The Royal St. John's Regatta - 1896 - 1949 Era Summary
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1896-1949: Era Summary
This era starts off where the last ended, with the races continuing for a few years with very little notable activities taking place.

In 1900, there was a dead heat between the crews of the Glance and the Bob Sexton (named for the famed boat builder).

9:13 - A Piece of Regatta History

The most celebrated race record came from an Outer Cove crew in 1901. Daniel and Dennis McCarthy, Dennis Croke, Martin Boland, John Nugent, John Whelan and Coxswain Walter Power rowed the Championship Race in the Blue Peter (built by Bob Sexton) in 9 minutes 13 seconds. This record stood for 80 years until 1981, when it was beaten by the Smith-Stockley crew. This distinction has been the pride of Outer Cove since. The record was so significant that a special set of medals had been donated in 1910 by the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports for the crew that beat the time of 9:13.

The Outer Cove Crew rowing on Quidi Vidi lake
The Outer Cove crew that set the 9:13 record in 1901
(Year: 1922, Source: Regatta Museum).

In 1902, it was shown exactly how much determination and grit the crews have when rowing in the Regatta. On the 7th of August, F. Myles - rowing with the Church Lads Brigade in the Bob Sexton - broke his oar at the start of the race and, without even flinching, discarded the broken handle. Myles continued to row despite the obvious handicap. The Church Lads Brigade came from behind to defeat the Catholic Cadet Corps crew with a clean time of 10 minutes 10 1/5 seconds.

In 1906, The Rt. Hon. The Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada, for whom the C.F.L. Grey Cup is named, and Countess Grey attended the celebrations and were welcomed warmly by the people of St. John's. Earl Grey was a big supporter of sporting events and was delighted to make some of the award presentations when asked to do so.

A Regatta novelty began in 1906 and continued until 1914: swimming races across the width of the pond. While they did not catch on in a permanent fashion, they were enjoyable to watch at the time.

Sir Edward Morris saves the Regatta

Events of 1908 threatened the Regatta as we know it today. It came to the attention of Prime Minister Sir Edward Morris that all of the north bank of Quidi Vidi Lake was to be converted into a housing development. The large grassy incline from the north side of the lake between the main road and the water was privately owned by 15 different people who had intentions of building themselves or letting it out to others. Sir Edward Morris was not about to allow this to happen, knowing it could end the Regatta forever. So, with some help from friends and colleagues, he mortgaged his Beaconsfield home and bought the lots for $11,129.00. He took great pleasure in being able to turn the lots over to the Regatta Committee for private use and the development of a park. To honour Sir Edward for his initiative, sacrifice, fore-sight, interest, and co-operation with other like-minded citizens, he was inducted into the Regatta Hall of Fame in 1987.

Over the next several years the Regatta was held with great success, each one becoming more and more popular, drawing larger and larger crowds.

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