The Guardian reports: 1 August 1923: In a neighbourhood where “free access” to deep water is always possible for babies and toddlers, it is essential for all children to learn swimming.
“Every year children are drowned here,” said my friend, the schoolmistress, as we walked along the land side of the wharves, where steep little passages run down at intervals to the river. “Last week a mother brought me her little son in the hope of getting him into my infant class, though he is under five. ‘The other one drowned in the dock,’ she told me; ‘I shouldn’t like to lose this one, too!’”
…I found it a pleasant experience to pursue a chattering group of forty little girls, of standard five upwards, along the sultry sweltering streets into a delightfully cool swimming bath. Every Monday this particular elementary school goes there for a twenty minutes’ lesson from a swimming mistress of apparently inexhaustible patience who told me she had already given ten such lessons that day. More…
See also: From Lifesaving Education to None At All