6th August 1934
Nude sunbathers sentenced to eight days’ hard labour
The law over public nudity can be difficult to understand. Although there are no laws specifically outlawing being naked in public, nudists may be prosecuted if they cause offence. Thus, it would be possible to be naked on a secluded beach, minding your own business, and end up breaking the law simply though the fact that someone else came into view, even if you were unaware that they were present.
Jersey doesn’t have any designated naturist beaches, but this hasn’t stopped some bathers stripping off over the years. In 1934, the Northern Whig reported that “two girls whose only apparel when bathing at Portelet, Jersey… consisted of caps and shoes were… each fined £3 or eight days’ hard labour for bathing in the nude”.
The girls, both in their early 20s, were artists models who had travelled to Jersey from London, and had been spotted by a local who had watched them come out of the water, naked, and pose for a man who had taken their photo. They later claimed that they didn’t know the photographer but thought the photo would be a nice reminder of their trip. The photographer claimed not to have realised that they were close enough to the camera to be seen in the photo. His film was confiscated.
In 2007, the BBC reported that “in a non-scientific poll of more than six hundred people, 85% were in favour of designating one of Jersey’s beaches for naturists, compared with just 8% who were against it (the remaining 7% didn’t mind either way)”.
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Other events that occured in August
Plane is washed into the sea during Jersey take-off
- Passengers on a plane heading for London were saved by bathers when the aircraft was caught by the rising tide at West Park Beach.
- Read more…
Parliament debates Jersey’s treatment of prisoners of war
- A Conservative MP in London was concerned that Jersey might have been treating German PoWs too leniently during the First World War.
- Read more…