Rochester Cruising ClubHistory

Rochester Cruising Club has occupied its present location since its formation in 1905. The first Commodore of the Club was Richard Wadhams, a Foreman Barge Builder, who worked for a local boatyard and is remembered for his part in constructing the "Susannah ". She was reputedly the largest Bawley ever built on the River Medway.

In its early days, the club members congregated on a number of disused barges moored adjacent to what is now the Esplanade, until in 1937 members erected a shore based Clubhouse on land leased from the City of Rochester Council. This facility survived the damage inflicted during the Second World War up until 1974, when a new Clubhouse was officially opened.

2005, our Centenary Year, saw the official opening of an enlarged and modernised Clubhouse, which is capable of supporting a range of social activities for its ever increasing membership. Pontoon moorings, complete with electricity and water services, plus a Fuel Facility and Scrubbing Berth have been provided for the use of members.

Throughout its history, Rochester Cruising Club has maintained close links with the local community and Council, and in the past, many members of the Club were also members of the Council. It was in 1960 that the then Mayor of Rochester and Admiral of the River, Councillor Jack Phillips, sought the assistance of Alderman Maurice Cole, a Club member, in re instating the old custom of the beating of the Admiral's bounds, from the Hawkwood Stone to Sheerness. This event, The Admiral's Cruise, was to forge a close relationship between Council ,Club and the Rochester Oyster And Floating Fisherman.

The event has attracted the participation of many local Clubs and organisations, and commemorative pennants are distributed to participating vessels by the Admiral of the River during the cruise downriver. On the eve of the cruise, Rochester Cruising Club has hosted a dance in the Clubhouse and a reception on completion of the cruise the following day, together with the traditional Sunset Ceremony. 1973 saw the last Admiral's Cruise under the powers granted to the City of Rochester and was marked by a Fly Past of 18 aircraft which had been participating in the Rochester Air Show. The Admiral's Cruise of 1980 turned out to be a memorable occasion, as it involved the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Peter Gadsson, who also enjoyed certain powers on the River Medway as far up as Upnor. The Admiral of the River, Councillor G.D.Wickinson, embarked upon the "Arctic", skippered by Ken Tierney, met up with the Lord Mayor, aboard "Medway Surveyor " in Long Reach for the ceremony at Upnor and then both vessels and the assembled fleet made their way upriver to Rochester Cruising Club for the reception. 1992 introduced another change to the arrangements of the Cruise. Hitherto, when returning the salute from the Admiral's Barge, only one "authorised person " was required to man the cannon! New legislation dictated that a second person was required to man the cannon, and so a Gunners Mate was appointed and added to the crew list.

For more than 50 years, the ceremony of the Beating of the Bounds by the Admiral of the River Medway has been celebrated and enjoyed by many. Rochester Cruising Club looks forward to hosting many more Admiral's Cruise dances and receptions in the years to come.

 

 

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Last updated 28/10/2013

Webmaster Neil Simmons

Written by Paul Harrison

 Copyright Rochester Cruising Club

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