The Nottingham & Union Rowing Club

A potted history

N.R.C. (1862)

The history of today’s Nottingham & Union Rowing Club is the story of two rowing clubs, which amalgamated in 1946. The joining of the 2 clubs came about as a consequence of an air raid which took place in May 1941. It was during this raid that the boathouse belonging to Nottingham Union Rowing Club, which was on the Meadow Lane side of the River Trent, received a direct hit from the German Luftwaffe, subsequently destroying all of their boats and other training equipment. Returning members of the Nottingham Union Rowing Club had therefore no means with which to resume their sport of rowing, and duly approached members of the Nottingham Rowing Club, who had their premises on the West Bridgford side of the River Trent, to seek refuge. The Nottingham & Union Rowing Club was born after many meetings to discuss the new name, with the majority of NRC members protesting that the joint name would soon be shortened to “the Union”. It probably took another 50 years for this to become a common name used for cheering on the club crews, but never should the roots of Nottingham Rowing Club be forgotten

As the Nottingham Rowing Club was the club that originated the sport of rowing in Nottingham, many of Nottingham’s prominent citizens were its members. Apart from people such as Alderman Sir John Turney who owned the leather tanning factory on the Meadow Lane side of the River Trent, and was a founder member and later the clubs president, Nottingham World War I fighter ace Albert Ball VC was one of its members. Later in 1863 the Mayor of Nottingham was asked to give his patronage to the club and to permit the Nottingham Coat of Arms to be used as the clubs badge, this he duly permitted and became NRC’s honorary secretary. It is this Coat of Arms which can still be seen to this day on the front of the Nottingham & Union Rowing Clubs boathouse.

Like the Nottingham Rowing Club whose members met in the bar of a public house, members of the Nottingham & Union Rowing Club in its formative years also held their meetings in the same pub. This pub was the Union Inn on London Road, which was the base where both rowing clubs were originally formed.