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16 October 2014
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Harland & Wolff -
the nude swimmer

There are countless tales of the 'goings on' through the years in the Harland and Wolff. Seemingly the shipyard harboured more talent than it paid for! often not.

The Shipyard

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Article contributed by Davy Wilson - (2005)

The photo below used to be the Musgrave Channel, where the launched ships would be towed & made fast to one of the many jetties. Store rooms lined the north side of the channel.

In the late 50's & early 60's we had 40 minutes for lunch. On summer days the men would sit with their backs against this wall & watch "Dick", the nude swimmer entertain them.

Belfast's Musgrave Channel at H&W
The Belfast Musgrave Channel

 

Most of the lunch-time was spent bantering Dick. He had a whole repertoire of tricks, cartwheel, floating on his back & his "piece de resistance".... wait for it,he would climb up a ship's hawser as far as his age would let him & then he would let go, to tumultuous cheers. He thrived on this.

He wasn't a young man - in his 50's I would guess. What made him mad was when he was floating somebody would shout "hey Dick! @#$@*floats too!!".

Dick's response was "come on down here & say that to my face". The crowd egged them on something shocking, all in good fun.

This was in the musgrave channel, which was a back water. Because of this the water never circulated & there where all sorts floating. I'll leave that to your imagination.

All the best - Davy Wilson

We might have another reference to the mystery swimmer


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