doggett's coat & badge race

Photo credit: Chelsea Society

Photo credit: Chelsea Society

Doggett's Coat & Badge Race. City of London and City of Westminster.

Believed to be the oldest boat race in the world, the Doggestt's Coat & Badge Race has been held without fail every year since 1715. The course, of over four miles, runs from London Bridge to the Cadogan Pier in Chelsea, passing under eleven bridges. Six apprentice watermen compete, the winner receiving a special red coat with an embossed silver badge to the attached to the sleeve. The badge displays the horse of the House of Hanover and the word Liberty, in honour of the acession of George I to the throne. Monetary prizes are also given by the Fishmongers' Company to the rowing clubs of those taking part. 

The race is named after its originator, Thomas Doggett, who originated the race and organised it in its early years. Doggett was an Irish actor and comedian who became joint manager of the Drury Lane Theatre. He relied heavily on the Thames watermen to, who were the equivalent of taxi drivers today, to convey him between his place of work and his home in Chelsea. 

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