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Author: Geoff Swallow

The Death of the Fisherman and the Birth of the Bather: the emergence of recreational swimming in a Cornish coastal town

Presented by: Geoff Swallow ABSTRACT The first annual summer migrant to arrive on the coast of West Cornwall en masse was not the Victorian tourist but the pilchard. This presentation takes its title from sociologist Jean-Didier Urbain’s personifications of the transition of the beach from industrial zone to recreational site. It focuses on Porthminster beach in St Ives, Cornwall, for generations the site of the town’s seine fishery but which, between the construction of the railway in 1874 and the opening of the Porthminster hotel in 1894, was appropriated as the town’s bathing beach. The annual arrival of shoals...

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Collier and Kistler: “the friendliest possible rivalry.”

Two swimmers whose rivalry during the 1880s served to define the professional era on the West of England circuit, J. J. Collier (1860-1899) of Salford, and George Kistler (1864-1942) of Penzance, both died on this day. Both Collier and Kistler were recognised as world championship titles over the mile, Collier taking his from James Finney at Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale, in 1885, and Kistler taking his against Willie Beckwith in the sea at Penzance in front of thousands of spectators in 1887 – a title he controversially lost to Finney in Penzance a year later. Born in Salford, Collier was...

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