Three years ago, when I started researching Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames, I thought it would be quite a short book. After all, how many people would want to swim in the Thames?
Margaret White – training in Leigh swimming pool, 1961 (Courtesy of Margaret White-Wrixon)
But I soon realised that bathing in London’s great waterway used to be the norm, that river racing reached its peak in Victorian times and that now, with the Thames the cleanest in living memory, there has been a real resurgence in ‘wild swimming’.
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When you cross a bridge over the magnificent Thames, or hop on a boat and sail past London’s Docks, has it ever crossed your mind that the city’s famous river would make a nice spot for a swim? It certainly hadn’t mine, until I met Caitlin Davies earlier this year and learned all about the amazing history of wild swimming in the River Thames. For centuries the river has been a place for bathing, and in recent years has become a hot spot for outdoor swimming once again. Read the full post