History of the Cambridge Motor Boat Club

The Cambridge Motor Boat Club was founded in 1911 by a small group of boating enthusiasts with some well-known Cambridge names such as W.G.Pye, founder of the famous radio empire, R.C.Pierce, Manager of the Cambridge Electric Light Company and Commodore of our club for a record 29 years, and the Banham brothers, local boatbuilders who did more to popularise boating in Cambridge than anyone else. Many of our present members had their first experience of boating in one of Banham's fleet.

The 1912 handbook records 61 members and 44 boats. The headquarters of the club were at the Blue Boar Hotel in Cambridge although there were no facilities for boats until 1919 when the club rented some land by the River Cam at Clayhithe, five miles north east of Cambridge. In 1930, the lease was extended to include all of the present site covering nearly four and a half acres.

In 1936, thanks to some hard negotiating by members of the committee, the club was able to buy the freehold of the land and enjoyed steady growth with, in 1939, 308 members and 77 boats on the register.

Electricity was laid on to the grounds in 1949, followed by water in 1950 and, in 1971, additional moorings were made available by the excavation of a mooring basin in conjunction with the adjoining Cam Sailing Club.

The present large clubhouse was built in 1974, enabling the club to hold a variety of social activities all the year round. The project was helped by the generosity of many members who donated fixtures and fittings or made funds available by paying five years subscription in advance. The official opening ceremony was held on 23rd February 1975 with a dedication by the Bishop of Ely.

In recent years, the clubhouse has been renovated, with new toilets and showers and also double-glazed windows and improved heating and lighting systems. In 1984, our slipway and winch came into operation, enabling members to lift their boats from the water for painting and other maintenance. In addition to the 30 mooring spaces, there are, on the site, 16 chalets and 16 caravans, owned by members and all with their own electricity supply.

The club has an active social programme throughout the year, with competitions held for boating and sporting events. Many of the trophies for these have been presented by past club members, the oldest trophy being the Coronation Cup, commemorating the coronation of George V in our foundation year of 1911.