The Gravesend Rowing Club was founded in 1878 by Mr F.W.Simes, a wealthy corn and seed merchant, who had moved to the area from the south coast. As a keen rowing enthusiast and club member there, he wanted to set up a similar club on the banks of the river Thames. The club prospered and soon a proposal to build a boat shed and later a clubhouse at the western end of the promenade were sought, however there was a snag, the land here belonged to the War office and was part of New Tavern Fort, but permission to build was finally given (fortunately the Commanding Officer was a club member) in around 1908. Interesting the clubhouse pictured used to have a smaller roof being limited to just 11ft, so that the coastal defence guns in the fort would have a clear field of fire over the top, this gave the building an unwelcome squat appearance, but when the height restrictions was lifted in 1912 this fine lantern roof was added.