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HIGH SPIRITS

An extract from The Book of Days (1864) by Robert Chambers describes the first regatta in Britain, 23rd June 1775

Early in the afternoon, the river, from London Bridge to Millbank, was crowded with pleasure boats, and scaffolds, gaily decorated with flags… Half-a-guinea was asked for a seat in a coal-barge; and vessels fitted for the purpose drove a brisk trade in refreshments of various kinds. The avenues to Westminster Bridge were covered with gaming-tables, and constables guarded every passage to the water, taking from half-a-crown to one penny for liberty to pass. Soon after six o’clock,…

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