A film unseen for 110 years of the 1901 Chester Regatta has just been made available for free via the British Film Institute player on the internet.
The BFI says the event, which recently celebrated its 280th anniversary, was reported in the local press at the time as "a brilliant success indeed”.
Although there was also an odd, apparently disapproving reference to the "decadence of first-class oarsmanship".
The BFI adds in the accompanying blurb: “Regardless, on this evidence, most of the onlookers had a grand day out, and there was also the opportunity for some romantic boat trips to secluded spots away from the bustle.
“The filmmakers made some confusing editing and camera positioning decisions by today's standards, with the direction of travel along the river apparently changing between different shots. There is some uncertainty over which order each of the four short rolls were intended to be seen – they may even have been intended to be screened as four separate films.”
Chester Regatta was established in 1733 although rowing races were certainly held in Chester before this. Chester Regatta is the oldest competition on the Amateur Rowing Association rowing calendar and is the oldest regatta for club entries in the world.
To put this achievement in an historical context, the first Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities was held in 1829 and what was to become Henley Royal Regatta started in 1839.
To view the film visit: http://player.bfi.org.uk/