On March 15th 1927, 91 years ago, the first women’s boat race between Oxford and Cambridge took place on the Isis at Oxford. It was Boats for Women as well as Votes for Women. Margaret Teify Rhys, my aunt, known as Tiffy, coxed the Cambridge eight and in a forthright interview in March 1989 recalled the controversies and the highs and the lows of that time. On this first occasion Cambridge was represented by the the Newnham College boat, before other women’s colleges had begun rowing. The interview by Alana Martin was broadcast on BBC Woman’s Hour to mark the first time that both men’s boats were coxed by a woman.
You won’t be surprised eyebrows were raised at the idea of women taking part at all. You may have heard about the mismanagement and mix up over the rules. They tried to keep it quiet, racing at 1.15 hoping that everyone would be at lunch. I hope you will be entertained.
Richard Rhys O’Brien