#13 - Carrie Hamilton / Hampstead Ladies Pond / 1995 / 2013
As a big fan of the Ladies Pond myself, and the site of many sticky memories of my own, I was keen for this rather magical corner of Camden to be included in this project. And through contacts, Kaajel found Carrie Hamilton, who moved to London from Canada twenty years ago, and has swum at the Kenwood Ladies Bathing Pond ever since.
Until two years ago, Carrie was, like most Hampstead Pond users, a summer time only swimmer. Her memories were of groups of friends, long summer afternoons, trying to find some shade. But then she started swimming year round. And she told me how her interaction with the place, and with the other people who swim there, has changed as a result of her winter swims.
It was absolutely chucking it down with rain when we met. I was pretty much soaked by the time I got to the pond, having walked from Gospel Oak. But it worked out ok for us as it meant we could film without other people being in it.
The video was made of the walk that Carrie does from the bike park to the changing rooms, to the pond. And the encounter ended with not only her having a swim, but also me. I was lent a cossie and a towel and given lashings of encouragement from Nicola and her colleague - as well as from Carrie. And stayed in the water a full 8 and a half minutes or so! But it was great.
Many thanks to Kenwood Ladies Pond Association, Nicola Hurley and Paul Jeal at Hampstead Lido for granting us permission to film at the pond.