Landmark & Views

The Boat House

England / Europe

Eton Boat House, known as ‘Rafts’ is where the whiffs and elite boats were built and kept for many years. Rowing has been a feature of school life since the late 18th century, though initially it was discouraged due to the dangers of commercial traffic on the Thames and the perils of the local sewer. There was a Procession of Boats on the Fourth of June and Election Saturday as early as the 1790s. The first race between Eton and Westminster took place in 1829. Rowing was formally recognised by the College in 1840 and since 1860 has been actively encouraged. There were various boathouses by the mid 1800s and by 1895 the Eton College Boating Company had established its own boat house, renamed the Eton College Boating House in 1910. Boating became particularly popular after 1910 with a record number of ‘wet bobs’ (boys who rowed, as opposed to ‘dry bobs’ – cricketers). The College purchased the freehold as late as 1978. Here all the boats were built until the College sold the freehold in 2012, retaining some existing bays for boat storage. Today it still houses 38 House Bumping fours, 30 coxed doubles, 50 tracers, 70 whiffs, four gigs and two dragon boats. The Junior Fours (House Bumping Races) are still raced from Lower Hope to Rafts over four nights in the summer, and boys still row upriver to Queen’s Eyot. Eton has produced Olympic Gold medallists in rowing including Sir Matthew Pinsent (1992, 1996, 2000 and 2006), Ed Coode (2004), Andrew Lindsay (2000) and Constantine Louloudis. (2016). Recently the Eton Rowing Lake was constructed at Dorney and since that, rowing activities have been largely
based at the Dorney Boathouse and Andrews.


  • View over the Thames at the old Boat House, Eton

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Medal Sponsor

A medal was purchased for this point by: Eton Community Association