City Swimmers
City Swimmers    Duration: 55 mins.
Directed by Margaret Dickinson
Edited by Lyn Champion
Subject consultant: Mary Cane
City Swimmers was made by filmmakers who are also swimmers.
it captures the pleasures of bathing with moorhens and ducks throughout the changing seasons and is a lively insiders’ account of a campaign for the right to do so.
The story starts on Hampstead Heath. Here, near the centre of London,  are three ponds where people swim  -  one for women, one for men and one for mixed bathing. In November 2004 a proposal to restrict or ban swimming sparked an explosion of public anger. Protesters were pitted against the ancient and secretive Corporation of the City of London which took over the management of the Heath in 1989.
The campaign won support beyond London as it touched on common experiences of excessive safety regulation, commercialisation and the erosion of public resources.
Distributor: Journeyman Pictures   

Telephone:   00 44 208 398 4616

DVDs available from Moviemail

City Swimmers was made in close association with the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association 
The Highgate Lifeboys
The Mixed Pond Action Group.
The United Swimmers’ Association
Hampstead Heath Winter Swimming Club.
Open Water Swimming, in London and Nationally:   

The threat to swimming on Hampstead Heath was only one episode in a wider struggle for the right to swim in open waters. 

The ponds campaign achieved its aims with the exception of free access.   
All bathing ponds remained open; the hours of supervised bathing were unchanged; additional hours of unsupervised, club bathing is now allowed during winter. 

The outcome was encouraging but over the country a tendency to ban swimming  in open water has yet to be decisively reversed.  Swimmers have also been affected by a long and serious decline in the number of outdoor pools and lidos.   Access, even to indoor swimming, is inadequate in many areas. Swimmers are organising to improve the situation.
photograph by Ruth Corney
photograph by Ruth Corney
photograph by Ruth Corney
Campaign contacts:
River and Lake Swimming Association
The Right to swim
London Pools Campaign
For information about lidos: