The Rowers of Vanity Fair/Gold HG

Gold HG Vanity Fair 1899-03-23.jpg

Gold, Harcourt Gilbey[edit]

“Tarka” (Spy), March 23, 1899[edit]

Gold HG Vanity Fair 1899-03-23.jpg

The President of the Oxford College Boat Membership, who hopes to stroke his fourth ‘Varsity Eight to victory on Saturday, grew to become the fourth (and final) son of Mr. Henry Gold, of Hedsor, in Bucks, three-and-twenty years in the past. Having acquired the identify of “Tarka” within the nursery when his personal identify was too massive for him, he went to Eton; the place he’s nonetheless remembered in “Hoppy’s” Home. He took to the oar so properly that for 3 successive years he stroked the Eton Eight to victory within the Race for the Girls’ Plate at Henley; and his reminiscence is so robust that Eton has gone on successful that Plate ever since. So he was made Captain of the Boats — after he had obtained his Subject Colors for soccer; and, accordingly, like so many good Eton oars, went to Oxford, to offer Magdalene Faculty with a credit score to the Isis. He was made stroke of the ‘Varsity Eight proper off; and in his first race he reduce Cambridge down virtually on the put up, successful after a determined wrestle. In 1897 he stroked top-of-the-line Oxford Eights ever despatched out, and received once more; and final yr he was capable of watch Cambridge rowing after him to the Ship. Apart from this, he stroked Leander at Henley in 1896, when he received the Grand Problem and defeated Yale; and, although New Faculty simply beat him the yr after, he received the identical race ultimately yr’s Regatta; whereas in two of three years he additionally stroked the Leander 4 to victory within the race for the Stewards’ Cup. But with all these and different triumphs he has by no means received a race at Eton or Oxford with the only exception of the ‘Varsity Pairs in 1897!

He’s a sturdily-built younger fellow, with extraordinary powers of endurance; who can most likely get as a lot out of seven different males in a ship as any stroke residing. He is an efficient fellow and an all-round sportsman; who, whereas he can journey properly and shoot with promise, hates strolling. However, in pious imitation of his father (who thinks nothing of enjoying sixty holes a day on the Hedsor hyperlinks), he has recently taken to golf. He has a dry humour that’s fairly his personal; he can play the host; he can inform a narrative; however, not like the remainder of his household, he doesn’t sing — a lot. He has met the examiners on a number of events; and, although generally defeated, he has managed ultimately to attain.

He has fantastic knees; and his legs are all the time loudly appreciated by the group at Putney.

“The most effective stroke I’ve ever rowed behind was Harcourt [Gilbey] Gold” (1876-1952), wrote Man Nickalls, who rowed No. 6 in Gold’s 1895 and 1896 Leander crews for the Grand (and later married his older sister).[1] Save for an 1897 look within the Goblets at bow, stroke was the one seat Gold ever rowed at Henley or within the Boat Race, successful ten of fourteen such occasions. The 1899 Boat Race was not among the many victories, nonetheless, as Cambridge received by over three lengths to finish Oxford’s nine-year run and maintain Gold from changing into the primary stroke to win 4. He returned the favor a decade later, by teaching Bob Bourne’s Oxford crew to the primary of his 4 straight wins and thereby holding Duggie Stuart of Cambridge to a few. Gold coached eighteen Oxford crews in all, in addition to Nickalls’ Leander VIII that received the 1908 Olympic regatta at Henley.

Gold was Captain of Leander from 1898 by means of 1900. He grew to become a steward of the Henley Regatta in 1909 and joined its administration committee in 1919, that yr inflicting the creation of the stewards’ enclosure to offer the regatta the monetary sustenance of an everyday subscriber base. (Woodgate opposed the transfer: he thought it will foster elitism.) Gold revealed The Widespread Sense of Teaching in 1920 for Oxford faculty coaches with little expertise, encouraging “limitless persistence and good mood” and cautioning “[i]t is possible as many crews have been marred as have been produced from the financial institution.”[2] In 1945, he succeeded C.M. Pitman, his fellow Etonian and quick predecessor as Oxford’s stroke, as chairman of the regatta. In 1948 Gold grew to become chairman of the Novice Rowing Affiliation, on which for a few years he had represented the O.U.B.C., and the next yr obtained the primary knighthood for providers to rowing. Within the 1914-18 conflict, Gold joined the Royal Flying Corps and was discharged a Lieutenant Colonel. Professionally, like one other Oxford Etonian G.D. Rowe, Gold had his personal stockbrokerage, Harcourt Gold & Co.

Romance and Rowing[edit]

Man Nickalls married H.G. Gold’s elder sister, and Nickalls’ son Gully married Gold’s daughter. Gold himself married a sister of G.S. Maclagan, who coxed his 1899 Oxford crew and the 1908 Leander Olympic eight that Gold coached and wherein Nickalls rowed. The connection between romance and rowing drew the eye of Self-importance Truthful in an article by “A Bachelor” (June 28, 1873), who apparently had not himself so benefitted:

“Rowing man: ‘Charming woman, your cousin, such Eton eyes; such Leander cheeks'”

The attendance on the Oxford and Cambridge match and on the Henley Regatta appears to point out that athletics aren’t on the decline as an artwork for wooing Englishwomen. We recollect rowing in a public faculty crew at Henley and listening to two women fairer than daylight exclaim as we obtained into our boat and had been adjusting the stretchers, “Oh, the darlings!” They had been carrying our mild blue colors, and it’s a certainty that the blood of the entire eight of us tingled to our finger-tips, and that we rowed like desperation on the energy of being darlings. However a Trinity Cambridge crew pulled the Girls’ Plate from us, and as we stepped out of the boat with our tongues lolling and our faces purple as bricks these identical water-nymphs cried indignantly in our listening to — “Oh, the muffs!” The actual fact is they’d guess gloves on our success, and the defeat we had suffered — it was not an ignominious one, solely half a ship’s size — was an excessive amount of for his or her nerves. They trampled our colors with scorn underneath their fairly boots, and would unquestionably have voted for our being pitched into the river had it been the customized to make an finish of vanquished oarsmen as of worsted gladiators at Rome. It’s a query whether or not in England it doesn’t sometimes pay higher to be a victorious athlete than an excellent scholar. . . . Cricketers, and oarsmen, too, play havoc in society as Detrimentals, and have a knack of carrying off heiresses within the enamel of circumstances and of richer gnashing suitors. At worst they win women who’ve connections as a substitute of cash, and the connections, after growling a bit for the type of the factor, find the person of muscle in some cosy put up of emolument offered for out of the Consolidated Fund. This comes of the issue of browbeating or despising a person who has his chambers stuffed with prize-cups or presentation bats received by flood and area. . . .

At instances the direct path to matrimony lay by means of the daddy of the bride, as recounted in Self-importance Truthful (March 27, 1875) following that yr’s Boat Race:

A propos of the College boat-race, the Paris Figaro tells a narrative of a “Mr. James Oxen,” who made his fortune by steering the Oxford crew. Evidently fifteen years in the past Mr. Oxen’s boat being behind that of Cambridge, a voice from the financial institution all of the sudden roared, “James, my boy, for those who reduce Cambridge in two my daughter is yours.” By “a vigorous pull at his rudder,” Mr. Oxen confirmed himself equal to the event. He didn’t strike Cambridge amidships, however he landed his personal boat winner by half a size, and shortly afterwards married the heiress of a grateful father or mother “who had received a colossal sum in bets.”


  1. ^ G. Nickalls, Life’s a Pudding, p. 210.
  2. ^ H.G. Gold, The Widespread Sense of Teaching, p. 12.

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