The history of the Jubilant Trust and the Royal Shallop "Jubilant"
The Jubilant Trust was initiated by the Thames Traditional Rowing Association (TTRA). TTRA was formed in 1995 to promote traditional fixed seat rowing and help publicise the annual Doggett’s Coat and Badge Wager between Watermen Apprentices. It also aims to encourage the use of the river Thames for sport and recreation.
The TTRA also undertook to arrange rowing events for Thames Watermen’s Cutters. The first of these accompanied the Doggetts rowers with Sir Steven Redgrave rowing in the PLA cutter “Penelope” with apprentices not yet ready to enter the wager. This was not a race but an escorting flotilla.
In 1996, Betty Boothroyd, the then Speaker of the House of Commons, started the first “Port of London Challenge” from the terrace of the House to London Bridge and in each subsequent year, the course for this popular and hotly contested race has been from London Bridge to HQS Wellington and back. The start and finish lines are now well established at the Fishmongers’ Hall balcony.
For the Queen’s Golden Jubilee the TTRA decided to honour the occasion by building a craft suitable for people with disabilities and others who are in some way disadvantaged to enjoy the sport and recreation on the Thames. This idea was prompted by the Queen’s Bargemaster who became one of the Trustees.
Thus the “Jubilant” was built with the encouragement of Her Majesty in the shape of a Royal Shallop, being a replica of the Naval Victualling Commissioners’ Barge owned by the National Maritime Museum and at that time on display at Somerset House, London.
The launch of “Jubilant”
The Jubilant naming ceremony at Isleworth was conducted by HRH The Duke of York on 14th September 2002 in the presence of the Master of the Company of Watermen & Lightermen, the Chief Executive of the Port of London Authority, the then immediate Past Master of the Fishmongers’ Company the Chairman of Lloyds Register, who were the main sponsors, the President of the London district Rotary Club another sponsor, whose members also helped carry the clock and other dignitaries including the recently formed board of Trustees.
This was followed by the Pageant “A Celebration of Time” which told the story of Longitude, the Kew Observatory built for King George III to observe the transit of Venus and Harrison’s clock. This was enacted in various places along the Thames by a group of strolling players who performed the playlet written and directed by Michael Vivian with Alan Coren portraying King George III.
The Jubilant led a flotilla of a dozen Livery Company barges, the modern equivalent being Thames Watermen’s Cutters with ceremonial embellishments and was preceded by seven Dunkirk Little ships, with the then Commodore of the Dunkirk Little Ships Association Raymond Baxter in his craft “L’Orage”. The actors went ahead to each location and performed as the flotilla arrived.
The River progress passed through the Thames Festival on the South Bank where the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, equipped with a heavy hammer met the Jubilant midstream to examine the atomic clock and quite prepared to carry out their traditional duty of smashing it if it proved inaccurate. It was not!
The pageant ended at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich where the National Physical Laboratory presented an atomic clock to the Royal Observatory. The clock had been carried on board Jubilant with the late satirist and writer Alan Coren playing George III, having accompanied it on board from Isleworth.
“Jubilant” was made possible by the generosity of many private and corporate donors, in particular, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping was the major sponsor and Rotary International London District 1130 clubs galvanised a fundraising effort via their 84 London clubs.
Others to contribute included the Fishmongers’ Company, Leathersellers’ Company, Pewterers’ Company, Corporation of Trinity House, Kumala Wines Ltd, Knight’s Glass Ltd, Latham’s Wood Merchants, Robbins Timber Ltd, Woods River Services, Port of London Authority, National Physical Laboratory Ltd, Butchers’ Company, Drapers’ Company, Skipper Paints Ltd, Tallow Chandlers’ Company, The Trafalgar Tavern and many more beside. Our grateful thanks to them all.
The “Jubilant” is available during the summer months for use by groups of up to twelve people for rowing training under the supervision of expert coaches. For more details contact us on 01483 223308.