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Some Secrets of Successful Rowing. Including: A System of Training for a Boat Club and an exposure of the Errors of "Orthodoxy." - Steve Fairbairn

1930 - Sporting Handbooks Limited, London - First Edition
‘The object of this book is to get more oarsmen to think for themselves… look into the principles… and to settle for himself what is right.’

A rare and near fine first edition of one of Steve Fairbairn's classic titles on rowing techniques and training.
 
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Price HK$ 3,000



John MacGregor (”Rob Roy”) - Edwin Hodder

1894 - Hodder Brothers, London - Second Edition
The comprehensive biography of the father of modern kayaking - John MacGregor (1825-91), known as ‘Rob Roy’.

Son of General Sir Duncan MacGregor, his schooling followed his fathers postings which included Canterbury and Dublin he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, having shown a talent for mathematics. His ambition to become a missionary was blocked after an argument with a superior who was a second-generation Polish immigrant who argued that MacGregor losing his temper and expressing anti-Polish sentiment was unbecoming of a missionary and he began a career as a Barrister but being of independent means he was able to follow his passion for travel.

MacGregor was a champion marksman but turned to boating when a railroad accident left him unable to hold a rifle steady. He designed his own boat, modelled after Indian canoes, 15 feet long, 28 inches wide, nine inches deep and weighed 80 pounds (36 kg) to be used with a double-bladed paddle. He named the boat Rob Roy after the celebrated Scottish outlaw of the same name, to whom he was related. During the 1860s, he had at least seven similar boats built and he sailed and paddled them in Europe, the Baltic and the Middle East.

MacGregor was a moderate, but very devout, Christian (he was in fact secretary of the Protestant League no less and believed in a ‘muscular Christianity’ based around exploits like kayaking), and was chairman of the Humane Society. He moved in high circles counting Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson among his friends, both of whom he persuaded to take up paddling. More than anything, MacGregor was instrumental in social reform in Victorian London, by association with another important friend, the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury. Together they set up the Shoe-Black Brigade to offer better education prospects to the sort of wastrels that Dickens wrote about and would take MacGregor to see on his famous long, London walks.
 
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Price HK$ 900



Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) - Jerome K. Jerome

1909 - J. W. Arrowsmith Ltd., Bristol - Early Edition
One of the funniest English books ever written, and if you like to play on the water, should be required reading. In the words of Jerome K. Jerome ‘other books may excel this in depth of thought and knowledge of human nature: other books may rival it in originality and size; but, for hopeless and incurable veracity, nothing yet discovered can surpass it.’

An early edition, brilliantly illustrated throughout with small sketches and full page plates by A. Frederics.
 
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Price HK$ 1,800



1870 - Deighton, Cambridge - First Edition
A near fine copy in original publishers blue and illustrated gilt covers of what is believed to be the earliest rowing history book (Meehan & Nisonger). Complete with five engraved maps of the racing courses, three of which are folding.

An account is given of each race, together with the names and weights of oarsmen, followed by a short biographical notices. During the later years, extracts relative to the period of training are given from the club log-books. The last ten pages of the chronicle are devoted to the Oxford and Harvard four-oared race of 1869. MacMichael (12st. 4lb) rowed in the 1868 and 1869 Cambridge boat (both won by Oxford, by six and three lengths respectively), Downing College had to wait until 1962 for their next rowing blue.

Includes an article by F. C. Skey from
The Lancet (1869) on muscular action in rowing and another by Professor Humphrey from the British Medical Journal (1867) on the effects of boat racing on health.

Provenance: Contemporary inscription of Edward A. Field dated 23rd April 1870, Norwich based lawyer, and cox whilst at Christ’s College, Cambridge (1863-1864). Later signature of C. Geoffrey Mortlock.
 
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Price HK$ 2,800



Practical Boat Building for Amateurs - Adrian Neison C.E.

1878 - “The Bazaar” Office, London - First Edition
A scarce work in first edition, which became very popular and was later expanded and edited by Dixon Kemp. One of the earliest books to provide the designs and details of MacGregor’s ‘Rob Roy’ canoe.

As described in the title, chapters cover -
Designing; Tools and Materials; Punts; Skiffs; The Rob Roy Canoe; The Sailing Boat; and Canoes - Canadian Bateaux–Canvas Canoe–Shooting Punt.

Illustrated throughout with vignettes, plans and diagrams.
 
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Price HK$ 2,000



The Oarsman’s and Angler’s Map of the River Thames - E. G. Ravenstein F.R.G.S.

Circa 1873-1877 - James Reynolds, London
A super copy, of this rare and early map of the Thames, which folds out to over eight feet in length (2.64m, 104”), canvassed backed and housed in the original publisher’s green cloth covers, blind embossed and titled in gilt.

Beginning at Cirencester and Kemble, then passing through Cricklade, Kelmscott, Oxford, Reading, Henley, Maidenhead, ending at London Bridge, including details of locks, the charge to use them, bridges, towns and villages.

With single page introductory notes pasted to front pastedown.
 
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Price HK$ 5,000



The Oarsman’s and Angler’s Map of the River Thames From Its Source to London Bridge. - E. G. Ravenstein F.R.G.S.

1909 - Edward Stanford, London - New Edition
A bright and near fine copy of this early map of the Thames, folding out to over eight feet in length (2.67m, 105”), cloth backed and housed in the original publisher’s green cloth covers titled in gilt.

Beginning at Cirencester and Kemble, then passing through Cricklade, Kelmscott, Oxford, Reading, Henley, Maidenhead, ending at London Bridge, including details of locks, the charge to use them, bridges, towns and villages.

On opening the covers you will find a sixteen page pamphlet laying out the charges, lock tolls, bye-laws, and a list of electric charging stations on the Thames.
 
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Price HK$ 2,800



Cruises in Small Yachts and Big Canoes - H. Fiennes Speed

1883 - Norie & Wilson, London - First Edition
A charming, and amusing account, charmingly illustrated throughout with 62 vignettes and two full page woodcuts ‘by The Crew’, as well as ten maps (two of which are folding). Exemplifying the style and approach to yachting by the gentleman sailor and his chums, and also in this case, his young wife, unused to water, but brave and devoted enough to accompany him aboard the ‘big canoe’ for seven weeks.

Harry Fiennes Speed (1857-), attended Brazenose College, Oxford and as Captain of the Oxford Canoe Club made a cruise in a small canoe down the Thames to Margate and back, 259 miles of river and coastal work in ten days. He practised as a barrister, later turning to the ministry.
 
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Price HK$ 1,600



 
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