The first boat-house

At first, the club rented a room in the Commercial Hotel which was suitably close to the river and it is recorded that the Landlady provided soap and towels for 4/6d per week. The club prospered and there were soon proposals to build a boat shed, and later on a clubhouse, on the foreshore nearby at the western end of the Promenade. This land belonged to the War Office and was part of the New Tavern Fort which had been rebuilt by General Gordon in 1871. Permission to build was finally given (fortunately the Commanding Officer was a club member) with the stipulation that it must not exceed 11ft in height so that the coastal defence guns in the fort would have a clear field of fire over the top. So, in around 1908, a brand new rowing club was built on the prom, fronted by its own little lawn. The wood, stucco and corrugated iron building initially caused some adverse comments because of its squat appearance but, when the height restriction was lifted in 1912, a lantern roof was erected on top of the main hall, so that it now had a little veranda.