Baths & Bathing


Bathing Machines and Promenade Pier c.1892

Benjamin BEALE 1750, invented the bathing machine on wheels that could be pulled in and out of the sea by horses – which pioneered sea bathing.
(“Tour through the Isle of Thanet” by Cozens 1793)

“DOVER SEA WATER BATHING in a superior stile” respectfully inform the nobility and gentry resorting to Dover and the inhabitants in general that they have at much labour and expense fitted up PRIVATE HOT and COLD Salt Water.
Baths 4 In a superior manner to any in the county of Kent In which company may bathe at any hour of the day with the utmost confidence. These baths are so ingeniously constructed that by the aid of a pump the water is brought beyond low water mark. Convenient dressing rooms are also provided for each bath with experienced guides. The whole is situated in a very pleasant part of the Bay commanding a delightful prospect of the sea and coast of France. The above undertaking gave the utmost satisfaction to the company who visited Dover during the last summer. And the proprietors flatter themselves they will, upon inspection, be found equal to any on the coast. Prices in the private baths – hot bath 3 shillings, cold bath 1 shilling each bathing. Machines are also provided for such as prefer the open sea, at 1 shilling each. Contracts may be made for the month or for the season if required. In consequence of this undertaking many houses have been fitted up for the reception of company. Chairs are also provided for those ladies and gentlemen who may not chuse to walk to and from the baths.” (Kentish Gazette 6 – 9 April 1790 p.1 col.1)

 Baths 6 Marsh’s Royal Baths,
Amos photo c.1890 Cullen MARSH notice of continuing Royal Adelaide Baths, Dover
(Dover Telegraph 14.2.1846 p.1 col.1) Cullen MARSH, proprietor,
Dover Bathing Establishment and Refreshment Rooms,
Marine Parade
(Dover Commercial List, PO Directory 1878)

Seafront photograph from “Gems of Dover” album published c.1907 by F.J.Parsons. Printed caption says: “Bathing facilities at Dover are exceptionally good. Within a few yards of the shore diving may be freely indulged in without fear of accident. In addition to a good service of bathing machines under the control of the Corporation and the careful supervision of these by an attendant boatman, there is complete installation of swimming and private baths on the seafront. The accompanying illustration shows the sea front baths on right side of picture. Adjoining the baths are the headquarters of the Dover Rowing Club”
Dover Beach Scene c.1925: Privately produced colour postcard which appears to have been hand-tinted after purchase and used as a greeting card sent by a mother to her son named Will. Quite attractively done, but rather ‘heavy;’ and the effect is to make it look as though a large amount of seawater has been trapped behind a sand bank, although in fact this is a 90% pebble beach with a little sand by the Prince of Wales Pier (behind camera man) at low tide.

 Baths 10

Baths 15


Baths 11 Baths 14 1906


Baths 17