vintage, nostalgia and memories


February 4, 2016

Vintage Group Photographs of Members of the Brighton Swimming Club in the 19th Century

The Brighton Swimming Club was established following a meeting of swimming enthusiasts at The Jolly Fisherman in Brighton's Market Street, on 4th May 1860. The founder members included George Brown, John Henry Camp, Charles Hindley, J. Nyren, W. Patching, R. Ward, and George Worsley.

George Worsley (c1835-1911) was a china and glass merchant who ran a shop in West Street, Brighton. Minutes of the Brighton Swimming Club, recording a Committee meeting held on 2nd June 1863, notes that Benjamin Botham was admitted to the swimming club "on condition of his taking a photographic sketch of the members of the Club". John Henry Camp (1826-1875), another founder member of the swimming club, was a celebrated one-legged swimmer, having had his left leg amputated some years before.

According to the Brighton Swimming Club website, a small band of keen swimmers met regularly to bathe from the beach near the Lion Mansions Hotel on Grand Junction Parade during the late 1850s, but did not formalise their group into a club until May 1860.

Men who wanted to join the Brighton Swimming Club paid an entrance fee of one shilling and a weekly subscription of two pence (2d) a week.

A group photograph of nineteen members of the Brighton Swimming Club, believed to have been taken by the photographer Benjamin William Botham in 1863. (Photo: Courtesy of the Brighton Swimming Club and the East Sussex Record Office)

Members of the Brighton Swimming Club photographed by Norman & Co. outside their club-house at No..231 King's Road Arches in March 1891. (Photo: Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museum Photograph Collection)



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