Hung Out to Dry: Swimming and British Culture

Chris Ayriss

After years of discouragement by the Church, Britain led the world into a new association with water. Swimming and bathing took on unbelievable popularity, and as the Empire grew, so our culture spread abroad. The rivers, lakes and canals of this green and pleasant land became home to throngs of swimmers young and old. Yet Britain’s pride in its swimming heritage has not endured.

Today those who venture into rivers to enjoy their sport are termed ‘wild swimmers’ and are viewed, at best as eccentrics, though more often they are seen as lawbreakers. Guide books direct us to out of the way beauty spots where we can swim secretly away from the disapproving gaze of critics, but prejudice is evident everywhere. Hung Out to Dry is unlike any other book on this subject. Rather than bemoaning the fact that our freedom to swim has been restricted, it provides answers to the burning question that all wild swimmers have at one time asked: ‘how did a nation of outdoor swimmers find themselves chased out of the water, rounded up and confined to indoor swimming pools?’

Through this book you will discover how pride turned to prejudice as swimmers sparked the development of our unique culture of prudishness. The author feels that a pre-requisite to change is a true understanding of the problem.

More information: Hung Out To Dry Website