By Museum of Oxford
MOX VoxJul 17, 2023
Dive In! A History of River Bathing in Oxford
We walked to Parson's Pleasure to bathe. It was the first time I have been there this year: all was cool and green and lovely beyond anything. We had a glorious bathe and then lay on the grass talking of a hundred things till we got hot and had to bathe again.
During the pandemic summers of 2020 and 2021, when travel was limited by lockdown restrictions, there was a dramatic revival of river swimming in Oxford. The riverside became the city’s own holiday resort. In the wake of this trend, a handful of half-forgotten names began to resurface in Oxford’s memory: Tumbling Bay, Long Bridges, Parson’s Pleasure, Dame’s Delight…
In this lunchtime talk, the curator of our current temporary exhibition, Dive In! A History of River Swimming in Oxford, shared the history of the city’s bathing places. He described the social and material history of these sites, and reflected on the way they’d been imagined in poetry, artwork and fiction. We met champion swimmers and heroic lifeguards; traced the rise of swimming for women from the 1880s, mixed bathing in the 1910s, and the sunbathing craze of the Interwar years. Plus, we reflected on the troubles and dangers swimmers have faced, from criminalisation, injury and drowning, to diseases like Weil’s disease.
This talk was recorded at a live event on 7 June 2023, at the Museum of Oxford. Part of the Museum's lunchtime talks series. Check out our events here: https://museumofoxford.org/whats-on
Speaker: George Townsend
Music and editing: Simon Tarassenko
Welcome to the Museum (S1: E1)
The brand new MOX is the only museum focused on telling the stories of the people of Oxford. We have just reopened after 3+ years of development. In our first episode of MOXVox find out about the history of the Museum of Oxford, what stories we tell in the museum and how staff work with local communities.
Find out more about the Museum of Oxford by heading to our website: http://museumofoxford.org/