The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Lenton Times Issue 2 - May 1989

Letters To the Editor - 1835

This letter was included in Nottingham Review 12th July 1835 and recorded by Mrs Mickie Shaw while working on the Society's index of local references in the Nottingham papers.


As reform and improvement are the prevailing orders of the present day, permit me by means of your journal, once more to call attention to one of the most abominable and DEMORALIZING NUISANCES that have disgraced so important a town as that in which we live. The population of Nottingham consists of no less than fifty thousand persons, and although it abounds with facilities for making a SAFE, CONVENIENT and DECENT place for bathing, yet, Sir, it is a fact, that almost in the middle of the 19th century, we are still without this highly essential public accommodation; the want of which gives rise to circumstances well calculated to disgust the virtuous of mature years, and, in my opinion, equally calculated to divest young persons of that delicacy of feeling which is considered one of the brightest ornaments of youth.

It cannot be denied, Sir, that in seasons like the present, bathing is amongst the most gratifying means of promoting cleanliness and health, and is a pleasing source of comfort and amusement, which the young will naturally seek to enjoy, and therefore, for want of a suitable PRIVATE place of bathing, some of our public walks are to the respectable female population worse than useless, and too frequently subject them to the most indecent and degrading insults.

I was yesterday passing by the river Leen and the canal, on my way to Lenton, when I observed numerous groups of youths in and out of the water in a state of complete nudity, amounting to at least a hundred in number, and varying in age from seven to seventeen years. To see the tricks and gambols of the little ones, had the effect of bringing back the recollection of former pleasures; but, Sir, there were other scenes to be witnessed, of the most indecent and revolting nature; it so happened that several young females had unthinkingly preferred that road to Lenton, and consequently were compelled to pass or the canal bank, and on such occasions I saw (though at a distance), several of the hobbletyhoys get out of the water for the purposes of exposing themselves or the footpath, and to be offering insult to the passing females. Now, Sir, I believe it is an admitted fact, that evil communications corrupt good manners', and 1 am convinced that this species of bravado, practised in the presence of younger boys, cannot fail to have a contaminating influence on minds which in general are already too susceptible of, and too well stored with that which is evil.

A few summers ago, I remember seeing several more bathing in the canal, which runs cross by London road, where coaches are constantly passing, and one of them, fearful that he should not be sufficiently exposed, fixed himself naked as he was, erect on the top of a gate post, with only the width of the canal between him and the London road.

Thus, Sir, I think that by removing so great a nuisance, a bathing place, something like the one at Leicester, should be established as speedily as possible. It may probably be stated that the river Trent is open to the same observations. I admit it; but how many lives have been lost by bathing in the Trent, which might have been saved, had there been such a place as I have already alluded to; and I doubt not that many hundreds (I had almost said thousands) of the inhabitants of Nottingham, to whom bathing would be quite a treat, are prevented from doing so because in the canal it would be indecent - in the Trent it would be dangerous: and though too much praise cannot be given to Mr Myers, for the excellent accommodation he has made for one class of persons, yet, Sir, I shall be glad if these observations meet the eye of some public spirited individual, who will either promote a subscription, or adopt means to get a clause introduced into the proposed Corporation Reform Bill, giving the council authority to appropriate such part of their LANDS, such part of their funds as may be necessary for the making and keeping in a clean and proper state, a place both SAFE and convenient for the purposes above named.

By inserting the above, you will much oblige AN OLD CORRESPONDENT.

Quite what Mr. Myers' 'excellent accommodation' amounted to is not quite clear but it was 1924 before Lenton had a swimming pool of its own in the form of Highfields Lido courtesy of Sir Jesse Boot.

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