Peter Murray
EVENT - Talk

Tuesday, 7 June, 6:30 - 8:30
Join author Caitlin Davies for an illustrated talk on the birth of river racing and the reasons why today’s ‘wild swimmers’ are reclaiming the Thames.

From championship races through central London in the 1870s, to floating baths, galas in the East End docks and a children’s beach at Tower Bridge, swimmers have always made good use of the Thames.


Legends like Annette Kellerman and Captain Webb trained in the river, as did forgotten champions Agnes Beckwith and Eileen Lee. But when the Thames was declared biologically dead in the 1950s, it seemed these glory days were over. Now, with the river the cleanest in living memory, the swimmers are back, with new open water clubs, mass participation swims in the docks and a planned floating bath for central London.

Caitlin Davies is a novelist, non-fiction writer, journalist and teacher, and the author of the critically acclaimed Downstream: A History and Celebration of Swimming the River Thames (Aurum 2015). She is also a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Westminster (Harrow).

Signed copies of Downstream will be available for purchase on the night, at a special London Society discount.

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