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hundreds of men and women may be seen in the water - the men stark naked and the women so loosely and insufficiently clad that for all purposes of decency they might as well have been naked too." Correspondent in The Scarborough Gazette (1866) At the major English seaside resorts, mixed bathing was not encouraged and men and women were often obliged to swim separately, either from different stretches of the beach or from bathing machines designated for one sex or the other."I was out early before breakfast this morning bathing from the sands.At Shanklin one has to adopt the detestable custom of bathing in drawers.If ladies don't like to see men naked why don't they keep away from the sight?
A boy brought me to the machine door two towels, as I thought, but when I found that one of the rags he had given me was a pair of very short red and white striped drawers to cover my nakedness.
During the early years of the 19th century men habitually swam naked.
It was not until the mid-1860s that local authorities and swimming clubs introduced regulations to ensure that male swimmers wore bathing costumes when swimming in public, particularly when in the presence of women and children."...
The founder members included George Brown, John Henry Camp, Charles Hindley, J. ] Les Nageurs ("The Swimmers"), a French print from the Napoleonic period showing a mixed party of young men and women swimming together from a boat.
Mixed bathing was commonly practised in France and so it was customary for men to wear brief bathing trunks called "calecons" when in the presence of women.