I have a facsimile edition of an 1813 Guide to Brighton. It seems to show we were a nation of wimps. On the subject of baths (hot and cold) there is a suggestion that some people (patients) require a warm bath to start with. Perhaps we weren’t wimps if only those in need of ‘treatment’ went into the water. But on the subject of sea bathing the guide tells us:
“The ladies generally resort to the water on the east side of the town, and the gentlemen to the west. Thus public decency is preserved, without which no society can long exist.”
Thank God we had standards. In the final section, on Cautions and Admonitions on sea bathing and taking the waters, it offers the following advice:
“The general and indiscriminate use of bathing is allowed on all hands, frequently to lay the foundation of a train of maladies, and instead of being a harmless or salutary amusement, is often destructive to health and enjoyment.”
Hold that thought ’til the summer arrives. You have been warned.