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Cumberland Sailing Society (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2013-04-13 by rob raeside
Keywords: cumberland sailing society |
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About the Flag

On our page about the Royal Thames Yacht Club flag, we mention that the club was formed in 1823 as a break-away of the Cumberland Society, when that society was re-named "His Majesty's Coronation Sailing Society". We give the flag of that society as: White a crimson border, royal crown, and lettering "G.R. IV Coronation Fleet". I wondered, though, whether this, with that lettering, might not have been specific for the post-rename society, so I tried to find out more.

I find the Royal Thames website describes them as the same club as the Cumberland Society, or rather "Cumberland Sailing Society". Combined stories from their pages describe that the club has been the "Coronation Society" for mere months before becoming the "Thames Yacht Club". This then became "Royal" in 1830.

As with the Royal Western and the Royal Cork, I guess this claim will have to stand as is, until we can find out more details. But I did come across this painting shown on the Royal Museums Greenwich site: Yachts of the Cumberland Society Racing on the Thames - William Havell, circa 1815: Though it doesn't show a specific flag flying from all yachts, the most prominent yachts can be seen to all fly a similar pennant: A white pennant with a split for the last 1/3rd or maybe 2/5th of its length, with a number of blue charges, presumably balls. One yacht has two rows of four balls, off-set from the edges, one yacht has three on a line through the middle, and one has a single ball, possibly centred on the three edges. A fourth has a similar pennant, but the details are hard to make out.

Officers flags? The pattern for those, a century later, was a split and a number of balls added to the club standard. If this originated with the oldest clubs, then the Cumberland would have had a white triangular standard without charges. This would accord with both His Majesty's Coronation Sailing Society and the Royal Society using a white flag not long after the former came into existence.

I enclose a scaled image of the painting, and images of the three pennants:

[Cumberland Society]
Yachts of the Cumberland Society Racing on the Thames

[Cumberland Society]
Split pennant with 8 balls

[Cumberland Society]
Split pennant with 3 balls

[Cumberland Society]
Split pennant with 1 ball

[Cumberland Society]
Split pennant with ?

Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 28 January 2013