Photograph of Flora MacEachern of Cornaigbeg in a swimming costume in the 1930s.
Courtesy of Mrs Mairi Brady
Flora MacEachern, known as Fileag, was the daughter of the blacksmith at Creag Mhòr in Cornaigbeg. She was photographed in the 1930s in a swimming costume that was typical of the Victorian era, covering the arms and legs and accessorised with a fancy cap.
In the 19th century bathing in the sea was considered to be therapeutic. Although costumes were quite modest, it was common for men to swim naked when away from women. This practice was banned in Britain in 1860; bathing was segregated until 1901.
In the early 20th century, bathing wear started to shrink, first exposing the arms then the thighs; collars gradually receded and necklines plunged. New fabrics allowed for more comfortable and practical swimwear and swimming became the leisure pursuit it is today.