Friday, March 12, 2021

This drawing, Highgate Ponds, 1960, is a bit of a jumble, but I think the work is quite good.  Barrington used the nude swimming ponds in Highgate as a source of both inspiration and models.  He supposedly took some photos there, but I haven't been able to find any.  I understand the men only swimming area is still operating, but I hear mixed reports as to whether nudity is still allowed.



  1. Highgate Pond, on Hampstead Heath, was one of several that tolerated male nude swimming as a common law right until the Blair government legislated to reform the public decency laws. The irony is that that same legislation removed same-sex kissing, holding hands and other acts of affection from the Statute Book. What we gained on the roundabouts we lost on the swings. The only male nudity to be seen there today are the occasional Orthodox Jews who use it as a mikvah - ritual immersion - on a discreet corner. The Pond is fed from a rising spring which makes it "living waters" under Mosaic Law. There is now a railed-off corner of the changing rooms where nude sunbathing is permitted. With absolutely the latest swimwear, it is as busy as ever it was in Victorian times. I remember many a sunny Sunday afternoon there... it was great fun.

  2. I been to Highgate ponds several times. The whole changing area was , not unlike that of Eugène Jansson, for men to exercise nude. These days, a screened off area is set aside for nude sun bathing and exercise. Best visited off season. Sadly no nude swimming. The water is rather cold, last time I went I swam in my wetsuit, then dried off nude in the weak October sunshine. Hoping to go ASAP.

    1. The first time I went, there was what seemed to be a team of rowers. Young, all very well built. All nude, casually chatting. So good to see.