Search

Swimmers rally behind lifeguards at Hampstead Heath ladies’ pond after Daily Mail attack

07:00 29 August 2014

A stock photo of a lifeguard at the ladies

A stock photo of a lifeguard at the ladies' pond on Hampstead Heath.

Archant

Swimmers have defended a ban on young children at Hampstead Heath’s bathing ponds after a mother complained to a national newspaper about being kicked out with her baby.

Harriet Taylor, 29, told the Daily Mail this week that she felt “upset and embarrassed” after being asked to leave the Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond, because she was there with her three-month-old son Arthur.

Ms Taylor, who was having a picnic with friends at the time, insisted the facility should allow new mums with babies because it is “supposed to welcoming to women”.

However, signposts clearly state that under-eights are not allowed for safety reasons – and the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association (KLPA) has backed the rules.

Mary Powell, secretary of the KLPA, said: “It’s fairly clear on the notice boards that children under eight are not admitted.

“It makes sense for safety reasons – the ponds are rather deep. For safety reasons, we would have to be behind that, I can’t see any way around it.Even girls over eight have to have swim tests in front of a lifeguard before they are let loose in the pond.”

The KLPA, a user-led group which represents swimmers, also rallied behind staff after Ms Taylor criticised their behaviour.

The mother, who lives in Mill Hill, told the Daily Mail the lifeguard who spoke to her was “rude” and had “marched” her out of the enclosure.

She also claimed the lifeguard said her baby was especially unwelcome because he “had a penis”, although staff at the pond are understood to deny this claim.

Ms Powell seemed surprised by the mother’s comments, saying the lifeguards are generally well-liked, polite and helpful.

“I have never experienced rudeness from the lifeguards, quite the opposite,” she said.

“I have to say the Daily Mail piece seems to be a bit of a non-story – ‘lifeguard enforces safety-related rule at swimming pond’.”

The ban on under-eights also applies to the mixed and men’s bathing ponds.

A spokesman for the City of London Corporation, which manages Hampstead Heath, said: “We’ve seen a lot of local support for the policy since the weekend and the public reaction towards the lifeguards has been fantastic. They have a very strong bond with the swimmers.

“The wild swimming environment is not suitable for children under the age of eight.

“The Ladies’ Pond can be deceptively dangerous because it has no shallows and is a straight drop into deep, cold, murky water with virtually no visibility.”

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:29
A view of the proposed development from Maygrove Peace park

The final plans for what would be one of West Hampstead’s tallest towers have been made available to the public after Camden Council submitted the planning application.

Yesterday, 16:00
Pupils dress up for Highgate Primary School's nativity play. Picture: Nigel Sutton

A primary school put its own spin on a traditional nativity play by recruiting three Marys, three Josephs and a talking donkey.

Yesterday, 15:00
La Sainte Union pupils sing Christmas carols. Picture: Dieter Perry

Schoolgirls raised their voices in song to treat a church congregation to Christmas carols at a festive concert.

Yesterday, 13:00
Camden families have been defying new government rules and taking their children on holidays during school term time. Picture: PA File.

Dozens of Camden families have defied new government rules banning pupils from going on holiday during school term time, new figures reveal.

Most read news

And they have a role to play in saving their species.

Twinkle, twinkle you little stars – thanks for making your homes so festive.

Offers for university places are at a record high.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition