Biographical Display
Eleanor Gait attended Ashford (Middlesex) County School. The headmaster, who had apparently been an oarsman at Oxbridge, introduced rowing for the girls. His name was Mr H B Knowles MA. This was where Eleanor Gait learned to row. By 1937 rowing was no longer offered, much to the regret of Mr Knowles.
Ashford County may well have been the first girls state school in the UK to offer rowing as a girls sport.
Eleanor Gait entered University College London to read Modern Languages German (with French). She joined the rowing club (University College or London University Women's Rowing Club?).
1927-1928 Fresher
1928-1929 Committee member
1929-1930 Captain
1930-1931 Captain (coach and cox)*
1931-1932 President London University Womens Rowing Club
*At some stage during her course she was found to have cancer in on kidney and this was removed. Following the operation she had frequent radiotherapy sessions and used to talk about feeling sick as she travelled home on the tube. The reason she was coach and cox was probably because she was convalescing.
Two of her closest friends and rowing colleagues were DR AVK (Pug) Cyriax and Ione Gedye, who went on to play a leading role in setting up the Department of Conservation within the Department of Archaeology at London University.
After graduating Eleanor Gait joined (helped to found?) the United Universities Womens Boat Club (known affectionately as "yoyo's").
1933-1934 Captain UUWBC
She continued to row with UUWBC and in 1938 was selected to captain an England womens IV which competed in Australia, winning all its races. Although there was an intention to host the Australians in the UK in 1940, the war thwarted these plans.
She did not row after the war but continued to enjoy recreational skiffing. She was involved in the administration and promotion of women's rowing for many years.
Tim Lester (Eleanor Gait's son)


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