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'Their object is to promote general proficiency rather than
exceptional excellence–to teach the art to the many, not to
deck the breasts of a few experts alone.' 

– Penny Illustrated Paper, 14 August 1869

The London Swimming Club (LSC) provides a welcoming club environment for open water swimmers. Over a century ago, the club's original founders created an inclusive community of swimmers who seamlessly combined the art of swimming with core moralistic purpose. The revival of the club aims to pick up where they left off; promoting the positive effects of swimming on both the body and mind and most importantly to have fun whilst doing it. 

LSC is the official club for London Royal Docks OWS.



London Royal Docks Open Water Swimming
27 Western Gateway
London E16 1FA


Thurs: 7–9am
Sat: 8–11am
Sun: 8–10am

venue pricing per swim

Winter season: £10
Summer season: £8
Discounts available
LSC members



The London Swimming Club (LSC) is one of London’s oldest swimming clubs on record. First established in 1859, LSC was a central hub of London’s Victorian swimmers. They were the first club to formalise the rules of Water Polo and their founding member, Ernst Ravenstein, was a prominent member of the National Olympian Association.

The club was known for its lively, social atmosphere and was a regular host of race events. Most notably perhaps was the summer fete, held in the East and West India Dock, where swimmers would chase a ‘duck’ (a fellow swimmer in a silly outfit) around in the water.

LSC placed huge importance on swimming as a fundamental skill and life-saving provision. Drownings were unfortunately common in the late nineteenth century, as many sailors and dock workers had never received formal lessons. As such, the club’s Hon. Sec from 1869, Mr. J. G. Elliott, offered regular and free tuition to children in the City of London Baths.

Unfortunately, like many Victorian swimming clubs, LSC eventually disbanded in the early twentieth century and faded from common memory. We’re here to revive the club and continue its important mission for the twenty-first century swimmers of London.


LSC shares staff with LRDOWS. Alongside Alice, Emma & Rick there's a small but dedicated team of safety and front of house staff.



President lsc
owner lrdows & nowca


We have partnered with The National Open Water Coaching Association (NOWCA) in order to provide our swimmers with the safest possible environment in which to swim. All swimmers are required to wear a NOWCA safety wristband – please ensure you are registered for one before coming for your first swim.

Club Membership
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Club membership is covered by a one-off joining fee and enables swimmers from all over the world to be part of a growing community of like-minded open water swimmers. As well as playing a key part in the historic revival of The London Swimming Club, club members enjoy a host of further benefits: 

- Discounted individual swimming sessions at LRDOWS
- LSC club pin badge and membership card
- LSC club swimming cap
- Access to LSC's online community
- Re-printed copy of original club rules and history booklet
- Club newsletter

Membership packs are currently being finalised and will be distributed in late October. Your membership status will be valid immediately upon payment being received. 

Winter Swim Pass
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The Winter Swim Pass is valid between 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 and enables the pass holder to swim at LRDOWS on an unlimited basis throughout the winter season. Cold water swimming is renowned for its health benefits and we are keen to support our swimmers in their acclimatisation journey. The Winter Swim Pass entitles holders to the following perks:

- Club membership status and welcome pack (value £25)
- Unlimited swimming during LRDOWS winter sessions (thrice-weekly)
- Post-swim hot drink
- Acclimatisation guidance and support for beginners
- Cold water swimming award series

Membership packs are currently being finalised and will be distributed in late October. Your membership status and Winter Swim Pass will be valid immediately upon payment being received.


Please check back in 2017 for full details.


27 Western Gateway, London E16 1FA

The Royal Docks are made up of three large bodies of water in East London: The Royal Victoria Dock, The Royal Albert Dock and the King George V Dock. Club swimming takes place in the Royal Victoria Dock, at the London Royal Docks Open Water Swimming (LRDOWS) venue.

LRDOWS pride themselves in creating a safe environment in which to swim. The water is tested fortnightly in line with EU bathing regulations standards and the NOWCA safety tagging system is used to ensure peace of mind when swimming. 


Contact Us

Please use the form opposite to contact LSC. Alternatively you may email us at: 

Name *

Winter bookings

In order to ensure we're able to stay viable over winter, we ask that swimmers book their session at least 24 hours ahead so we can predict the correct number of staff needed. If you are a winter pass member, simply email us at 

If we receive no bookings, a session will not go ahead. We will post updates here 24 hours in advance as to whether a session is cancelled.

Booking slots will be updated every Sunday for the week following.





Thurs 23rd February Swim Session

This session runs from 7:00–9:00am and you are welcome to arrive whenever suits you within that timeframe. 

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Sat 25th February Swim Session

This session runs from 8:00–11:00 and you are welcome to arrive whenever suits you within that timeframe. 

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Sunday 26th February Swim Session

This session runs from 8:00–10:00 and you are welcome to arrive whenever suits you within that timeframe. 

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LSC Buddy support

New to outdoor swimming?

We understand that swimming outdoors for the first time can be daunting – particularly during winter. Many people don't need a coach, but they could do with a buddy to accompany them during swims and offer emotional, rather than technical, support. So LSC offers just that.

book a buddy

Getting your own buddy is simple: fill out our form below and we'll match you with one of our volunteers. You'll be offered up to four 30 minute accompanied sessions (free of charge, other than the general entry fee) and at the end be offered club membership at a discounted price. 


Want to be a buddy?

becoming a buddy

If you'd like to volunteer your time to help support other people on their swims, please get in touch. We offer guidance on the process and are happy to meet with you in person to discuss the finer details. 


Other than earning serious brownie points with the swimming deities, you'll also receive free LSC basic membership and meet lots of like-minded swimmers.

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