Paul Farrington, a member of Brighton Swimming Club  received funding from  the Heritage Lottery Fund in July 2011 to create an accessible  archive that delves into a fascinating and extensive heritage of swimming in Brighton using archives  that date back to 1860. Until now, the club’s archives have remained hidden, unseen and unknown to members of the club, the public and historians.

Founded on the 4th May 1860, at a meeting  held at the Jolly Fisherman’s Inn in Market Street, Brighton. The club promotes an ongoing heritage of swimming in the sea, the pool, water polo, sub aqua, diving and synchronized swimming. Traditional annual events are still held, such as the Christmas Day Swim (dating back to 1885) and the Pier  to Pier race (dating back to 1936).

Artefacts include reels of unique 16mm film footage from the 1940s, letterpress posters, scrapbooks, gala programmes, badges, competition adverts, letters, photographs and newspaper cuttings are among the fascinating items to be properly documented and conserved.

The legacy of Floating Memories will be  a archive at East Sussex Records Office, a film archive at Screen Archive South East, a permanent exhibition at the Brighton Fishing Museum and the website will allow the heritage of swimming and sea bathing in Brighton to be available for everyone  to discover and enjoy.

At the very heart of this project are the club’s archives, and with hundreds of items available there are endless opportunities  for volunteers to participate in heritage learning.

Training and volunteering opportunities are now  being offered that will allow the club’s archives  to be compiled, catalogued and digitised, so  that this important slice of hidden history in the South East is not lost. Find out more here.