The History of the Race


The race was founded on 10 August 1830, at the instigation of barrister Henry Colsell Wingfield. The idea for the race was suggested at a dinner after a sculling race and following this a subscription dinner was held at the Swan in Battersea, where money was raised to fund the event, the rules were decided and a date was set.
The initial conditions were that the race should be run on the half tide from Westminster to Putney against all challengers, annually on 10 August forever (10 August being Wingfield's birthday), though the first race actually went from the Red House, Battersea to Hammersmith. The betting on the outcome was considerable.

The original regulations: 

The winner of these sculls shall row any gentleman who shall before August challenge him in writing or shall forfeit them. An umpire shall be appointed with whom each challenger shall deposit five pounds, and the holderof the Sculls, the Sculls only. If there be more than one challenger they shall row from Westminster Bridge to Putney Bridge at half flood on the third of August (without intentional fouling if more than two row) and the first through the centre arch shall draw his stake and be entitled to row the holder. The holder shall row the best or only challenger on the tenth of August, the distance and at the time above stated, and the winner shall take both the Sculls and stakes, and hold the former on the above condition. If any dispute shall aise as to the competency of any gentleman to challenge, or on any other subject not strictlythe province of the Umpire it shall be decided by a majority of the amateurs who shall have rowed for the Sculls in former years.


Following the first Wingfield Sculls race, a separate Championship of the Thames for professional scullers was held for the first time in October 1831, which ceased in 1957 due to a decline in prize purses from betting in the sport and on the merger of the 'amateur' and 'professional'/'manual trade' former class-based categories of rowers.


The race is first refered to race as amateur championship of Thames.


P.Colquhoun's father founds eponymous silver sculls, based on Wingfields and on same course until it moved to the Cam in 1843.


The race was delayed until 17th because W M Scott threatened to race and it was felt he did not qualify as a gentleman amateur as he held a menial position.
The first Henley Regatta took place


 T. Jenkins won heat but rowed over final as Chapman was in Boulogne for his health, Lord Kilmorey put up 50 Guineans to match Chapman and Jenkins, Chapman's brother put up £50 but Jenkins refused to row for that much money so a plate was made of equivalent value.


Boatrace moves course to Putney to Mortlake


The rules of the Wingfields Sculls were revised. The course was changed to take place between Putney Bridge and Kew Bridge, fouling was outlawd following  Walmisley fouling so badly to win the year before that no one would challenge the following year and specified umpiring arrangements were made.


Casamajor called meeting to address status of the Wingfield Sculls as it was now known. Date considered too late, too much fouling, undermined by Diamonds as Championship of the Thames and presumably dominated by Casamajor who had resigned from Diamonds to give others a chance.
Thames Rowing Club was Founded.


The course was changed to the Championship course between Putney and Mortlake and has stayed the same ever since. 
Race postponed in honour of Casamajor who died on 7th August.


The date was brought forward to around the 15th July (after Henley).


Metropolitan Amateur regatta founded offering the London Cup for scullers.


Only scullers of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland eligible to compete.


No Races took place between 1915 and 1919 due to the First World War


First Head of the River Race took place on the Tideway.


Launches could be used instead of cutters for pilots


The Centenary dinner was held at Lord Iveagh's house, 11 St James Square, he was in the chair and F.I. Pitman vice chair. All former Champions were invited and it was decided that the same should happen once a decade. 


F.I.Pitman acting treasurer as Playford had died, C.W.Wise and Guy Nickalls trustees of Champion's Fund.


Revised rules published; committee to be made up of previous champions not competitiors, course now from University stone, through centre arch of Hammersmith bridge and Barnes under instruction of umpire, if only three entries to race in one heat, if more two heats in which holder must compete, ARA rules of racing adopted except steering allowed. Committee to be made up of past champions not competitors.


T.D.A.Collet is named secretary, F.I.Pitman continued as de facto treasurer.


At a meeting on 10th July it was decided to postpone the race to the second half of September, "to ensure a representative entry owing to the exigencies of military training." J.Beresford secretary.
No Races took place between 1939 and 1945 due to the Second World War


The Summer Olympics are held in London with the rowing taking place at Henley.


Launches could be used instead of cutters for pilots.


ARA and NARA discussing a merger, committee approached both to see if sculling could have a representative in the merged body.


No stake boats were used.


Stake boats no longer felt to be required. Departed ARA rules of racing by allowing steering from outside boat


The Champions' dinner was held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club.


Lord Iveagh donates Guiness shares which keep Champioship solvent.


P.N.Carpmael is named secretary. 


N.P.Cooper is named treasurer


The 150th Dinner at London Rowing Club, D.Guye in the chair.


Approached by Women's rowing commission to run Women's Championships with Wingfields.


G.A.Mulcahy is named treasurer


160th dinner at London Rowing Club, CKH Buckle in chair.


Haining takes record in under 20 mins saying "I won't see that broken in my lifetime"


O.W.Hall-Craggs is named secretary


170th dinner at Watermen's Hall
For the first time the Championship was raced for twice in a year and switched to an autumn date to fit into the international calendar and allow the top scullers to compete.    
M.J.B.Kettle is named treasurer


G.R.Pooley is named treasurer


25 October saw the revival of the women's championship which, except for the years between 1939–48, had been an annual event from 1929 until the early 1970s, when the Women's Amateur Rowing Association amalgamated with the ARA.
The Wingfield Family Society funded and presented a silver trophy – based on Henry Wingfield’s original 1830 Trophy - for the revived Women’s Wingfields.
The closest living relative to Henry Wingfield, Clare Morton (the g-g-great granddaughter of Henry’s Uncle John Wingfield) presented both the trophy to the winner of the 2007 race, Elise Laverick, and a framed montage of extracts about the "Life of the Wingfield Sculls Founder" to Wade Hall-Craggs, the Honorary Secretary of the Wingfield Sculls Committee.
Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand won with a Row Over after I.Lawson and M.Hunter withdrew entries in objection to committee accepting a foreign entry.


The Summer Olympics are held in London with the rowing taking place on Dorney Lake, Eton.


The Women's Boat Race comes to the Tideway.
The Wingfields website is launched!