I have spent this lunchtime reading the Lenton Times online – a magazine of social history in Lenton when I came across a letter written to the Nottingham Review in 1835. A portion of it is reproduced below.
“I was yesterday passing by the river Leen and the canal, on my way to Lenton, when I observed numerous groups of youths in and out of the water in a state of complete nudity, amounting to at least a hundred in number, and varying in age from seven to seventeen years.
To see the tricks and gambols of the little ones, had the effect of bringing back the recollection of former pleasures; but, Sir, there were other scenes to be witnessed, of the most indecent and revolting nature; it so happened that several young females had unthinkingly preferred that road to Lenton, and consequently were compelled to pass or the canal bank, and on such occasions I saw (though at a distance), several of the hobbletyhoys get out of the water for the purposes of exposing themselves or the footpath, and to be offering insult to the passing females.
Now, Sir, I believe it is an admitted fact, that evil communications corrupt good manners’, and 1 am convinced that this species of bravado, practised in the presence of younger boys, cannot fail to have a contaminating influence on minds which in general are already too susceptible of, and too well stored with that which is evil.”
To read more follow the link below.