Even in England, famous Claspers are few but Harry Clasper, born on 5th July 1812 in Whickham on the south banks of the River Tyne, was a famous sportsman. Between the years 1840 and his death in 1870, he was known throughout the country, as would be a famous sports person of today.
He started, together with his brothers, rowing racing boats which were the forerunners of those used today for the Oxford and Cambridge boat races.
In 1845 Harry and his brothers went down to London and raced against the Thames watermen, succeeding in becoming the champion rowers of the world.
In later years, Harry specialised in building racing rowing boats and even today, there is a type of sliding seat that bears his name. You can find further details at Sliding Seat
He became a publican in later life, dying at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1870. His funeral was a large event, thousands mourned his passing.
"Harry Clasper's Grave - Whickham Churchyard."
"Harry Clasper, Hero of the North" by David Clasper.
Published by Gateshead Books, Wheaton Publishers Ltd., Hennock Road, Marsh Barton, Exeter, Devon.
Tel: 01392 411131. ISBN 0 901273 139.