Fined for Bathing

Thanks to digitized newspapers, here’s an example of when you may not want to let sleeping dogs lie when writing a family history.

The following article, transcribed from the Eastern Argus and Borough of Hackney Times, May 28, 1910, could well be about my great uncle Edward Cohen who won prizes at school, got a scholarship to Cambridge, joined up and died on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele. It makes people more human when you find out they transgressed.

Edward Cohen, 16, and John Wood, 17, two respectable looking lads, were charged before Mr. Cluer at the Old Street Police Court on Monday (23 May), with bathing in the Regent’s Canal, contrary to the bylaws.

Both prisoners admitted their guilt, but said that they had been tempted by the sight of the water, as the afternoon was oppressively hot.

Mr. Cluer, addressing the prisoners, remarked that the conduct of the authorities was making us the dirtiest people in the world. For some unknown reason, young men in this country were not supposed to want to bathe after eight o’clock in the morning; while in other countries bathing was not only permitted but encouraged at all hours. It was a pity the authorities could not see fit to allow bathing throughout the day in Victoria and other public parks; or, at the Tooting Bec common, to building a large open air bathing-place in the East End, which should be available at anytime. He ordered the lads to pay half a crown each as a penalty for breaking the canal by-law.

According to the records of the British Meteorological Office, the maximum temperature in London reached 76F (24.4C) on Sunday 22 May, undoubtedly feeling hotter under prevailing sunny skies.


One Reply to “Fined for Bathing”

  1. Love this John.
    Got home last night, checking through stuff I couldn’t get to in the UK ‘coz my cheap blasted hotels couldn’t provide consistent Internet. Live and learn !!!! I am stll fagged out by jet lag. Cheers, anyways, and oh, BTW, I have something for you. Call me, OK? BT

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