Sunday, February 6, 2022

Trio for Albert

Boxers John Conteh, Bunny Johnson and their manager George Francis
take the plunge into Highgate Pond, Hampstead Heath in 1973.
I find it so cute that they are holding hands, don't y'all?



  1. I think sometimes we put too much of a "thing" of men holding hands. It is not remarkable in a lot of places.

  2. Highgate Pond was one of various locales throughout England where men, under common law, enjoyed the right to swim and sunbathe naked. Another such place was on the banks of the Isis - the River Thames - where the male students at Oxford did the same. I'm not knowledgeable about nudism in Britain, but I believe the Public Order Act 1986 brought this ancient right to an end. Britain by that time had endured a decade and more of demonstrations and disruptive political activism and Margaret Thatcher put a brick in her handbag and started clobbering the statute book with it.

    In Victorian times - and earlier - all sorts of behaviours, such as men walking arm-in-arm, holding hands and even kissing in public were all socially acceptable and unremarkable. It was the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 that introduced a far stricter definition of "gross indecency" and "unnatural acts" between men, including an ATTEMPT to engage in such acts. This had a dramatic effect on male behaviour. The touching in public ceased very quickly and even men walking in the street would keep a distance one from the other. I don't know what Messrs Conteh, Johnson and Francis thought they were up to, but by that time homosexuality was partially legal - over the age of 21 and in private - but given the location, I dare say it was one of those gestures of ironic whimsy at which the English are past masters to the bewilderment of the rest of the world.

    1. Thanks for the commentary. I knew about Highgate Ponds, but not the Oxford location.

    2. Highgate men's pond, one of my haunts. Such a pity that nude swimming is not permitted. Although the site is now less secluded, you'd need binoculars to see any detail. However, that water is cold...I always wear a wetsuit.

    3. Cold swimming water in England or almost anywhere else in the UK is normal from my experience. Is Highgate worse than average?

    4. The temperature and water quality is constantly monitored. After rain, the flow increases and being fed from various quite deep springs, it can get cold quite quickly. You may know, within the changing compound there is/was a nude exercise and sun bathing area. All very Eugene Jansson. I must go back to see if it is still open.

  3. Ces trois-là ne devaient pas se rencontrer que sur les rings!
    These three should not meet only on the rings! LOL

  4. This is a great find.