Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Swimming in the Tyne in 1901

The British Film Institute is putting a lot of fabulous early film online on their website and YouTube, including this lovely clip of a swimming gala in Tynemouth in 1901. The novelty obstacle race, swum in full evening dress, is followed by diving.
The event was filmed by Mitchell and Kenyon, who showed the results that evening with other footage to an enthusiastic audience.
Two things of note:
1) All the boats are rowed, and all the men (no women allowed) step from boat to boat with the easy confidence of a lifetime's practice; and
2) Nobody is being taken off to hospital with acute poisoning - the Tyne was already one of the most heavily polluted rivers in the world.

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