The Pocock family has played an enormous role in the history of rowing in the Northwest, especially in the creation and vision of the Pocock rowing Center. We have created this page to recognize the huge contributions they have made.
Video of George - (click to watch)*
Born in England in 1891, George Pocock learned the art of boat building from his father, the boat-builder at Eton College. He began sculling at the age of twelve, and won his first race at fifteen. In 1910, he won the London Bridge-to-Chelsea race, a grueling four-and-one-half mile event open only to professional watermen – a race his brother Dick had won the year before.
In 1911, George and Dick Pocock immigrated to British Columbia and by 1913 they had made Seattle their home. Soon their shells were making the Pocock name famous by winning races, and by the early Twenties orders were coming in from all of the major colleges where rowing was practiced. Although Dick had moved on, George continued to operate the business, and frequently acted as an unofficial assistant coach and advisor to the UW crew.
George Pocock was an early proponent of high school rowing programs, and kept his prices low so that high schools could afford his boats. Although plastics and composites began replacing wood in the 1960s, the Pocock boats remained the “gold standard.” By 1970, George had handed off most of the boat-building operation to his son Stan, although he maintained an active interest. At his death in Seattle in 1976, it could fairly be said that no other person had had a greater influence on American rowing.
In 1999, the Seattle Times prepared a list of the top 100 figures in Seattle sports during the Twentieth Century. George Pocock was number thirteen. “Through his leadership, rowing has become the sport for all ages as a singular or group activity. The blending of rowing and life – in his words, ‘Harmony, balance, rhythm. There you have it. That’s what life is all about.’”
*from Pocock Racing Shells
Video of Stan - (click to watch)*
When Stan Pocock was a young man, he followed the tradition of boatbuilding and apprenticed with his father, George. Stan grew up in Seattle, was an oarsman at the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in Engineering. In the late 1960s, management of Pocock Racing Shells became Stan's responsibility while George devoted himself to constructing cedar single shells.
Stan was to prove himself not only as a "natural" in boatbuilding, but also in coaching. In addition to coaching at Washington from 1947 through 1955, he was the first coach for Lake Washington Rowing Club upon its formation in 1958, and coached several gold medal winning crews in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games.
Stan continued with Pocock Racing Shells until 1985, and during that time made many innovations to the racing shell including creating the first fiberglass shell in 1961.
In the early 1990's Stan, along with his sister Patricia, made a strong push to create an appropriate memorial for their father George. With Out of this effort and vision and help from many other community members, the Pocock Rowing Center opened it's doors in 1994.
Stan continues to be a strong presence at the PRC, attending and speaking at several events including the first fundraiser of Campaign 2012 (the High Performance teams push to make the 2012 Olympics in London) and the Junior banquet. His autobiography, "Way Enough!" is available at the Center and is an incredible recollection of a long life in the Northwest rowing community.
*from Pocock Racing Shells