A Swimming Family: The Beckwiths

  • Dave DayEmail author
  • Margaret Roberts


While there were many different professional swimming communities operating during the nineteenth century, the Beckwith family were the most prominent. Headed by Professor Fred Beckwith, who involved virtually every member of his immediate and extended family in swimming-related activities, his community generated interest in all aspects of swimming, especially among women, through their exhibitions at home and abroad. Having first established himself as a champion swimmer, Fred used this social capital and his entrepreneurial skills to promote his community, which included professionals like Professor David Pamplin, and his use of glass tanks to stage shows in indoor arenas became a standard practice for swimming professors. The lives of Fred’s daughters Agnes and Lizzie are discussed in some detail since they had a significant impact on public perceptions of female swimmers.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History, Politics and PhilosophyManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  2. 2.Independent ResearcherCreweUK

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