With a timeless institution like the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, even 100 year-old newsreel footage can offer much that seems familiar. The murky waters of a 4.2 mile stretch of the Thames and the combined efforts of 16 athletes in tackling them have changed little over the years. It's the fleeting glimpses of the riverbank, its industries and architecture that betray the mists of time.
This film has been identified as the 1914 race in which Cambridge won by 4Ѕ lengths - the last contest before a five year hiatus due to WWI, and the only race held within the lifetime of the Eclair Journal newsreel. 'Oxford Take the Water' is the first title card seen here, but is likely to be the first surviving intertitle of an originally longer film.