The V. Radley and Sons family boatbuilding business flourished by the River Lea in East London from 1840 to 1970 despite facing floods, pollution, two World Wars, a V2 rocket and competition from other boatyards.
Over the generations, the Radleys became well known in the rowing and boatbuilding communities through building and renting their boats and boat storage facilities and by rowing their own boats in competition.
The Radleys of the Lea tells the story of the family and is one of the few books about rowing and boatbuilding told from the boatbuilder’s viewpoint.
Containing over 180 illustrations, the book relates the history of the boatyard business and the rowing exploits of family members, who until World War II competed professionally. Many anecdotes and stories of boatyard life have been gathered.
The book describes the shoestring nature of rowing before the advent of the financial support that clubs and the GB team receive today, an example being oars transported by members of a Lea-based club on the London Underground in the early 1950s.
The book concludes with recent Radley boat restoration projects in the USA and the UK and the continued rowing success of Radley family members.