To mark the start of Westminster School Boat Club’s bicentennial year the VIII was invited to race Westminster VIII over the first mile of the Boat Race course in Putney on Monday 8 July 2013. The first race took place in 1829, a few months after the first University Boat Race and was last raced in 2004 on its 175th anniversary. On that occasion the VIII were victorious as they were on this, eventually running out winners by 2/3 length in a tight contest which involved a number of Boat Race style blade clashes. Afterwards both VIIIs rowed down to Black Rod’s Steps in two 1829 replica Thames Cutters. Most years since 1935, with the kind permission of Black Rod, a Westminster crew has rowed down to Black Rod’s steps outside the House of Lords and landed in order to maintain an ancient right of access to the river. This is in recognition of the Westminster crews that boated from this site up until the building of the Victoria embankment in the 1870’s, when rowing on this part of the river became impossible.