On the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race day I am reminded of an illustrious family of CLOSEs who were very much involved in the Cambridge rowing scene in the 1870s, at least one of them taking part in every race between 1871 and 1877.
The winning Cambridge crew in 1871 included John Brooks CLOSE (1850-1914) – later known as John B CLOSE-BROOKS. Cambridge triumphed again in 1872 when both John and his younger brother James Brooks CLOSE (1851-1910) were in the crew. James retained the bow seat in the 1873 race, the year in which he was also President, and rowed at 3 in 1874.
In 1875 their younger brother William Brooks CLOSE (1853-1923) rowed for Cambridge – suffering their first defeat of the decade, but he enjoyed victory as a member of the 1876 crew, and also rowed in the famous dead-heat of 1877. For an account of what William did in later life, have a look at http://www.iagenweb.org/sioux/books/british/british_2_1.htm and http://www.closebrothers.com/about-close-brothers/history
The 1877 race didn’t mean the end of the CLOSE association with the light blues, since James coached many Cambridge crews and was an influential figure in Cambridge rowing for some years. Quite a family!