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Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine

The harsh English winters had played havoc with Queen Victoria's bathing machine. Displayed on the beach at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight it is exposed to the rigours of any storms and gales. Her diaries record that she first used the bathing machine and indeed bathed in the sea for the first time in July 1847. The queen's modesty was preserved by the curtained off veranda at the front so she could enter the sea concealed from all and sundry. Much of the wooden walls and some internal stud work were rotten and needed replacing. Our carpenter/cabinet maker carefully assessed and chose suitable replacement timber [these days normally used in saunas and steam rooms] in order to withstand the rigours of beach installation. All individual pieces of timber were then sealed and primed prior to being being put back together. Wherever possible the original timbers and metal work were carefully conserved with every care taken to remove any signifiant decay. Particular care was taken in the choice of replacement timbers, preservatives and coatings to maximise the longevity of this piece of unique history.

The perfect place for a regal swim!  The beach by Osborne House on the Isle of Wight was a popular place with the Queen and her family.  Prince Albert believed in the health giving properties of sea bathing so a bathing machine was installed to protect the queen’s privacy and dignity whilst she was in the sea.  The ‘machine’ had a private changing room and flush toilet with steps down to  private space where Victoria could enter the sea.

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