Mass nudity in the swimming baths

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Mass nudity in the swimming baths

Post by DavebytheSea »

The stick and carrot approach was much used when teaching children to swim in the late 40s. The stick (from which a primitive harness dangled to support the pupil) was held by the master who walked the side of the pool towing a small boy at the end of a string.

The carrot? Why, the "red bather" of course! This was awarded to any boy who completed 5 lengths of the main pool. It consisted of two rather small triangles of red cotton held together by string and tied at one side with a bow. Until the coveted scrap was won, compulsory nudity was the order of the day, no other bathing trunks of any description being allowed. I believe there was also a "brown bather" of similar design, but I cannot now recall who could wear it and when.
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Post by Lamma looker »

As well as the five lengths, you also had to complete a dive in from the side of the baths. As I remember, the brown bather (made of a canvas type material) replaced the red bather in about 1950 or 51 as some sort of economy measure. It certainly wasn't a figure-hugging garment and anyone well-endowed (not me) was liable to fall out of the side. Even though one had "won" the red bather, I think nudity was still optional. I have a feeling that at least on one swimming sports day a senior boy took part nude and no one seemed to mind.
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Post by Richard Ruck »

My housemaster in Barnes A (who was also an Old Blue) mentioned that when he was a pupil swimming "tackle out" was obligatory, as the (woolen?) material from swimming trunks used to clog up the pool's filters.

"Brown bather" - what a strange name. Sounds like a "floater", which you certainly wouldn't want in the pool.....
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Post by Great Plum »

When I was about 7 and I didn't live at CH - I learnt to swim in that old pool - it really had seen better days...
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Post by Hendrik »

When I was on my 3rd form i got red card for going down to the old swimming pool. it had seen better days, but was so much better than the new one! it had a deep-end rather than a deep-middle, had a dive pool, cool wooden building...
[why do i have such a dangerous obsession with derelict buildings?]

they bulldozed it last year though. a real shame.
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Post by Great Plum »

Hendrik wrote:When I was on my 3rd form i got red card for going down to the old swimming pool. it had seen better days, but was so much better than the new one! it had a deep-end rather than a deep-middle, had a dive pool, cool wooden building...
[why do i have such a dangerous obsession with derelict buildings?]

they bulldozed it last year though. a real shame.
You are not kidding - I went there a few years back when the gym was used as a storage for the theatre... it was falling to bits!

Have to remember though, when I was learning to swim in it in 1988 it was just after the old gym roof had decided to take off, land on the swimming pool roof and fall into the swimming pool - the whole place had been patched up with an ugly roof.... And the dive pool and gents changing rooms were out of action due to an oak tree falling in the hurricane...
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Post by Deb GP »

IIRC - the Old Gym and Pool were the milking sheds for the original farm. They just reused them.

I can remember one senior boy at an All-In diving butt naked from the gallery into the main pool. Luckily, I'm short sighted.

The Old Gym was terrible for splinters.
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Post by Great Plum »

Deb GP wrote:IIRC - the Old Gym and Pool were the milking sheds for the original farm. They just reused them.

I can remember one senior boy at an All-In diving butt naked from the gallery into the main pool. Luckily, I'm short sighted.

The Old Gym was terrible for splinters.
Good reuse - they certainly were of the same architectural design...
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Post by jtaylor »

The old swimming pool was nasty, but I do remember it with affection.
The little pool you had to walk through, leaving your shoes outside (how crazy is that, given the state of the place!), the empty diving pool at the end with no barriers at all - lethal if anyone had ever slipped on the wet tiled floor whilst changing in those horrible little changing cubicles.
Had forgotten the balcony though - jumping from there must have been lethal!

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Post by J.R. »

Right next door to the old swimming pool was the C.C.F. Armoury.

As I recall, many Lee Enfield .303's. Six 2nd world war sten guns, and a couple of Bren guns. Lovely weapons. I was lucky enough to be in one of the Bren platoon !

What WAS the name of the R.S.M. with the squeaky voice when shouting commands on the parade square ? ? (Ex soldier with many war memories !)
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Post by Deb GP »

RSMs had names? :shock: I thought they had been Christened "Sergeant Major"

Next you'll be telling me they had feelings too!
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Post by J.R. »

Hi Deb

That was quick !

I only found this site by accident earlier this afternoon.

It's really bugging me now that I can't remember his name.

HANG ON, it's just come to me R.S.M. Cook, or Cooke.

A great character. I remember setting up a bren-gun point on a night excercise down at Amberley (?), and because we were a guard post, we didn't have to trample through the mud all night. Cookie was with us most of the time, regalling stories of when he was a young man in WW.2

A pleasure to listen to him.
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Post by sejintenej »

Certainly no swimming costume until you could swim the 5 lengths; I can't remember about the dive. More interesting was the annual summer visit to the beach near Bognor Regis; I'll allow the "ladies" maginations to run riot!

As for the gym; can't remember any splinters but 2 memories stick out:

basketball introduced by an exchasnge student from the USA; I actually got a lucky net from the wrong side of the centre line and over two beams

Swinging on a horizontal bar and my hands slipping at an inopportune moment; of course there was no visible injury so permission for a visit to Dr Scott was out of the question.I am still paying the price of that.
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Post by geoff »

J.R. wrote:Right next door to the old swimming pool was the C.C.F. Armoury.

As I recall, many Lee Enfield .303's. Six 2nd world war sten guns, and a couple of Bren guns. Lovely weapons. I was lucky enough to be in one of the Bren platoon !

What WAS the name of the R.S.M. with the squeaky voice when shouting commands on the parade square ? ? (Ex soldier with many war memories !)
Sergeant Guest I think. The only story of his I can remember was about the army's issue of toilet paper - just 3 sheets, one up, one down, one polish.
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Post by J.R. »

I remember Sgt Guest. as the School Sergeant. If memory serves, he lived in the Avenue lodge house next to Peele.

R.S.M. Cooke was certainly the school R.S.M. for the C.C.F. though.
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