The Civil Service Boathouse was constructed on Dukes Meadows in the 1930s and is currently home to both Cygnet RC and our sister club Barnes Bridge Ladies RC. The building was designed specifically for rowing and is still dedicated exclusively to the sport, including the boating hard which is shared with Emmanuel School BC next door. The hard is used by the CSSC canoe club but is otherwise private property, rented from the PLA by the boat clubs.
The building is somewhat 'upside down' with boat shop for the fleet is at river level and the rest accommodation below. This include his and hers changing rooms, showers and toilets, plus a shared kitchen, club room and licensed bar. Dedicated training facilities were added in 2004 as a separate single storey building behind the main boathouse and we are also fortunate to have access to the rowing tank next door at Emanuel School Boathouse.
There is also a rather nice secluded lawn which gets the sun most of the day and is great for social events and even training. As well as the boat shop, the garden also offers some racking for small boats. The club has its own boat trailer and towing vehicle (a.k.a The Ute).
The boat house is managed, on behalf of the CSSC, by the Boathouse Executive, a separate committee made up from members of both clubs.
Before 2004 all land training, including ergs and weights, took place in the club changing rooms or the garden. Expansion of both clubs made this unsustainable and a joint training facility, dubbed "The Shed" was built on what used to be a rhubarb patch behind the boat house.
The Shed has 10 ergos and weight training facilities, with just enough space to do some circuit training and for stretching. During the winter we run a dedicated circuit training session for both clubs at a local school hall as the Shed is not big enough to accommodate everyone from both clubs at the same time.
As with all things around the boathouse, it is up to members to do their best and keep The Shed and the equipment inside clean and tidy.
The club has its own licensed bar, tucked away under the boat ramp. It was dug out and constructed by the members in the 1950s and is still the focal point for many of our social activities. Indeed, it was mostly bar profits that, ironically, paid for the new training shed behind the boathouse.
The bar is certainly bijou but cosy in the winter for a post–training pint. There are also worse place to sit than on the boat ramp and watch the sun setting over Barnes on a balmy summer's evening or, combined with the secluded lawn, a very pleasant place to waste a few hours celebrating a regatta win or talking about what might have been. It's also hosted a few wild parties but the least said about them the better – what goes on at the boathouse, stays at the boathouse!
So not only is it a very pleasant riverside location but the beer is half the price of the riverside pubs in Barnes, even if the decor isn't quite as flash! The bar serves a wide range of bottled real ales and lagers as well as wine and spirits, including the infamous Düsseldorf speciality, Killepitch.