2,000 years



The sport that defined Britain

Swimming at Eton College
Cuckoo Weir 


Eton College constructed four swimming places on the river, with Cuckoo Weir (below) for the younger boys. Fencing enclosed the area and a mound of earth running the length of the opposite bank screened the boys from view.

Swimming was once commonplace in the Thames
Bath Island Windsor Swimming History
Eton College constructed four swimming places on the river, this is Cuckoo Weir
The memorial stone marking the site of Athens bathing place – Eton School.

The History of swimming at Windsor and Eton

Swimming was once commonplace in the Thames

Windsor's old bathing place: Bath Island, lies to the rear of Windsor Leisure Centre.

Above: Very rare footage of swimming at Cuckoo Weir taken in the 1920's. Boys from Eton School camp by the river and swim throughout the day.


On the main river, opposite the Royal Windsor Race Course stands Athens.

The inscription reads: "This bathing place of Athens was presented to Eton College by Hiatt c. Baker in memory of his son John Lionel Baker a brilliant swimmer who spent here many of the happiest hours of his boyhood." He was killed in a flying accident in August 1917 while still a member of the school.

On the side of the stone facing the river the inscription reads: "Bathing regulations at Athens - Fifth Form Nants in First Hundred and Upper and Middle Divisions may bathe at Athens. No bathing at Athens on Sundays after 8.30 a.m.  At Athens, boys who are undressed must either get at once into the water or get behind screens when boats containing ladies come in sight. Boys when bathing are not allowed to land on the Windsor Bank or to swim out to launches and barges or to hang onto, or interfere with, boats of any kind.  Any boy breaking this rule will be severely punished. From 'School Rules of the River.' 1921"

Bathing regulations at Athens: Swimming history Windsor - Eton School
Athens Swimming Place, River Thames, Windsor and Eton.
Cuckoo Weir bathing place with Windsor Castle in the background
The history of river swimming Eton and Windsor
Athens Bathing Place - swimming history Eton and Windsor