Freebodys Lido Reading. Water Sport at Freebody's - image

River Thames Swimming and Diving at Freebody’s Lido – Reading

River Thames Swimming during the 50s/60s.

The family Freebody lived in the house on the banks of the river Thames in Caversham. 

River Thames swimming was shared between Freebody’s and Cawston’s Lidos. Freebody’s owned the boatyard and provided a “Lido.” The Lido provided many happy hours of enjoyment, swimming and diving.

There was much “showing off” outdoing one another, leaping from the spectacular high board.

People, who were going about their daily business stopped on the bridge for a minute or two. They gazed at the antics, which of course encouraged the divers more!

River thames swimming frolics at Freebody's 1945 - image

River swimming frolics at Freebody’s 1945


The river was very deep at this spot. Not only did Mr Freebody cater for river swimming,  but he hired out small boats.
Boat building took place in a corrugated shed just beyond the diving boards.
The area became very crowded in the hot summer months.  Many families spent the whole day river swimming and picnicing.

More river swimming found at Cawston’s

Across the river from Freebody’s Lido is Pipers Island and Fry’s Island.
Mr Cawston of Cawston’s Boatyard also provided a river swimming Lido. What bliss it was offering another  great paradise for river swimming and diving.


Past times

River thames swimming -. Reading Review 1938 Local History Central Library - image

The Lido in the River. Reading Review 1938 Local History Central Library

“Finals of the Summer Sports Girl Competition will be held Freebody’s Lido Caversham Wednesday 22nd July 1936”

“Finals of the Bathing Beauty Contest at Freebody’s Lido, Caversham Bridge Saturday 25th July 1936”


“After a swim the freshness and absorbent softness of a perfectly laundered Bath Towel completes your pleasure. Also imparting a glow of healthy satisfaction.
“It is worthwhile employing a “Laundry of Quality”
Reading and Caversham Laundry June 1936″

OUTCOME: Due to health and safety the Lidos were not recognised as bathing places from the 70s

River thames swimming haunts - Aerial shot of Cawston's and Freebody's - image

Aerial shot of Cawston’s and Freebody’s


River thames swimming diving no more at Freebody's. Cawston's on the right - image

Where the diving boards once stood on the left. Cawston’s.

Arthur Hill Memorial Baths – Kings Road – Reading – 1911


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