Boathouse Construction Appeal 2013-15

Cantabrigian Rowing Club Boathouse Construction Appeal 2013-15

The Cantabrigian Rowing Club (‘Cantabs’) is seeking financial support to extend its boathouse and thereby to offer a greatly enhanced rowing experience to its members, and also to benefit other local rowers. The club is thriving, but to continue to attract and develop rowers, the club has to offer a good rowing and training experience or we risk losing the momentum we have built up in the last few years.  Cantabs currently operates from three different boathouses approximately a mile apart.  This unfortunately means that the Club is fractured with squads based at different locations.


The Cantabs Boathouse, 2003

The Cantabs Boathouse, 2003                                  (Photo credit: Trinity 1st & 3rd BC)

In 2002, through the generosity of one of its members, the club secured the lease on its first ever boathouse, the only one to become available in Cambridge for many years. Whilst this gave Cantabs its first spiritual home, the boathouse was literally just a place to house boats (4 eights, 8 fours and 8 sculls).  The efforts of club members over the years have laid on fresh water, constructed two toilets (including a connection to the mains sewerage via a pumping station) and a weights room, and installed a donated Portakabin to house ergs.

Longitudinal plan of extended boathouse

Longitudinal plan of the extended boathouse      (click to enlarge)

Development plans

In 2010, the club obtained planning permission to build a larger two-storey structure on the footprint of the old shed and Portakabin. Most of the new building will sit on the old concrete base, lowering construction costs significantly.

Cross section plan of extended boathouse

Cross section plan of the extended boathouse      (click to enlarge)

The ground floor will include increased storage for 16 eights, 9 fours and 4 additional eights or fours. There will be space for a weights room, an erg room, changing rooms with showers, a small kitchen and two meeting rooms under a stylish curved roof.  There will be a balcony overlooking the river and scope for installation of disabled access.

Impression of riverside view of extended boathouse

Impression of riverside view of extended boathouse

This superb new facility will greatly enhance our members’ own experience, but will allow us to extend our provision of rowing more widely into our local community – including to additional juniors, schools and to offer adaptive rowing.  As a significant central facility, it will greatly increase cohesion in the club.  As it will house many of the boats currently located elsewhere, it will free up much needed boat-storage space across Cambridge for other rowers to use.

Unsurprisingly, the club’s plans to invest in the boathouse are financially constrained, so the long-term plan has been divided into three phases:

  1. Build the extension to the current boathouse
  2. Fit out the extended boathouse
  3. Secure the freehold of the property before the lease expires in 2037

We are currently working on Phase 1 – you can see progress on the Boathouse Update page of this website.


The building has been designed to be of low-cost construction and it is estimated that we can complete Phase 1 for around £260,000.  So far, £185,000 has been raised from several sources, which has allowed building work to commence: 

Fund-raising status, March 2013

Fund-raising status, March 2013

  • £50,000 grant from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund
  • £25,000 grant from British Rowing
  • £110,00 donations from members (2011-12)

This leaves approximately £75,000 required to complete Phase 1, for which donations are being sought from club members and supporters.  Can you help?  Any donation will be very gratefully received.

To acknowledge donations of £100 or more, the club will display an individual brass plaque bearing the donor’s name in the new boathouse for the lifetime of the building.  Donors of £500 or more will additionally be offered a presentation brass plaque to keep, engraved with art-work of the new boathouse and mounted on a section of wooden cladding from the original building.   For donations of £1001 or more, in addition to the commemorative and presentation plaques, the club will present donors with a copy of the specially produced, limited edition book “The History of Cantabrigian Rowing Club” by Ken Drake.  To commemorate even larger donations it may be possible for donors to name key parts of the new boathouse.

How to donate

To make a donation, please print out the Donation Form (clicking on the link should make the form download) which includes an optional Gift Aid component, which could make your donation even more valuable.  Send the completed form, with a cheque made payable to Cantabrigian Rowing Club Boathouse to the address on the form.  Alternatively, if you will be visiting the boathouse, you can leave your cheque and form in the mailbox there.

If you would like us to send you a printed copy of the Donation Form, please contact the General Secretary via the Our Committee page.

If you have any questions, please feel free contact the Club Captain or other member of the committee.

This project represents a most exciting opportunity in the club’s history – by supporting it you will allow Cantabs to build on its rich legacy and achieve its full potential as a centre for rowing across the whole community.

Thank you for your support

You can see the progress of phases 1 & 2 on the Boathouse Update page.

2023: We are currently looking at plans to further extend and enhance the boathouse – watch this space for further news!