The Oxford Torpids could not be rowed in 1895 because of the frozen Thames. To mark the occasion Corpus Christi took an improvised eight on to the ice.This article prompted further letters, listed below.
At a captains' meeting, on Saturday afternoon, it was decided to postpone the Torpid races from the 14th to the 21st inst. Should the present severe frost continue another meeting will be held on Saturday next to reconsider the date.
A special meeting of the captains of the Oxford University Boat Club was held on Saturday afternoon to decide what should be done as to the Torpid races, which had been postponed until Thursday next. It was eventually resolved to abandon the races for the present year. This is the first time such a thing has ever occurred.
The river this year 'was resigned to skaters, four-in-hands, and roasted oxen,' and there were no Torpids.
1895 was the year of the great frost. The time for the Torpids drew near, but the river was a sheet of solid ice, so that a four-in-hand [coach drawn by four horses] was seen on the Isis in place of the usual boats. A proposal was made to put off the date of the Torpids, but meanwhile it was impossible to coach the men, and the crews were rapidly being broken up by influenza. Still the [OUBC] committee clung to the idea of rowing the Torpids eventually, as our whole income for the year depended upon the races being held. As the day for the meeting drew nearer the prospects grew more dismal, and at last the treasurer, the only member of the committee then in Oxford, issued a notice suggesting that the Torpids should be given up, but that the entries of boats, and the individual subscriptions, should be paid just as though the races were held. It says much for the patriotism of members that these proposals were carried at a meeting at which not a single member of the committee was present, the [Oxford] Eight being at Bourne End, and the author of the proposal himself a victim of the prevailing epidemic. The extra expenses directly entailed by the great frost on the club [OUBC] were over £50, whilst we lost quite as large a sum by the return of life membership subscriptions to those men who never rowed in any later race.
To the Editor of The Times
Sir, — The names of the crewm with their later callings, in the picture of the frozen-out Torpid of 1895 in your issue of February 23  are as follows: — Bow, A. W. Smallwood (Admiralty); 2, R. F. Wilson (in Home Office); 3, A. C. Holmes (I.C.S.); 4, J. E. Rutherford (M.B.); 5, H. N. Bolton (K.C.I.E., I.C.S.); 6, W. P. de W. Kitcat (in Home Office); 7, D. W. C. Jones (M.D.); stroke, E. G. Roscoe (solicitor). With no rudder-lines is G. E. Jackson (Writer to the Signet), boat captain, not cox; on the raft, George Best, the college waterman. Four of us, certainly, have survived these 59 years, four are dead, and two I cannot trace.
D. W. Carmalt Jones
Sir, — After a careful study of the photograph of the Corpus Christi eight of 1895, and in order to save your correspondents much trouble, I have drawn up the following abstract: No one is wearing an overcoat; no one is wearing Wellington boots; at least four members of the crew sport caps; while a fifth has discarded his bowler hat; there are no beards, spectacles, or deaf aids; no one is smoking, eating or drinking. From these observations it is quite impossible to conclude whether people were more or less robust, deaf, short-sighted, or absent-minded. But they certainly seemed less happy.
Keble College, Oxford
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