Kingston Rowing Club was founded in 1858 by Mr George Bennett at Messenger’s Boathouse, Kingston and from 1861 was situated in a weather board building on the Raven’s Ait Island on the Thames between Kingston and Surbiton which at the time was owned by Mr Messenger.
In 1935 the club moved downstream to the picturesque Albany Boathouse which, still survives in Lower Ham Road.
Eventually in 1968, as KRC continued to expand and grow, the club moved a short distance to a modern custom built premises in Canbury Gardens where it remains today.
Intimately associated with the club, Kingston Regatta actually predates the founding of the club by one year and for the first 80 years of its history was run from the boathouse on Raven’s Ait before moving in 1937 to Canbury Park Gardens and again in 1991 to its current site opposite the town centre.
Only one year after its founding the club was already competing at Henley Royal Regatta, in a bid to win the Wyfold Challenge Cup. Although unsuccessful on that occasion the club has gone on to win the Wyfold on numerous occasions most notably during the 1860s when the club won the cup six times in succession.
In 1897 KRC was instrumental in the creation of the Amateur Rowing Association (the national governing body for both British and English rowing) and in 1909, along with six other Metropolitan and Up-River clubs, in the formation of the Remenham Club as meeting place at Henley for past and present rowing men, families and friends.
Although originally a men's rowing club, women have played an increasing part in the success of the club and the club is now evenly balanced in numbers between men and women. Surprisingly women were not even admitted as members until 1976 but by 1994 the club had its first women captain in Alison Barnett, who represented Britain at the Barcelona Olympics.
Indeed, over the years Kingston Rowing Club has achieved an enviable record of international representation and has produced many top level rowers. In 1976 Kingston's very own Tim Crooks won silver in the Montreal Olympics (and perhaps more famously won the 1977 BBC ‘Superstars' competition).
Rebecca Romero won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and, having then left rowing because of a back injury, went on to a gold medal victory in the 2008 cycling world championship making her one of the few double sport world champions.
Olympic gold medallist Kieran West, who won gold in Sydney in 2000, first plied his rowing skills as a young boy at Kingston Regatta in the early 1990s and still finds time to support the Kingston Rowing Club Junior Squad.
In 2008 Kingston Rowing Club celebrated its 150th anniversary and, with its large and growing Junior squad, the club looks forward to continuing its success with the next generation of KRC rowers and into its next 150 years!