most successful town club in the 2002 Town Bumps – entering a record 10 crews and gaining 25 places in total, thus winning the inaugural John Jenner Cup. In the 2003 Town Bumps 11 crews were fielded and 2 crews gained their blades having “bumped” crews on each of the 4 nights of the Bumps.


1936–1958New Museums Boat Club1939–1946Club suspended for the duration of the II World War1958–1974ACUA Boat Club (Association of Cambridge University Assistants).1974–1993University Sports Boat Club1993–1995Old Spring Rowing Club1995–DateChampion of the Thames (Cambridge) Rowing Club

The full story:

The club was founded in 1936 by a small group of rowing enthusiasts who worked for Cambridge University, and was originally named the “New Museums Boat Club”. The name “New Museums” was taken from the New Museums site, which then consisted of a number of new lecture rooms and was also the name of the University social club. The rowing club made steady progress and soon established a reputation in local rowing circles. Rowing was suspended for the duration of the Second World War, in which three members of the Club gave their lives. The summer of 1946 found the club back in full swing again.

In 1958, the club had its first change of name to ACUA Boat Club (Association of Cambridge University Assistants). This followed the emergence of ACUA, a house union within the university, representing non-academic staff. It was felt the boat club would be better served if ACUA took on the role of running a number of sporting and social activities, as well its union work.

In 1974 independence of the social club used by ACUA saw the release of all sporting activities from ACUA to the University Sports and Social Club, and the boat club’s name changed again to University Sports Boat Club.

The club had struggled for many years because of a lack of members and equipment. But in the early eighties there was an influx of younger members, the result of which was the club doing well in the town bumps and several regatta wins. However membership later declined and in 1993 the University Sports and Social Club decided to withdraw their support for the boat club, mainly because the majority of the members were employed outside the University.

A meeting was called by stalwarts of the club and it was unanimously agreed to continue running a rowing club, but on an independent basis. At the time the regular meeting point for members of the club was the Old Spring public house, and because the then landlord agreed to sponsor the club, the rowing club was renamed “The Old Spring Rowing Club”.

In 1995 sponsorship by the Old Spring ended and the club was struggling to put any crews on the river. The Champion of the Thames public house in Kings Street, Cambridge offered sponsorship and the name of the club changed again. The Champion of the Thames pub was named after an oarsman who had won a rowing race on the River Thames, and then moved to Cambridge around 1860. He lodged at a house in Kings Street, and all his letters were addressed to the Champion of the Thames, Kings Street, Cambridge. When the premises became an alehouse the name of the establishment was made permanent.