Spring—in the course of 60-odd days—brings Britons three sports classics which rate almost as national institutions: the Oxford-Cambridge boat race, the football (soccer) cup finals (see page 22) and the Epsom Derby. The Boat Race comes first of all, virtually with the spring equinox, and presents Englishmen with an urgent need—almost as a point of honor—to back their convictions with a bet. Long before the start of this year's race (opposite page), which the light blues of Cambridge won by a shattering 16 lengths, newspapers gave meticulous coverage to the prerace trials and workouts, and citizens from Land's End to the Orkneys speculated on the outcome. On Boat Race Saturday, several hundred thousand spectators, fortified with picnic lunches, lined the banks of the Thames while other enthusiasts followed the race in launches. Throughout, the throngs on shore shouted themselves hoarse and afterward continued their celebrations far into the night—trusting that magistrates are generally lenient on Boat Race night.
Oxford (above) carries traditional dark-blue-tipped oars to boat. (Below) Cambridge crew totes shell from boathouse
Training for race, Oxford (above) goes over Thames course along Fulham Wall. Below, on similar mission Cambridge rows beneath railway near Putney Bridge
Discarded shoes are left on the dock as stocking-footed Oxford crew settle down in their shell just before start of the race
May 22, 1955
Oxford Crewmen E. V. Vine (No. 2 man in boat), G. Sorrell (stroke) and J. M. Wilson (No. 3 man) arrive at boathouse
Spectators at Chiswick Steps patiently endure the chilly spring air while waiting for the race to begin
Cambridge "Old Blues" Claude Taylor, '03 (left), and J. B. Rosher, '11 (right), chin with Oxford's Don Burnell, '98