Forget football – why swimming has long been Glasgow’s other favorite sport

Updated: Sep 16


Glasgow Live reports: Whether its splashing about in the wee pool or on the inflatables as a youngster or maybe just enjoying a leisurely swim as an adult, generations of Glaswegians have long enjoyed sticking on their trunks and swimsuits to head to the public and private baths that populate the city.

So much so, that its probably second in terms of popularity as a sport behind football – at least, that was certainly the case back in the mid to late 19th and early 20th century according to a Stirling University study on the development of sport in the city between 1850 and 1914.


In the 18th century, long before the appearance of swimming baths in the city, swimming as a leisure pursuit was practiced by plenty of Glaswegians in the most obvious place – the River Clyde.


Its popularity among the working classes was down to the easy access afforded to the river, alongside the obvious fact that is was both an activity without cost and killed two birds with one stone in that it was both refreshing and a way to ensure personal cleanliness.


Another reason for success of informal river swimming in the city was the formation of the Glasgow Humane Society in 1790 (the oldest continuing lifeboat service in the UK) – which helped to bring down the number of drownings that were occurring. Read more…


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