Springhill: Two Centuries of River Lea Rowing
by Dick Anderson

The story of boats, boatmen, rowers and rowing clubs on London’s River Lea from 1800 to 1980

Dick Anderson’s new book describes London’s second river as it became the playground for the burgeoning population of East London in the 19th century. The increased leisure time available to Victorian workers created the opportunity to develop a pleasure boat trade alongside the industry which relied on the river’s water for its transport and its processes. Despite terrible accidents, the trade prospered and races were sponsored by the local inns. Rowing clubs were established for amateurs and professionals and local men began a century long battle to make the sport accessible to all. East End missions, churches, political clubs, factories and inns all had rowing clubs – more than 150 have been identified. The book describes the boatmen’s and clubs’ struggle for survival on an appallingly polluted river and through two World Wars, leading up to the creation of Lea Rowing Club at Springhill in 1980.


Published in Black and white the book has 176 pages and 42 photos, maps and illustrations from local archives, families of boatmen and past club members.

All the proceeds from the sale of the book through this website, after deducting printing and distribution costs, will be donated to Lea Rowing Club’s redevelopment fund.Priced at £15.00, with UK delivery at £2.50, each book sold will generate approximately £11.00 for the redevelopment fund.

To order this fascinating book go to the author’s website



The Radleys of the Lea


Clive Radley has published a book about his family’s history as boatbuilders and rowers, The Radleys of the Lea. The book is 220 pages long and contains many photographs, scans of historical records and newspaper extract [more..  will direct you to “Hear the Boat Sing”].

To order the book direct from the author click here to view the Radley Poster.

To order the book from the Henley Regatta web shop, click here: The Radleys of the Lea.