The flags indicating the positions of the boats were hoisted on King's
(now Salter's) Barge, which was built about the time the racing first
began. As this barge was also the winning post it was customary to
'cheer the colours' as the new order was run up. There were no college
barges in those days; the men changed in King's Barge, or in a room in
the Boat House Tavern.
The New Cut was made in 1884, and for some years the Boat Club [OUBC] threw a
bridge across it during the Eights. This was used, however, so largely by
nursemaids and children, who came not to see the races, but to wander all over
the field picking flowers, and ran us up tremendous bills for damage to grass,
and by people who crowded the whole bank and prevented the coaches from
getting at their crews, that we were obliged to give it up.
Up to 1864 the other side of the river had been a simple towing-path, such as
we might find now in any of the more rural portions of the Thames. The bridges
were the ordinary wooden bridges of the towing-path, with a gate at one or
both ends of them, and each fence was brought out to the river by a gate.
Altogether there were a dozen of these obstructions between Folly Bridge and
Iffley. This year the first river wall was built. It extended as far as the
barges then went, to the mouth of the Cherwell.