Nearly 140 years ago, Alderman J. Simpson Yeates in his father’s jewellery shop with twenty-four youthful enthusiasts; some who could barely swim launched Penrith Swimming Club on its adventurous voyage. Alderman J. Simpson Yeates guided the clubs progress for the majority of his life fulfilling many roles such as secretary, treasurer and president. On 26th July, 1881, the first meeting of the Penrith Swimming Club was held. This meeting took place in the shop owned by Mr. Yeates’ father, the late Mr. Simpson Yeates jeweller, and thus, with this small gathering of youths interested in swimming, was begun what was to become of the largest swimming club in the country. Meetings were held later at the King’s Arms Inn, Little Dockray and at Mrs. Livivck’s confectioner’s shop at the foot of Castlegate, now occupied by Mr. Varty. A clubroom was later obtained at Mr. S.K. James’s Board Room in Great Dockray.
After being founded in July 1881, Penrith Swimming Club is one of the oldest swimming clubs in the world. Just over a year after being founded the clubs first gala was ran on the 17th August 1882 and was followed by a picnic. Many of the trophies can still be won by youngsters in the annual club championships in which children have the chance to swim against their peers to compete for coveted medals and cups galore!
In 1931 Penrith Swimming Club had grew from only 24 young enthusiast to over one thousand members and was not only the largest club in the British Isles but the world.