Heaton, Edmund Caunce Nowell 'Ted'

Edmund Caunce Nowell ‘Ted’ Heaton (Liverpool)
1872 – 1937

Ted Heaton in 1905 – 1911 made 7 attempts but all failed. On 31/8/07 he joined Wolffe and Stearne who also failed. He was the superintendent of Liverpool Corporation Baths

England to France: 26/7/05 (failed 6h 17m), 5/8/07 (failed 10h 2m), 31/8/07 (failed 10h 5m), 3/9/07 (failed 2h 45m), 27/8/09 (failed 15h 20m), 1/9/10 (failed 15h 43m), 8/8/11 (failed 10hrs 30m).

Born in Everton, Liverpool, the son of the bookeeper for the Liverpool Docks & Harbour Board. He trained as a printer’s compositor, which he worked as from time to time over his life but, by the 1890s, had become a professional swimmer. As well as races and ehibitions, from 1900 he spent each summer season at the Central Pier, Morecombe, as a High-Diving demonstrator. His finale was diving 50ft into a tub with 42″ of water.

In 1891 he is listed as a printer’s compositor of Everton; in 1894 he describes himself as a professional swimmer and compositor of Everton. In 1901 he lists himself professional swimmer of Everton. In 1902, on joining the freemasons, he gives his profession as compositor of Everton

Edmund Caunce Nowell Heaton married Elizabeth Emery at Liverpool in 1890 but she suddenly died in 1892 and he married again to Julia Rolling 1893 Liverpool.

In Juy 1905 he made his first attempt on the channel which brought him national fame and in September 1905 he was appointed Superintendent of the Cornwallis Street Baths by Liverpool Corporation. His wife Julia looked after the Ladies. He and his family moved to Grenville St. in the posh area south of the city centre, just round the corner from the Cornwallis St. Baths. Whilst working at the Baths, he made 6 more failed attempts on the Channel between 1907 and 1911

In 1915 he joined the Sportsman’s Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and became swimming instructor; he returned once again to Dover – “Mr. Ted Heaton, a noted Liverpool swimmer, is acting as sergeant-instructor to the Royal Fusiliers at Dover, and is expected to have them in a short time quite ready for the trenches” reported Punch in February 1916

In the book “The Autobiography of a Liverpool Irish Slummy” by Pat O’Mara 1933 the author says;

“…news item; Ted Heaton’s baths had been closed in Cornwallis Street and his wife had committed suicide. Seeing my surprise, they explained in detail; did I remember the dirty water in the baths – the water that had sent me into a decline? Well, a boy had drowned in the pool and it was so dirty that they had to empty the entire pool in order to locate the body. Ted, the famed English Channel swimmer, had been dismissed in disgrace, after which he opened a pub at the bottom of Duke Street. Here, his wife, smarting under the disgrace, had taken poison.”

This seems to be supported by known facts:- Heaton did leave to run a pub in the 1920s; on 24/6/1923 a group of young men left the baths and noticed one of their number was missing. A search was made and eventually Bert Grisewood, 22, was found dead on the bottom of the deep end. He had not been noticed by any of the fairly large number in the baths; Heaton’s wife Julia Heaton died in 1927

Heaton retired to West Derby village in east Liverpool and died at Southport Infirmary on 19/9/1937

Swims by Heaton, Edmund Caunce Nowell 'Ted'

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