1894 – 1968
A boatman from Maidenhead, Albert won many punting championships on the River Thames.
The Thames at Maidenhead has produced many fine watermen, and amongst these are Albert (Spider) Edwards, who with his twin brother Wilson and brother Arthur (Bob) accrued an awesome collection of trophies for their punting skills.
The family business of E. Edwards & Sons, River Contractors in North Town Road worked pile drivers, ballast boats, dredgers and river transport on the Thames. This brought the brothers into daily contact with the river where they practiced their boating skills.
In World War One, Spider served in the Life Guards and was attached to the Kings Escort. Returning to civilian life and the family business he resumed his hobby of punting. Steering a 21ft long, flat-bottomed boat with a heavy 16ft pole is very difficult, but Spider and his brothers were very competent at this and the brothers became a legend on the Thames.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the Edwards brothers won the Thames Professional Punting Championship 12 times – 6 for Wilson, 4 for Spider and 2 for Bob.
The annual Maidenhead & Bray Waterman’s Regatta was the highlight of the river year and people came from miles around to watch and admire the competitors. Some of the finest boatmen took part and the competition was formidable, but Spider became punting champion 6 times, and was doubles champion 4 times.
An accident caused Spider to retire at 65, but by then he and his brothers had set a very high standard of performance for future punters.