Peterborough City Rowing Club was founded in 1948 but there are records of competitive rowing in Peterborough which date back to Victorian times. The earliest record of a club existing in Peterborough dates from 1863 with the earliest recorded regatta taking place in 1872. The earliest photograph of a rowing crew dates back to 1879 when another regatta was held. There are also photos from the 1913 regatta, but this was probably the last held at that time. The start of the First World War meant that the rowing club members went off to war and so few returned that the club closed down. No club existed between the Wars but in 1948, following a City Council inspired regatta for all types of water sports, Peterborough City Rowing Club was started.
The club started in a modest way in a timber shed on the River Embankment and the members at the time made use of borrowed boats. It grew steadily and after fundraising activities, including running a local football pool, it was able to build its first purpose-built boathouse in 1961. During this time a fleet of boats were gradually built up and the members raced at events over a wide area in East Anglia and the Midlands. During the 1960’s local schools such as Kings and Deacons School also started rowing and acquired their own boats which were stored at the club.
In 1983 the club took a major step forward when its clubhouse was acquired as part of a city-wide strategy implemented by Peterborough Development Corporation. As a result, the club moved to its current, purpose-built facility at Thorpe Meadows.
Peterborough Regatta moved with the club to the new rowing lake with its four-lane racing lake. Initially it remained much the same size as it had been on the Embankment but the quality of the facilities and also its use for the televised Leyland Daf Power Sprint Championships in 1988 and 1989 led to a dramatic increase in the size of the regatta in the early 1990’s. A second regatta weekend was started in August and more recently a one day event has been introduced solely for junior rowers.
In 1999 the club obtained a Lottery grant to extend the boathouse and the following year it became a Project Oarsome club leading to a big expansion of its junior membership. The club continues to grow and is now a fully inclusive centre of excellence for rowing in the East of England and is now looking to take the next step by extending its boathouse further to cater for a growing membership.