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Robert Coombes
Birth: 1808
Death: Feb. 25, 1860

Oarsman. Born to a London waterman, a guild that traditionally ferried passengers across the Thames, he had been on the water from an early age. By the mid 19th century sculling races became a popular spectator sport, attracting huge crowds and a great deal of money at races on the Thames and the Tyne Rivers. Watermen had always raced, most particularly for the prestigious Doggett's Coat consisting of a scarlet waterman's coat with silver buttons. Coombes first expanded into scull racing for the Duke of Northumberland's prize money in July 1836. He earned the title, Champion of the Thames, in August 1846 after beating Charles Campbell in a Putney to Mortlake run in 26 minutes and 15 seconds. He would retain the title for six years. The sport was quickly adopted by the universities and Coombes trained the Cambridge crew for 1852. His instructions on rowing were published in the book 'Aquatic Notes or Sketches of the Rise and Progress of Racing at Cambridge.' His guild, meanwhile, was slowly made obsolete by the construction of bridges across the rivers. Coombes sank into poverty and loss of reason and at the age of 58 was committed to the Kent lunatic asylum at Maidstone where he died nine months later. He was buried at Brompton Cemetery at his friends' expense. Leading watermen of the day acted as pall bearers and attendants. He was laid to rest in a chest tomb of some seven feet, a carved figure of a waterman stood at each corner; Coombes' boat on top, upturned, with his waterman's coat lying across it. The inscription read: This monument was erected by public subscription/by the warm friends and admirers of/ROBERT COOMBES/Champion Sculler of the Thames and Tyne. (bio by: Iola) 
Brompton Cemetery
West Brompton
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Greater London, England
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Sep 13, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 12447
Robert Coombes
Added by: Kieran Smith
Robert Coombes
Added by: Connie Nisinger
Robert Coombes
Added by: Kieran Smith
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 Added: May. 1, 2014

- Joseph M.Petri
 Added: Dec. 17, 2013
Better is the end of a thing than it's beginning; better is a patient spirit than a proud spirit. Ecc 7
- David Martin
 Added: Jan. 5, 2013
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