The Kitchin Society developed in the late fifties and early sixties when a few coaches from the larger rowing schools gathered out of season to discuss issues of mutual interest. A E Kitchin was a tremendously successful coach at Shrewsbury in between the wars and when the Society became more formalized those involved decided to name it in his memory.
The current stated aim of the society is to act as a forum for discussion of school rowing and to provide a stimulus, support and source of ideas for junior rowing.
The society meets twice a year in member schools in the spring (Jan/Feb) and autumn (Sept/Oct). Meetings are held on Saturdays and the Sept/Oct meetings begin with tea as people assemble. There is then a formal meeting until we break for drinks and dinner. After dinner the host school will usually arrange an informal talk or discussion on a subject of current interest. The Jan/Feb meetings start in the early evening and continue through a working supper to a finish at the same time as the autumn meetings.
Some while back we recognized a concern that the Society may have been viewed as a pressure group based on the bigger, boys’ rowing schools and we felt that the time had come to spread the net wider to include all rowing and sculling schools. The Society now has about 55 member schools and is still looking to grow further. It does not matter whether you are from a state or independent school club, from a large or small one, single sex or co-educational. Let the Kitchin Society be your voice.
Changes to events like the Schools' Head, the two Scullery events, the National Schools' Regatta, Henley Women’s Regatta, and HRR are debated and our views are passed on and certainly carry weight; in fact committee members of these events attend our meetings. This weight is all the greater the larger the Society becomes and that is a major factor behind our desire to continue to grow.
Additionally the Lead Coach of British Junior Rowing is almost always present at our meetings.
The Society nominates a member to sit on the Junior Rowing Commission and other members of the Society have seats on it too. Currently our nominated member is on a British Rowing panel to discuss schools’ rowing.
Nonetheless the Society has no official status within the governing body but seeks to present the voice of schools’ rowing which, except through British Rowing regional representatives, is not otherwise heard.
We welcome new members from schools which row but who have not yet joined our ranks.
Richard Hooper - Vice-President – revised July 2017