This film is part of Free

Bumping Race (Cambridge May Races)

University teams navigate a bend on the river Cam in no ordinary rowing race.

Non-Fiction 1900


Something like a waterborne dodgem ride, a bumps race involves overtaking, or literally ‘bumping’ the boat in front without being caught by the boat behind. It's an ideal subject for early filmmakers, who favoured dynamic sporting events, and this film would have no doubt impressed the pre-cinema audience. Alas, though, it somehow fails to capture a bump in action!

Side-by-side racing is not suited to the narrow and winding river Cam, hence the Bumps Race was dreamt up in the 19th century. A popular event in the university calendar, the Cambridge May Bumps Race (which, despite its name, usually takes place in mid-June) has been an annual tradition since 1887.