This 1895 photograph of men and boys swimming at low tide adjacent to Palace Pier Brighton, reveals a stark contrast to the attitude of swimmers today.
Firstly there are a large number of swimmers. They wear no wetsuits, in fact no costumes at all. Additionally cold water was the main attraction for outdoor swimmers back then, how different to swimmers today. A major concern on the part of the Environment Agency is that “waters can be very cold no matter how warm the weather – leading to cramp and breathing difficulties.” Now although this is true, it’s interesting to note that year round cold water swimming was and still is a healthy option for many.