The New Caius Boathouse

Posted on Tuesday 10 May 2011, 11:46 by Admin

The Caius boathouse has been a characteristic feature of the riverbank since 1879, but unfortunately over 130 years this 19th century construction has started to subside on one half of the building. Since the latest renovations in the 1980s, the boat club has continued to grow, with student membership now greater than 80, and the original boathouse catered for neither this volume of people, nor for women's rowing. Recently Caius has also achieved a high standard on the river, with the most recent success in the Lent Bumps making it twenty headships since 1998, and rowing has become an important part of college life.

The boat club and the college therefore wish to improve the standard of the riverside facilities as best as possible, not only to accommodate the needs of the current crop of rowers, but to also celebrate the success of previous generations with the addition of a clock tower. The design of the new boathouse has been carefully considered, first as a result of design competitions, secondly by employing a very experienced and able architect from Bland, Brown and Cole, and further by progressing the scheme in close consultation with the City Council's planning and conservation department, club representatives, neighbours and an expert project committee. The new design aims to encapsulate traditional waterfront features within a boathouse brimming with modern training and changing facilities and increased racking space, whilst plans have been made with sustainability in mind. These designs will require the complete demolition and rebuilding of the boathouse but will keep the style of the original red bricks, clay tiles and Caius blue doors, whilst increasing the upstairs floor space for improved dry training facilities and shower areas for the women.

The project also includes the renovation of college accommodation for graduates with partners along Ferry Path, which is also in great need of refurbishment and the designs for both buildings have been met with general approval by local residents. The college hopes construction of the new buildings will be funded by donations and so this project will not detract from educational funding, or from other areas of college life.

The old boathouse has seen many successes over the past couple of decades and many oarsmen and oarswomen will be sad to see it go, but hopefully this new boathouse will serve even better the many future generations of Caius rowers.

- Peter Walker,
Captain of Boats

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