How Times Have Not Changed

How Times Have Not Changed

Charles Dickens Jr., the son of the novelist Charles Dickens, became a successful writer of dictionaries: Dickens’s Dictionary of London and Dickens’s Dictionary of the Thames.

In his Dictionary of London, published in 1879, he wrote about the principal swimming clubs in London and their prices (see below).

Racing frequently takes place at the various baths, and, in the season, in the Thames and Serpentine; indeed, some enthusiasts even race in the latter unsavoury water at Christmas.”

132 years later, enthusiasts are still swimming at Christmas in the Serpentine.

In his sequel, Dictionary of the Thames, he wrote about swimming in a different season, “Few things are pleasanter on a hot day than a plunge into one of the deep, quiet, shady pools in which the Thames abounds. Few things are more exhilarating than to rise after a scientific header in the rushing waters below some such weir as that at Marlow.”

ALLIANCE, City of London Bath, Golden-lane, Barbican. 1s. per quarter
AMATEUR, St. George’s Bath, Buckingham-palace-road. 10s 6d. per annum
CADOGAN, Chelsea Bath, 171, King’s-road, Chelsea. 10s. 6d. per annum
CAMDEN, St. Pancras Bath, King-street, Camden Town. 2s. per month
CYGNUS, Addington-square Bath, Camberwell. 10s per annum
DREADNOUGHT, Victoria Bath, Peckham. 1s. 6d. per quarter
EXCELSIOR, St. Pancras Bath, Tottenham-court-road. 2s. 6d. per quarter
ILEX. Lambeth Bath, Westminster-bridge-road. 5s. per annum
NORTH LONDON, North London Bath, Pentonville. 2s. 6d. per quarter
OTTER, Marylebone Bath, Marylebone. 10s. 6d. per annum
REGENT, St. Pancras Bath, Ling-street, Camden Town. 1s. per month
ST. PANCRAS, St. Pancras Bath, Tottenham-court-road. 2s. 6d. per quarter
SERPENTINE St. George’s Bath, Davies-street, Berkeley-square. 10s. per annum
SOUTH LONDON, Lambeth Bath, Westminster-bridge-road. 1s. per month
SOUTH EAST LONDON, Victoria Bath, Peckham. 2s. 6d. per annum
WEST LONDON, St. Pancras Bath, Tottenham-court-road. 2s. per quarter

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