From a letter to Yarmouth School
Looking back with pleasure over the years, it seems that school in summer revolved round the time of high tide. Our daily swimming lesson took up the latter part of the morning or afternoon. It was not often that we missed. Occasionally we went to the beach by the Pier, but most often it was down the turning up the High Street. We all undressed on the beach – very stony it was too – and we mastered the art of an exceedingly rapid change. There was a small raft beside a breakwater which good swimmers used.
We were encouraged to learn to swim. Mr Stanway would give 6d to anyone who learnt and to the one who taught the swimmer. Many people went on to do the mile and to learn life saving. For this we went to the harbour and were thrown out of a boat fully dressed.
We had to undress in the water – get ashore – and also “rescue” a drowning person – swim underwater and dive off the boat without capsizing it.
The highlight of the swimming season was the Cowes Regatta, and a great honour to be picked for the team, for which we received a medal. Also if you were good there was the chance of winning some pocket money at the various regattas.
Barbara Dence b 1920