About

History

Welcome to the Lady Margaret Boat Club (LMBC), affectionately known by its members as Maggie.

The oldest college boat club on the Cam, LMBC was founded in 1825.  At times it has boated up to 15 VIII’s for the May races.  LMBC has always been innovative.  It brought the first VIII to the Cam in 1826, it helped to initiate the first boat race, a member founded the Colquhouns sculls and others initiated the Lightweight Boat Race.

In 1829, Merivale helped to found the first University boat race through his friendship with Wordsworth, a school friend and the Lady Margaret Captain Snow challenged Oxford to a race.  Snow was Captain of the Cambridge crew and together with Selwyn and Merivale they raced in Lady Margaret colours. 

A great influence in the 1860’s and ‘70’s was J.H.D. Goldie who stroked LMBC to Head of the River in 1872, and stroked Cambridge for four years ending Oxford’s winning sequence of nine years.  The Cambridge boathouse is named after him, as is the University reserve crew.

We have had legendary coaches over the years, but outstanding amongst them was Roy Meldrum. He instigated the Lady Margaret style in the 1950’s and wrote three coaching books which today are still relevant.

The Lady Margaret Boat House, finished in 1901, is the finest on the Cam and was the first boathouse to have a workshop for the Boatman. The boathouse was extended further in the 1970s and then again in 2000 to create more indoor training space, giving the club some of the best training facilities on the river, with up to date weight-training equipment and a set of eight concept 2 rowing machines with TV monitors. More recently, a shed has been designed and built to house the club's fours.

The Club has had a number of success peaks with the highlight being in the late 1940 and 50’s.

In 1949  the first boat made four bumps and overall in the Mays nine crews made 32 bumps.  The first boat went on to win the Ladies Plate at Henley Royal Regatta, setting a new course record.

In 1950 LMBC again made four bumps; this time to go Head of the River after a gap of  24 years since 1926, and stayed Head for five years, winning the privilege of having a weather race on the Boat House.  Of the winning 1950 Boat Race crew, six men were from Lady Margaret.

In 1951 Maggie won the Grand at Henley, had five members of the Cambridge crew which also went over to America and won races against Harvard and Yale.  Five members of the crew formed the British VIII for the European Rowing Championship at Macon.  It won the gold medal and was coached by Roy Meldrum and Brian Lloyd, on his honeymoon.

In 1952 Lady Margaret landed six members of the Olympic VIII for the Helsinki games; three other members of the rowing team were from Lady Margaret making nine out of a squad total of 25.  The club also stayed Head of the River and won the Ladies Plate at Henley with what was largely a 2nd May VIII.

Lady Margaret has continued with successful periods.

1959-61   Head of the River 3 years and winning the Ladies Plate twice

1966    At Henley winning the double, Ladies Plate and Visitors Cup

1974-75  Head of the River

1980-81, 84   Head of the River

1988-89    Head of the River

In 1982 women joined Lady Margaret and quickly made their mark going head of the Lents and the Mays in 1991 and retained Mays headship in 1992.  They won the College event at  Women’s Henley in 1990 and 1991.

Members of the Club are well known for their scarlet jackets which gave rise to the term 'blazer'. Members with First May Colours are entitled to wear trim and gold buttons on their blazer, while First Lent or Second May Colours are entitled to wear silver buttons on their blazer.

A great feature of Lady Margaret is success in coaching novices, for example in the five head of the river crews 1950-54.  Six novice members who had never rowed before went on to row for Cambridge.

All members of Lady Margaret can take pride in the club's past. But we must also look to the future, and its twin objectives of embracing both participation and excellence in rowing, to ensure that every generation of oarswomen and oarsmen has the best possible chance of adding another glorious page to our history.