Monday, 10 August 2015

Happy nudist birthday Brighton

Ok, so it's Monday. It's Monday the 10th August. That might not look much to you but it's a pretty momentous day in British history.

Over on Bringing up Charlie I've been blogging about how today is the actual birthday of the BBC Proms. On this day, 120 years ago, a man called Robert Newman started the ball rolling. And it's still rolling, all these years later.

Now someone (a reader) once described this as my 'grown-up zone'. So, in keeping with the designation I've a slightly more grown-up anniversary to celebrate: Britain's first nudist beach.

Slightly less than 120 years ago (in 1979 to be precise) Brighton City Council declared a 200-yard stretch of the seafront safe for the removal of clothing.

You'd have thought, from some of the reactions, that the end times were at hand. Councillor John Blackman, who voted against the measure, called it a flagrant exhibition of mammary glands, adding: I personally have got no objection to people showing their breasts and bosoms and general genitalia to one another. Jolly good luck to them but for heaven's sake they should go somewhere more private.

We do have a 'thing' about privacy in this country. Having just come back from a fortnight's holiday, some of which was spent at (non-nudist) beaches I'm still rather amazed by the lengths people go to to avoid a glimpse of any part of their otherwise private anatomy being revealed as they dry themselves or change into their swimming trunks or whatever else they do beneath their towels.

I'm not a nudist and regard the idea of stripping off for the sake of (and, it seems, engaging in energetic games of volleyball) rather unnecessary. But I do take what I regard as a sensible attitude to clothing and the changing into and out of it.

Still, each to his (and her) own. Despite attempts in 1983 to close it down as a 'disgrace to the town' Brighton's nudist beach remains open.

Let's all wish it a happy birthday!