The club was formed originally at Stones Engineering Works, in Deptford and was called Stones Rowing Club with membership being restricted to employees of the company only.
In those days the boats used were heavy clinker fours and were hired from local Waterman at East Greenwich for use mainly on Sunday mornings. This was found to be expensive and in time the club applied to Stones for a grant in order to purchase new equipment. For some reason this was refused and as a result the club broke away from the firm and set up independently to attract new members from wherever they could, with headquarters in the Lord Clyde public house.

The club was then known as the Clyde Rowing Club and entered regattas with some success. During the mid 1930’s, the headquarters was moved to yet another public house called The Globe and so became Globe Rowing Club.

By now the old boats were falling to pieces, and in the late 1930’s it become essential to buy new ones: six were needed, and at £60 each this was an apparently insurmountable obstacle for a club of ordinary working lads. An appeal was launched among the members for interest free loans. The response was amazing and enough was raised to put down a deposit on the purchase of six boats which were ordered from Salters of Oxford. Over the years the loans were repaid in full.

In 1938 the Globe pub was pulled down to make way for a new Town Hall and the club were again on the move with meetings being held in various places until the outbreak of war in 1939. The club’s boats were taken to Salters yard to be stored for the duration of the war.

Following the war the club was still homeless and led a nomadic existence and boats were stored in a local dockyard. This was a difficult time for the club and only due to members enthusiasm did the club survive.

In 1947 our boats were stored in an upstairs room at Brooke’s wharf. The room (more like a long hall) was above the carpenter’s shop and had a large doorway from which boats were lowered onto a wooden platform about 3ft high and then onto boat trolleys to be carried to the steps beside Greenwich Pier at low tide or next door to the Tilbury Dredging Co. on high tides (which in those days were preferred!).

The club then purchased a real Assault Landing Craft with its engine removed. We built a shed on the deck with racks for storing the boats. This craft was moored against the wall of the river embankment outside the Union Hotel, a pub on the down river side of the Greenwich Power Station. The pub had a room in the backyard where we could change and some washing facilities that we could use, and best of all members only had to walk across the road to the boathouse, lower the ramp and put the boats straight into the water at high tide or carry them down the beach a little way at low tide.

Fred Howlett, one of our former members now living in Australia, tells us “It was a little hairy when there was a lot of traffic on the river; the craft would move about a bit and we had to be careful stepping between the craft and the access ladder. Even more pleasing was the fact that after washing and changing back into street clothes, we only had to walk in the back door of the pub for a “refreshing ale”!

In the mid 1950s The club later moved from the Union Hotel back to Tilbury Dredging Co. and purchased the converted Thames barge for our boathouse, it could have been in the period 1953 to ‘56 when some members were away on National Service.
The Story continues…

The history of Globe Rowing Club as detailed above asked for someone to pick up where Freddie Howlett left off, well here goes!

An additional note here, most of this was written from memory I have subsequently been given a number of old books and documents which will fine tune my recall and will be typed up to give a more accurate history.

(Alan Wylie)