Swimming History Picture of the Week: Plymouth

Plymouth Wild Swimming History

Derek Tait writes in his Plymouth Local history blog: “The Tamar is full of yachts, boats and jet skiers but it’s very rare nowadays to see anyone swimming there. If someone was spotted in the waters today, the police boat would probably be called out, together with the lifeboat rescue team.”

“The photo shown here was taken beside the Royal Albert Bridge and shows children in Victorian times paddling and enjoying a dip in the waters there.”

“In the background is the training ship for wayward boys, the T S Mount Edgcumbe.”

The History of Swimming

Marshall Ware remembered: “Most of us could swim across the Tamar before we were 16 and we

received life-saving training from the Devonport Swimming Club. In those days, boys were allowed to bathe in the nude although I wasn’t because my father

was a local Councillor for the St Budeaux Station Ward so I wasn’t allowed to take part in the local activities without a bathing costume. When the women arrived on the scene to bathe, the boys were turned out lock, stock and barrel, often in a state of undress, from the eight bathing cubicles.”

Discover the history of bathing on Plymouth Hoe

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