Joseph (Joey) Nuttall, 1869-1942 -The Stalybridge Lightening Merman
Civil unrest in Stalybridge: 1812-The Luddites attack, 1842-Plug Riots & the General Strike, 1863-Bread Riots, 1867-Murphy Riots. By the winter of 1862/3 there were 7,000 operatives unemployed in the town due to the American Civil War (Cotton Famine, 1862-66). Bread Riots, 1863
The Protestant Work Ethic is a theoretical concept which suggests that "work will set you free", that "labour liberates ("Arbeit macht frei" ). In 1857 Stalybridge adopted the motto, Absque Labore Nihil, which boldly states to mill worker operatives that Without Labour, Nothing. Stalybridge Jubilee, 1857-1907
Robert Platt, a local mill owner and philanthropist, provided the baths as a gift to the town at a cost of £7,000 with an annual sum of £100 to be paid in aid of their maintenance.
A typical gala would have handicap races for club members only and invitation races open to anyone (both amateur and professional). All races would have prizes in the form of medals/trophies and some would have financial rewards. A exhibition of ornamental swimming and/or a game of water polo would usually end the entertainment provided at the gala. Baths, private or public saw the gala as a useful means of income generation. Tyldesley Baths Swimming Gala, c1890
Aquatic entertainment s in swimming baths developed from the need for swimming instructors/professors to earn a good living. The provision of ornamental and scientific exhibitions of swimming ensured a prosperous living for such professors and their families.
Joseph (Joey) Nuttall: Amateur Swimmer, 1881-1888. Won his first competitive race aged 12 in 1881 and his last aged 19 in 1888. The Ulph Cup
Monday, October 08, 1888 On Monday, October 08, 1888 Joeys amateur career came to an ignominious end at the 220 Yards Amateur Championship race at Lambeth Baths. Source: Stalybridge Reporter, The 220 Yards Swimming Championship, Saturday, October 13, 1888, Col. 7, 5.
Joseph (Joey) Nuttall: Professional Swimmer, 1888-1905. Joey won his first professional race with ease in 1888 – he was a feared opponent throughout the world. In 1904 he raced in the USA and won a gold medal (inset) to the value of $450.
Joey Nuttall appeared on the aquatic entertainment circuit whilst still speed swimming for prize money and wagers.
In 1894 Joey was appearing for the season (Easter to September) at the Blackpool Tower with an Exhibition of Fast Swimming.
As a professional swimmer Joey plied his trade throughout the country as a fast swimmer in open and closed water. He had established 19 world records indoors from 1888-1902 and a further 10 world records from 1890-1893 in open waters. Coach: Alfred Ferrand
Joseph Nuttall, Champion Swimmer of the World, is buried in Layton Cemetery in an unmarked grave. His final resting place is recorded simply as FF399.