Fuller's Head of the River Fours
(HOR4s) is a processional rowing race held annually on the Tideway of the
River Thames in London on the 4¼
mile (6.8 km) Championship
Course from Mortlake to Putney.
The idea for a Tradesmen's Tideway Head Race for fours, was first
mooted in the early 1950s by the Thames Amateur Rowing
. The TARA, was the Thames branch of the National Amateur Rowing
, the governing body who looked after manual workers
who could not join the ARA
which did not recognise their
Despite picking a date for the new race, the TARA soon dropped
their plans after learning that the Tradesmen's Rowing Clubs
(the body who looked after real professionals —
i.e., those who worked with boats for a living) had also started to
organise a similar open fours race.
And so it was that the fledging "Head of the River 4's" was first
raced in 1955. In the following years the race was known as the
Tradesmen's Rowing Club's Association Head of the River Fours,
though even at this stage ARA clubs were entering along with NARA
and TRAC clubs.
In the late 1950s the ARA and NARA finally merged into the Amateur
Rowing association of Great Britain. The event then became known
simply as the Head of the River Fours, and was handed over to a new
Committee in 1963 after the TRCA's eventual amalgamation.
Since that time many changes have taken place to the race,
including the course length and alterations and additions to the
status and boat classifications available. Of particular interest
was the introduction of quadruple sculls in 1969 when there were
three entries. A women's junior quadruple sculls event was added in
2005, in 2007, Women's Elite Coxed Fours were scrapped to be
replaced with Women's Senior 2 Coxless Fours and the 2008 race will
see the introduction of both Elite Open Lightweight and Elite
Women's Lightweight quads for the first time.
The current breakdown of events of offer is as follows:
Quadruple sculls (4x)
(Nine Events)Open Elite;Women's Elite;Open Elite Lwt;Women's Elite
Lwt;Open Senior 1;Open Senior 2;Women's Senior 2;Open
Coxless fours (4-)
(Five Events)Open Elite;Women's Elite;Open Senior 1;Open Senior
2;Women's Senior 2
Coxed fours (4+)
Events)Open Elite;Open Senior 1;Open Senior 2;Women's Senior 2;Open
Senior 3 (Club and Academic),Women's Senior 3 (Club and
first race, 34 crews rowed over a three mile course from Chiswick
Steps to Putney Pier. The entry has grown
steadily over the years and in 1990 the race was extended to the
full four and a quarter mile Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney (i.e., the
Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race course in
years the entry exceeded the 500 permitted maximum, but in 1997 the
Port of London
Authority agreed to a request for 50 more crews.
with 550 places available (the largest number of crews entered in a
one race in the UK) the race is still heavily oversubscribed.
and Turner began their sponsorship of the Race in 1979 and
event winners are rewarded each year with excellent hospitality in
the Hock Cellar at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, where the
prizes are presented.