Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts

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Balliol College Boat Club: a Celebration

Balliol has gone Head of the River for the first time in 52 years! This exhibition looks at several aspects of Boat Club history.

Heads history:

Balliol was previously Head in Eights: 1851, 1855, 1859, 1860, 1873, 1879, 1952, 1955 and 1956; and Head in Torpids: 1897, 1898, 1907, 1911, 1928, 1929, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1959, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971.

Click here for a PowerPoint photo album of the Torpids and Eights Headship photos (with navigation) - may take a minute or two to load. If you are having trouble loading the PowerPoint album, click here for links to the full size images, with no navigation, and hopefully, no problem with your browser.

Boat Club Journals

The Journals were kept by the Boat Club Captains, often Stroke. They describe training and races in detail, and besides providing information about the rowing activities of Balliol men, they include useful insights into the development of Bumps racing in Oxford - and not only eights, but much more single, pairs and fours rowing than is currently popular, and about the University boat.

1837 -1842 PowerPoint photo album or images without navigation

1858 - 1872 PowerPoint photo album or images without navigation

In addition to the captain's own journals, this volume contains a number of newspaper accounts of University and Oxford Eights races.


- in 1856 Eights was scheduled to begin on 12 May. The Balliol crew began training 'early in the term' - on 26 April. (p.2)

- 1858 Balliol College Pair-Oar Races: the Captain comments wearily, 'There was a very creditable number of entries for these races this year, but if the pairs would practise before the races the number of good oars might be considerably increased to the College.' (p.10)

- members of the 1858 Exeter crew are 'enfeebled by their own folly' ( p.13)

Boat Club Photo Albums

1860 - 1880 (Archives ref. PHOT 26) PowerPoint photo album or images without navigation

- Anna Sander

You do not need to request permission to download or print one copy of any of the images on these pages for your personal private study or research purposes.
You do need to request permission in writing to use any of these images for any publication in any format, including any use on a website.

The archives and manuscripts of Balliol College are open by appointment to enquirers in person at the Historic Collections Centre in St Cross Church, Holywell.
Enquiries should be sent in writing (email or post).
There is no charge for Archive enquiries, but donations for Archive purposes are always appreciated.
Updated 18.ii.21
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