Published 22nd August 2012
Captain Matthew Webb as most school boys know was the first man to swim the English Channel unaided and really clever school boys remember that in the summer of 1875 it took him nearly 22 hours to swim from Dover to Calais.
Whilst the Channel is only 21 miles wide at this point owing to strong currents Webb swam nearly 39 miles and was stung by jelly fish on the way so if any schoolboy knew that they are far too clever for their own good!
Staffordshire pottery figure: a rather louche looking Captain Webb
His new found fame led him to leave the Merchant Navy and become a professional swimmer unfortunately whilst floating in a tank of water for 128 hours was an easy stunt his new career floundered when he drowned swimming the Niagara Rapids.