Tag Archives: 1860s

{DISCOVERED} Bathing in Brighton: Vintage Memories and Musings

Who are the  dapper gents in top hats and scandalous bathing shorts?

None other than some of the original members of The Brighton Swimming Club. This photo was taken circa 1863 by photographer Benjamin Botham.

Seems like the boys of Brighton have been stirring up a lot of conversation on the net, which seems quite remarkable for a one hundred and forty nine year old memory!

It’s remarkable that photographs like this have survived,  helping keep the past alive, and showing all of us here in the {PRESENT} the weird and wonderful moments of the past they don’t teach you in history class.

The Brighton Swim Club was established on May 4th, 1860, following a meeting of swimming enthusiasts at The Jolly Fisherman in Brighton’s Market Street. The members, all serious for the sport, were completely revolutionary to the strict mandates of Victorian dress codes often ditching their scanty shorts to swim the seas nude.

As noted in our story on Men’s Vintage Swimwear Styles, swimsuits were made of heavy cottons or wools and covered most of the body, making it highly uncomfortable and straining.

Due to public outrage over the sight of the naked male swimmers, authorities in Brighton would introduce regulations that insisted that men who wanted to swim on the main beach between the hours of 8 AM and 9PM, would have to wear a bathing costume to “preserve public decency”.

{The club’s  “two-dolphins” crest is embroidered on these suits – a symbol of the seaside town. This photo was taken outside their clubhouse at No. 231 King’s Road Arches on March 1881}

That’s where the calecons, a French creation, came into play allowing for the coverage authorities desired, and the lack of coverage desired by the club members. They were truly rebels of the waters, treading the fine lines of societal morality and the function they knew they (and WE) needed!

The Brighton Swimming Club is still alive and well today! The Swimming Club has gone through great efforts to keep their history in tact so all can see. Floating Memories is an archive dedicated to preserving and curating their collected history, and features a remarkable database of vintage clothing and lifestyle. Their Vimeo channel yields some true wonders!


If you enjoy the beach (I know you do), and vintage styles (I know you do too) be sure to check this out!

Thanks to Callum James for bringing this remarkable tradition to our attention. His blog Front Free Endpaper features many cool vintage treasures to adore. Also David Simkin, whose Sussex Photo History blog featured a brilliant page on The Brighton Swimming Club, including a detailed breakdown of that fantastic picture of the gentleman wearing top hats that’s been buzzing around the place!

Once again, history prevails and shows it’s not going away anytime soon. So have fun! Do what you want!

Hope you’re all having a great summer!

Sincerely,

{theEye}

Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter
+
+
+++
{the Eye of Faith.com}
+++
+

Similar Stories:

E.O.F. Approved: 1800s Adirondack Black Bear and Brown Buffalo Coat


Searching the ‘cyberworld’ for great vintage finds is not always an easy task.   In an over-saturated industry it takes a lot of time to weed out the gems from the stones.   But we’ve stumbled upon a great site with some choice vintage menswear pieces as well as womenswear.   Today, we wish to draw attention to Time Warp – Vintage, and this amazing coat of  black bear fur and brown buffalo cuffs and collar from the Adirondack Mountains.


According to Timewarp; “THE LODGES IN THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS BECAME POPULAR AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION FOR THE CITY DWELLERS IN ABOUT 1860, AND IT WAS VERY WILD AND RURAL TO THEM. TO GET THERE, THE PEOPLE HAD TO TAKE A TRAIN AS FAR AS IT WOULD GO, AND THEN A HORSE DRAWN BUGGY OR CARRIAGE WOULD PICK THEM UP AND TAKE THEM THE REST OF THE WAY. SOME TRIPS WERE 10 MILES OR SO WHICH MIGHT TAKE A GOOD 2 HOURS. THIS COAT BELONGED TO THE LODGE AND WAS GIVEN TO MEN TO WEAR IN THE CARRIAGE ON THE COLD COLD TRIP UP THE MOUNTAIN.”

    

This is the type of hide we’d like to have in our possession for a potential new ice-age!  Perhaps one hundred or two hundred dollars out of our price-range, we can still appreciate the beauty and structure of such a historic hide!

Sincerely,

+-{[THE EYE]}-+

Similar Stories