Sex, Sea and Swimming Trunks
Excerpts from Chapter 3
Although religious influence has nowadays receded, its power cannot just be turned off; rather its legacy echoes throughout our culture with the insistence on rules remaining evident everywhere. Unlike our European partners, we British are keen to do the right thing and especially to make sure that others do so. Particularly since the Industrial Revolution, we as a culture have felt it our duty to poke our nose into other people's business and take decision making out of their hands. We are told what to eat and drink, what to think and exactly how to bring up our children. The rules may change from week to week, but the nation follows in a game of 'Simon says' that has been played out for decades. We are frightened of doing the wrong thing and of expressing a different point of view. This has taken its toll on those eccentrics who have resisted the current tide, which is to view bathing in the great outdoors with suspicion. Gradually, towards the end of the last century, swimming in all but coastal waters has met with varying degrees of disapproval. Having discussed the powerful influence of religion on the ideas and attitudes of our nation, let us now look at another factor that has shaped the swimmer's fortune: the popularity of the seaside.
The Fountain of Health
Just for Fun
The End of Innocence
Holidays in the Sun
Bristol Evening Post: "IT'S happened quietly, insidiously even, but within a generation outdoor swimming in this country - now known as "wild swimming" - has virtually come to an end."
"Sea bathing is still popular, of course, if the weather is right, but swimming in rivers, lakes and ponds has been discouraged, mostly because of fears of pollution, paedophile concerns and ever more stringent health and safety regulations."
"...the whole story makes for a fascinating social history."