News from Played in Britain

When the Tyne led the World - an exhibition of rowing

May 16 2008

When the Tyne Led the World exhibition poster

A new exhibition of interest to Played in Britain regulars has opened in Newcastle's Discovery Museum, highlighting the city's venerable tradition of rowing on the River Tyne. Among the exhibits is a statue of the legendary oarsman Harry Clasper, not seen for many years.

The exhibition focuses on the oarsmen, boat builders and spectators who made the Tyne famous for rowing in the mid 19th century. Thousands packed the river banks as races were fought out. Betting was rife, while the exploits of the oarsmen were celebrated in song, as the constantly changing soundtrack demonstrates.

Souvenirs in the form of locally-made glass and ceramics also show how local industries capitalised on the fame of rowers such as Harry Clasper.

Indeed a highlight of the exhibition is a painted plaster statue of Clasper, not seen for many years. It once stood in the Clasper Hotel, a pub on Newcastle's Scotswood Road, which was bought for Harry by his many friends and supporters in 1862.

The exhibition concludes with a look at the revival of rowing on the Tyne, typified by the annual University Boat Race between Durham and Newcastle, now in its 12th year.

Entry to the exhibition is free, and it runs until July 6 2008.

Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, until 6 July 2008, Monday to Saturday 10.00am-5.00pm, and Sunday 2.00-5.00pm. Tel. 0191 232 6789.

Click here for more details about 'When the Tyne led the World - an exhibition of rowing'.

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