New Series of Rowing Book Talks Unveiled

The programme and dates for the Leander Library Rowing Book Talk Series 2 has now been unveiled.  The talks are open to everyone and are in support of the Leander Trust, a registered charity that changes the lives of young people through rowing.

The first event in Series 2 is on 7 March 2024 with Chris Seward, who has written In the Pink, a history of rowing at Westminster School. With written records of boating dating back to 1813, Westminister School can rightly claim to have been a prime originator of the sport of amateur rowing. Races between Westminister and Eton in the nineteenth century were sporting and social occasions that generated as great a following as the matches between Oxford and Cambridge, as well as controversy within the schools themselves. Hear from the author himself how this book is a painstakingly researched history bringing to life the eventful narrative of the world’s oldest‑recorded amateur boat club.

The second event in Series 2 is on 16 May 2024 with John Beresford, who has written a biography of his father, Jack Beresford, in An Olympian at War. Jack Beresford was the first British Olympian to win medals of any colour in five consecutive Olympic Games. His record of 3 Gold and 2 silver medals at the 5 Olympic Games held between 1920 and 1936 remained until Sir Steve Redgrave won gold at the 2000 Sydney Games. Historically, men have had two great chances to prove their mettle; in battle and in sport. While many are aware that Jack Beresford was one of Britain’s greatest oarsmen, what few know is that Beresford served his country with distinction in war as well as in peace, and both with a modesty that is usually indicative of true merit. Come to this book talk to listen to the story that Jack never wrote, which has a delicious (if vicious) irony; the German bullet that wounded 19-year-old 2nd Lieutenant Beresford in 1918 led to him abandoning rugby and taking up rowing. Eighteen years later, the German favourites to win the Olympic Double Sculls paid the price of Jack’s change of sport as, in the final’s last 100 metres, Dick Southwood and Jack Beresford rowed them to a standstill to win Olympic Gold.

For those of you who attended Rowing Book Talk 2 in Series 1 about Jumbo Edwards, there will be links as Jumbo went to Westminster School and Jumbo and Jack rowed together. Attend these talks to hear the other side of the stories.

Tickets are available to purchase here: The ticket includes a generous finger buffet with a main, dessert and cheese and is in aid of the Leander Trust, a registered charity to advance the education of young people and their physical education by enabling and encouraging rowing and sculling. The charity has changed the lives of many young people through rowing.



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