I have been fortunate to swim in some wonderful places, but nowhere compares to the chilly, slightly muddy patch of water found on Hampstead Heath, known as Kenwood Ladies’ Pond. It’s the place where the inner drone of everyday worries and grumbles magically disappear and where you emerge shivering, full of happiness, back into a world that always seems a bit more wonderful than it did before.
Kenwood Ladies’ Pond is 89 years old, being opened to the public in 1926. Until then, women had only limited access to the other swimming ponds of the Heath, which were open to male swimmers only for most of the week.
A number of people ask “why do you need a pond for women only?”, and I suppose my answer would be that for many women, perhaps it isn’t considered strictly necessary. But it is a place where we dress and undress together, laugh, share ideas, debate, dance, celebrate the seasons, bring food to share, pin articles, swap books…and sometimes even swim! Continue reading “Kenwood Ladies’ Pond: a love letter”