Chris Ayriss

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Chris Ayriss, author of Hung Out To Dry
Hung Out To Dry by Chris Ayriss

Chris Ayriss is a British swimmer and author of Hung Out to Dry - Swimming and British Culture, an acclaimed book on the history of British swimming. Ayriss also writes for the Outdoor Swimming Society.

Hung Out To Dry

Hung Out To Dry examines the checkered history of British swimming, from the zeal of the conquering Romans; through years of religious and superstitious intolerance; to the health and safety obsessions of today. The seaside holiday sparked the introduction of swimming costumes, beach fashion and body consciousness. The construction of lidos countrywide improved the nation's health whilst introducing the sunshine and sunbathing era. Chapter six focuses on the social history of swimming in the city of Leicester and the influence that Leicester personalities such as Daniel Lambert, Thomas Cook and Jennie Fletcher have had on the swimming world. Discover how a clash of culture changed British swimming from an animated, outdoor, playful activity, mostly enjoyed by working class boys, into a very competitive sport, confined predominantly to man-made indoor pools. This history of British swimming sheds new light on the development of British culture, conveying insight and understanding as to the growth of our current prejudice towards outdoor swimmers. Discover how, despite restrictions, the desire to escape to the wild is propelling swimmers beyond the walls of the swimming pool, to return to swimming in the wild.


A persuasive book... intriguing from the outset, a fascinating chronology of British swimming which goes much deeper than one might expect. The author's passion for open water swimming is evident throughout and [is] undeniably admirable. Well researched and interestingly written... the historical ebb and flow of swimming popularity is quite remarkable. Swimming Times

"...a fascinating book ...very readable, informative and entertaining... excellent illustrations. Leicester Mercury

"This captivating book exposes for the first time the dramatic impact that swimmers have had on British morals and culture... Swimmers used to be common in the lakes and waterways of England. How were these sportsmen chased out of the great outdoor waters, and relocated to indoor swimming pools? Discover how pride turned to prejudice as swimmers sparked the development of British Prudery." Cornwall Today

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