Doggett's Coat and Badge Race is way older. 300 years old yesterday, to be precise.
It is also a connection to the tidal Thames's great maritime history, for it only open to young watermen “in the first year of their Freedom of the Watermen’s Company".
The founder of the race, Thomas Doggett, was not either a watermen or lightermen but instead an actor. However the watermen were the taxi drivers of the age, so he obviously appreciated their work and so set up the race in 1715 to commemorate King George I's accession to the throne.
The field of six raced from just below London Bridge to Cadogon pier and as I was in London anyhow I wandered down to the start.
It seemed a bit haphazard, with no clear "go" though HMS Belfast fired a salute 15 minutes earlier. The rowers just seemed to edge upriver and then go for it. I guess with a course that long it doesn't matter too much.
Who can guess what I was doing in central London and what form of transport took me there?