The Twickenham Museum
Exhibitions : Sporting History

The first Yachts were speedy craft derived for chasing pirates

Miladi, Lumali and Pylades in 1908

There have been yachting and sailing clubs in the area since the late 19th century. A very early sailing club was the Tamesis, based first at Hampton Wick but now located in Trowlock Way, off Broom Road in Teddington. It was founded in 1885 as a spin off from Thames SC at Surbiton, its first club room being at Alfred Burgoine's boat house at Hampton Wick, where many of the members'
boats were moored. Tamesis joined four other river clubs to form the Sailing Boat Association in 1888, and was closely involved in the improvement of handicapping rules introduced in 1881 by the newly formed Yacht Racing Association. The club moved to its present site - then an island - in 1901. A new clubhouse, described as "a typical late Victorian bungalow", was built a few years later. It has been enlarged and modified several times but the core of the original structure is still recognisable. A boat store and changing rooms were built in 1960.

The White Swan in Richmonsd

The Twickenham Yacht Club, still flourishing, was founded in Richmond in 1897. In fact, boating and sailing for leisure purposes only became possible between Richmond and Teddington in 1894 when Richmond Half Tide Lock was built. This provided navigable water at all hours of the day. The Club was formed as the Swan Sailing Club, its first meeting being held at the White Swan Inn, Old Palace Lane, Richmond.

Members of The Twickenham Yacht Club

Later, many stalwarts of the Club marched out of the old club into The Phoenix in Orleans Road, Twickenham. Meanwhile another club, The Twickenham Sailing Club, had met for some time at the White Swan, Riverside, Twickenham. In 1916 The Phoenix was closed under the Compensation Act and the Swan Sailing Club had to give up its clubhouse and move to the White Swan in Twickenham.

Sailing upstream of Kingston Bridge in about 1920

It was natural for the two clubs meeting in the same premises to merge, and this is what happened. Following the First World War, with gradually increasing membership, the need for a proper clubhouse was felt. Then, in 1924, Twickenham Council purchased York House, which included a boathouse that was empty. In December 1924 the Club moved in and changed its name to the Twickenham Yacht Club.
Although groups of sailing enthusiasts have got together throughout the 20th century in Hampton the present Hampton Sailing Club only dates from 1944 when a group of founder members started the club and competitive sailing races.

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