Today Guildhall played host to the oldest rowing race in the world:
Doggett's Coat and Badge is the prize and name for the oldest rowing race in the world. Up to six apprentice watermen of the River Thames in England compete for this prestigious honour, which has been held every year since 1715. The 4 miles 5 furlongs (7,400 m) race is held on the Thamesbetween London Bridge and Cadogan Pier, Chelsea, passing under a total of eleven bridges en route. Originally, it was raced every 1 August against the outgoing (falling or ebb) tide, in the boats used by watermen to ferry passengers across the Thames. Today it is raced at a date and time in late July that coincides with the incoming (rising or flood) tide, in contemporary single sculling boats.
The winner's prize is a traditional watermen's red coat with a silver badge added, displaying the horse of the House of Hanover and the word "Liberty", in honour of the accession of George I to the throne. In addition, each competitor to complete the course receives a miniature of a Doggett's Badge for their lapel in a ceremony at Watermen's Hall, in silver for the winner and in bronze for the others. Monetary prizes are also made by the Fishmongers' Company to the rowing clubs of those taking part.
A remarkable piece of history