Advert for the South East London Swimming Club
The generalised Victorian drive towards a 'civil society' saw great focus placed upon organised sporting activities. Sports and clubs that had previously had no fixed rules or regulations found themselves brought under the control of new government-sponsored bodies. The Metropolitan Swimming Association was one such group. Established in 1869, it regulated the activities of every swimming club in London.
The association placed a large emphasis on competitive swimming, introducing the 100-yards race in 1878. It also drew up the first rules for water polo. Lambeth Baths, advertised here, was used for indoor swimming events from 1861.