The Twickenham Museum
People : Watermen and Divers

Charlie Shore
Water Carnival & Regatta organiser
1853 - 1911

Charlie Shore

Charles William Shore was a Waterman. Born in Twickenham in about 1858,he became apprenticed to Edward Hammerton, a local Waterman in 1873,when he was 15 years old. Edward Hammerton died before Charlie completed his apprenticeship, so he was re-assigned to another Master. In 1881, Charlie Shore was living with Edward Hammmerton's widow, Ellen aged 76.Also living in the same house was Julia George, a dressmaker aged 23. Both Charlie and Julia were related to Ellen Hammerton. Some years later, Charlie and Julia married. They had 3 children, William Charles (who died aged 6 in 1890), Annie who was born in 1889, and Charlie Jnr born in the spring of 1891.

In 1894 Charlie Shore established the Annual Boys and Girls Regatta and Water Carnival, which proved extremely popular. More so, when the annual regatta regularly ended with a fire works display. At some later date the practice was for the display to end with an illumination showing a portrait of the bearded 'Good Old Charlie Shore'. The school band of boys from Fortsecue House regularly performed during this Regatta. Prizes at first were clothes, boots, a fishing rod, a tennis racket, and even an attache case. The children were also treated to a feast.

Charlie Shore's Boathouse on Twickenham Riverside

Charlie Shore dies

Charlie Shore had his boat house on the Embankment at the bottom of Water Lane (referred to locally as “down the shore”). He and his family lived in Water Lane itself. On Tuesday 11th April 1911, whilst painting one of his boats he was taken suddenly ill. Dr Yonge was called but Charlie Shore died soon after of a cerebral haemorrhage. He was aged 53.

The Thames Valley Times devoted a long column to his death: "Charlie's fame was not confined to Twickenham; he was known up and down the river for miles". As for his character, he was "a man of large heart, he was ever ready to do a good turn where he could.….His love of children was a very real one, and to see him on a summer morning surrounded by scores of boys and girls anxious to use his boats for practice, was a sight worth beholding. The cause of this desire was the annual Boys' and Girls' Regatta, which Mr and Mrs Shore organised for sixteen years".

Future of the Regatta in doubt

The funeral of Charlie Shore took place on Saturday the 15th April 1911 and drew large crowds of adults as well as children. So Good Old Charlie Shore had a fine "send-off". The Regatta's future was in doubt, but was saved by the determination of his widow Julia, and his son Charlie Jnr and others, so that the Regatta continued as an annual event despite the first World War. It became even more successful in the 1920s with support from local dignitaries. In 1928,however another crisis occurred, when as a result of the Council's decision to widen Water Lane, Charlie Shore Jnr was forced out of business, sold all his boats, and retired from Twickenham. But once again local enthusiasts rallied round and the Regatta went from strength to strength, with cups and medals for schools and individuals. The 1938 Regatta was the last, before the Second World War put paid to the Boys' and Girls' Regatta until 1947. Sadly this last revival proved shortlived: that of 1950 bringing an end to the Regatta first started by Charlie Shore in 1894.

Further reading:

Vertical files in Local Studies Library, Richmond
Thames Valley Times
Richmond and Twickenham Times

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