Poole Herald, 25th March 1964
A reproduction of the original article by Benjamin Pond
So the nudists are again in the news. No wonder that Studland people are concerned. Of course if we were a tribe of natives in a very hot climate and all went in the nude, I suppose it would not be embarrassing at all.
It is when you get a few absolutely naked individuals wandering around that real embarrassment is caused.
Why should the great majority be subjected to seeing the undressed torsos of the few?
Nudists nearly caused a local paddle steamer to run aground, more than 50 years ago.
It was like this. The year was 1912 if my memory is not at fault, and the month was September, when a party of girls rowed down to Shell Bay several evenings in succession (the tide serving) and bathed in the nude at the point where the Training Bank has since been built.
This point is inclined to jut out into the fairway, thus any shipping often passes quite close to the shore.
Back in those days, the old pleasure steamer “Lord Elgin” would leave Bournemouth Pier about 6 pm on its usual single trip to Poole, the fare was only sixpence.
Usually only about a dozen passengers were carried.
This steamer would pass close to the shore where these girls were disporting themselves in the water, only some 40 yards away.
The news soon spread around the Bournemouth districts of something more than mere mermaids to be seen on the evening sixpenny trip. Came three trips, one after another, the boat being crowded with young fellows armed with cameras and field glasses.
As the vessel passed this entertaining sight (all included in the sixpenny fare) there would be such a list to port and at a most dangerous angle, that the Captain had to order the ship to be re-trimmed.
In fact, on the third evening, the list was so bad that the rudder became useless and the ship sheered straight for the shore.
The alarmed lasses made a dash for the sandhills, just as the Captain gave orders “hard astern,” much to the dismay of his passengers who were thinking that it would not be such a bad thing to be shipwrecked after all.
But a series of cold nights and adverse tides brought these events to an end.
Now today the nudists will not be in view from any shipping, they may possibly be allotted an area nearer to Studland. Anyway these days you can always hire a helicopter