Late Nineteenth-Century Swimming Teachers in England
During the nineteenth century, swimming became socially acceptable for women and widening participation was facilitated by an increase in baths provision, which provided new opportunities for female professional swimming teachers. This chapter explores the expansion in their numbers by taking both a prosopographical approach, based on a catalogue of over two hundred women swimming teachers compiled from census data, and providing exemplars of individual biographies. The analysis uncovers the intersection of class and gender within this community and discusses the role of patriarchy in creating and maintaining opportunities for these women. The chapter concludes with some methodological reflections and argues for the combination of biographical approaches when exploring the life courses of previously hidden populations.
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