Photo of bathers on Brighton beach in early 1900s

Trevor Chepstow

This photograph shows bathers in the latest fashion enjoying the bracing waters of Brighton beach in the early 1900's. Bathing in seawater had been popular since the early 1800's when Dr Richard Russell recommended that both drinking and bathing in seawater provided treatment for many conditions, especially diseases of the glands.

In the early days bathers entered the sea by way of bathing machines and were assisted by dippers (for ladies) and bathers (for gentlemen). The most famous dipper of the time was Martha Gunn (1726-1815) who was well known to the Prince of Wales as was her male counterpart John "Smoaker" Miles (1720-1794).

Victorian bathing saw both sexes segregated on the beach and it was a common sight to see men bathing minus costumes!

In the 21st century Brighton still continues to be a Mecca for sea bathing and can even boast its own naturists beach near the Marina at Black Rock.

Photo:Bathers on Brighton Beach

Bathers on Brighton Beach

Photo supplied by Trevor Chepstow

This page was added on 22/03/2006.

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