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The Fred Roffe Collection


The Trophies, Medals and Memorabilia
Harry & John H. Clasper

submitted by Bill Miller - November, 2002

The Friends of Rowing History and the National Rowing Foundation are delighted to accept the Fred Roffe Collection of trophies, medals and memorabilia of Harry Clasper and John H. Clasper. Mr. Roffe is a descendent of the famous Claspers from Newcastle-On-Tyne, England and his eagerness to have the rowing community enjoy these valuable objects is very much appreciated.

Harry Clasper was one of the great and famous professional oarsmen as well as an inventive boat-builder during the middle part of the 19th Century. He developed the first useable out-rigger in the early 1840s. The Five Brothers was a very early and successful out-rigged coxed-four, manned by Harry and his four brothers, Robert, Edward, William, and Richard (coxswain).  John H. Clasper, Harry's son, was also a successful boat-builder and winning professional oarsman. For more information about their successes, read the book, Harry Clasper, Hero Of The North by David Clasper.

                                           Henry  (Harry) Clasper                                                      John H. Clasper

The collection contains some of the most important objects from the 19th Century. In the Clasper book it describes the sterling silver skiff presented to Harry Clasper by his supporters at a testimonial in Newcastle on 19 November, 1845, commemorating his recent victory on 29 September. The Silver Skiff is in the collection.

inscribed (bow/side 1)   H CLASPER,   (bow/side 2)   29 SEPT. 1845

Other items are shown below:

Durham Regatta 1843 - WON In The Boat FIVE BROTHERS by EDW. CLASPER
Presented to his Uncle EDW. HAWKS as A Token of Remembrance
Note: Edward died in 1845 at age 25 and was replaced in the boat by his uncle Edward Hawks

Richmond Regatta
Won by
J. H. Clasper

Presented to
John Hawks Clasper
by the Members of the
Tonbridge Boating Club
as a token of
June 3rd

Won By
J H Clasper

 Inkwell - inscribed:  WON BY J. H. CLASPER

 Northern Rowing Club  1858 - WON BY J. H. Clasper Defeating 19 Competitors April 6th

Gold & bronze medals won by J. H. Clasper at the 1889 Koln International Sports Exposition
J. H. Clasper printed the images of these medals on his letterhead (see below)

Gold locket w/photos of J.H. Clasper & wife
TO J.H. Clasper FROM W.M. Rough Aug. 4th 1900


It is remarkable that we can find these very important artifacts from this magnificent period in rowing.


If anyone has any historically significant rowing objects or knows of any around, please follow Mr. Roffe's generous lead and through the Friends Of Rowing History and the National Rowing Foundation, let the rowing community learn from these items and cherish them forever.


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