Our History

Lancaster University Boat Club was the first sports club to be established at the University. The University admitted its first students in October 1964. It was in this first year of the University’s existence that an appetite for rowing first developed amongst the Student Body. Rowing was already present on the River Lune before 1964 and had been since the early 19th Century, with LUBC becoming a new member of the Lune Rowing Community.

A small group of students from the University were headed by David Cooper, who became the first Club Captain. They began the task of assembling the necessary equipment for the foundation of a University Boat Club which could stand independent of the local club, Lancaster John O’Gaunt. Due to the expensive nature of a sport such as rowing, the students sought help from outside the university sphere.

This help came in the form of a wealthy philanthropist, Sir Harold Parkinson (1894-1974). He was described as “hard-headed but ultimately generous” and proved to be a welcome benefactor . Sir Harold provided the club with the funds to purchase it’s first boats and a coaching launch. The enduring John O’Gaunt Rowing Club, with David Cartwright as their President, offered their facilities as a temporary home for the newly formed University Boat Club and from 1964-1966 both clubs cohabited.

The old Lancaster John O’Gaunt boathouse, roughly on the site of the current one, proved too small for both clubs to share harmoniously. The result was the relocation of the University Boat Club to our current home at the Halton Railway Station building. The current building dates back to 1907, and is a Grade 2 listed building. Again, Sir Harold Parkinson was to thank for the acquisition of our current home, converting and renting the building as the University boathouse. With the boats and boathouse now acquired it could be said that the fledgling Lancaster University now had its very own Boat Club.

Original Halton Station

Halton Station and LUBC's Boathouse as it stands today


In return for his generosity Sir Harold was said to have strongly urged LUBC to focus on victory at the Roses Varsity between York and Lancaster University. The first Roses was conceived as a Boat race, similar to that of Oxford and Cambridge, albeit not of the same level of prestige. The Varsity would evolve rapidly into the multi-Sport and Society competition we witness today.

In 1982 the free-hold of the Boathouse and the surrounding land was secured to be administered by the University as a part of the University’s estate. The club was now in a secure situation and could look to build and consolidate for the coming years, and in roughly 1996 the Boathouse gained a visitor in the form of the Lancaster University Canoe Club.

Present Day

The Club has proved over the years that it is capable of competing at the highest level, with both the Men’s and Women’s squads competing at their respective Henley Regattas and other events of notable prestige across the country. Although the Club has failed to become a regular player on the University rowing stage, it has still displayed ample potential to be consistently competitive.

Over the past several years, the club has grown exponentially. In 2012, the overall membership of the club was under 20. Following continued year-on-year growth, the club has started the last 3 academic years with over 100 members with its novice intake. While this presented problems surrounding oversubscription, it has cemented our place as biggest club on campus and shows how well respected LUBC is within the University.

In the 2017-18 season, we had major successes with our Senior Men’s 4+ qualifying for Henley Royal Regatta, the world’s most prestigious regatta for the first time in 51 years. A win at Roses for the first time since 2011 and our Senior Women winning both the 4s and 8s categories at the hugely competitive Durham regatta. We also had successes with the novice squads with wins in the Novice Men’s 4+ and our Novice Women’s 8 placing very highly in their open category at Tyne Head. BUCS Regatta was also a major success with all crews placing in finals for the first time in the club’s history and the Senior Men’s 4+ getting through to win their final in Met Regatta.