Case Study 1swimming and bathing

Case Study 1
Bathing and Swimming.
Bathing and Swimming as a
popular recreation.
In the middle ages (1200 – 1500)
Bathing for pleasure was common.
The river provided a ready supply of food, a means of
transport and a place to wash.
Work, play and the river were so inter related it became
a necessity to learn to swim for safety.
Upper class would sponsor outstanding lower class
swimmers to represent them in wager races.
Charles II established a series of open air swimming
contests in the Thames.
1784 first open air swimming baths built.
Water meadows – areas of common land that had no
trees or agriculture so provided large flat spaces for
casual, informal games, athletic sports, horseracing and
When flooded they became ideal for ice fairs and
Influence of the Public Schools.
Early 19th century.
Bathing in public schools was spontaneous, unorganised
and centred around natural facilities eg rivers and ponds.
No supervision.
Late 19th century – Athleticism developed became more
structured and regulated.
Natural facilities developed into major bathing facilities
with changing huts, diving boards, instructors and
Headmasters regarded swimming as a safe and hygienic
pursuit. ( copy table 4 pg 54 )
Bathing and swimming as rational
The water cure – popular in Bath and Cheltenham –
resorts for the well-to-do.
 Mid 19th century newly emerged middle class took over
the inland spas and chose them as sites for their
schools. eg, Clifton and Cheltenham.
 Gentry moved to continental spas and the seaside.
 Beaches socially exclusive and single sexed for modesty.
 By 1870 new rail links brought the working class to the
 River towns – floating baths were built ( two platforms
at right angles to the bank with a chain across the open
Organised competitive events with the formation of clubs
and swimming festivals.
Industrialisation led to disease and overcrowding.
The first Public Health Act 18478 and the building of
public baths sought to reduce problems.
The first public baths to be opened were in Liverpool in
Public baths had first class facilities for the middle class
(plunge pools facilitated the development of indoor
amateur swimming clubs) and second class facilities for
the working class where they could wash their clothes.
1869 various middle class swimming clubs met to
establish laws for amateur swimming.
1874 renamed Amateur Swimming Association of Great
1884 Amateur Swimming Association. By 1902 over 500
clubs were members.
Swimming Today.
Draw a table Highlighting the key factors
for participation in swimming today.
 How many Swimming pools are in your
local area?
 When were they built?
 Do they have a swimming club?
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