South Shields writer to see play performed in London

Harry Clasper
Harry Clasper
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A South Tyneside playwright is set to see one of his shows performed in the place where his star character made his name.

Apprentice boatman and Jarrow pitman Harry ‘Hadaway’ Clasper was the Sir Steve Redgrave of his day.

When Harry led his team of brothers to Putney in 1845 to win the World Championship for the first time it caused a sensation nationally.

Ed Waugh

The Victorian - who invented the sport of rowing we know so well today - was the man behind the slim, light boats and outriggers used by modern scullers.

The play, Hadaway Harry, penned by Ed Waugh, focuses on the first time the Geordie oarsmen - led by Clasper and his brothers - defeated the “unbeatable” Thamesmen in 1845.

The show has already received standing ovations on Tyneside when it was performed in the region in June.

Now it is set to be performed in Putney, London where Clasper led seven team to win the Championship of the World.

Ed said: “Rowing was the sport of the working class prior to football. Every major river had its champion so there was huge interest in matches because civic pride was at stake.

“When Harry led his team of brothers to Putney in 1845 to win the World Championship for the first time it caused a sensation nationally; was akin to Fulham beating Barcelona in the final of the European Cup!

Harry Clasper was a regular visitor to Putney. He often lodged in The Feathers pub at the mouth of the River Wandle when preparing for races.

Hadaway Harry will be performed at London Rowing Club, Putney on February 17 and 18. For tickets, limited to 80 per show, costing £16 call (0191) 424 7788.

For details on forthcoming performances visit: www.hadawayharry.co.uk