Early Days to 1891

The Hilldale crew from the USA competed in the Senior IVs and this is the first recorded overseas entry. Unfortunately there was a dispute about their amateur status and they were not allowed to enter at Henley. All clubs boycotted them at Marlow except the local Marlow Rowing Club who were defeated easily.

By 1884 the Regatta was thriving and there were seven entries for the Grand and in 1886 the school IVs were transferred to Marlow from Henley. But by 1889 there were again difficulties. Henley had extended to a three-day event being held on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and Marlow was finding it difficult to get entries on the Saturday. In 1890 the regatta was held on the Friday after Henley but this failed to attract additional entries. In 1891 they tried to revert to the Saturday, but Kingston Regatta claimed that day and so in order not to have a clash of dates, Marlow was again held on a Friday, but was not a success.

In the years up to 1891 there were two regattas at Marlow, the Marlow Amateur Regatta and the local regatta organised by Marlow Rowing Club which was a more light-hearted affair held in August. Following the lack of entries for the main regatta it was resolved "to hold a regatta on more popular lines than Marlow Amateur Regatta which had ceased to exist owing to the lack of support from Metropolitan Clubs." Gen.Owen Williams was elected President, Alfred Davis Secretary, and the regatta was held on Saturday, August 13th with the following events;- Junior VIIIs, scratch VIIIs, Junior IVs, Water Polo in canoes, Tug of War, Dongolas (crew of 6 paddling punts), Ladies double sculls, and a novelty race. The regatta was followed by a Venetian fete and fireworks display in the evening.