The Bathing Place - 'New Storytellers' BBC Radio 4 by Hunter Charlton published on 2021-03-18T10:45:26Z 2021 Charles Parker Radio Prize Winner. What makes a bathing place? Situated on the outskirts of Oxford, the male-only nude bathing place known as Parson’s Pleasure offered exercise and repose to men from many walks of life, for at least four hundred years. It formed a centre of muscular Christianity for the Victorians and a hub for the sunbathing craze between the wars. It was also a cruising spot and sanctuary for gay men until its demolition in 1992, and remains a part of the city’s collective imagination to this day. 'The Bathing Place' traces cultural historian George Townsend’s research into this unique site through interviews, archival sounds, poetry and field recordings. We hear tales of swimming for waterlilies, sunbathing dons, and a naked picnic. We reimagine the space, with its screens, cubicles, diving boards and attendant’s hut. And we speak to a young, gay and trans man for whom swimming with friends at Parson’s Pleasure was a source of support and “ahistorical connection” during Lockdown. Touching on social and landscape history and the history of sexuality, The Bathing Place offers an insight into the city of dreaming spires like no other. Image: William Roberts Producer: Hunter Charlton Described by BBC R4's Commissioning Editor, as "the most polished and complete production of the 10 [shortlisted], drawing me into its story with a great deal of patience and subtlety". 'The Bathing Place' will be available on BBC Sounds and also broadcast live on BBC R4 this summer.