In another minute or two, the distant bathing machines
would begin to move, and then the elderly gentlemen of regular habits and sober quaker ladies would be coming to take their salutary morning walks.
Alice had been to the seaside once in her life, and had come to the general conclusion, that wherever you go to on the English coast you find a number of bathing machines
in the sea, some children digging in the sand with wooden spades, then a row of lodging houses, and behind them a railway station.
The rooms were shut up, the lodgers almost all gone, scarcely any family but of the residents left; and, as there is nothing to admire in the buildings themselves, the remarkable situation of the town, the principal street almost hurrying into the water, the walk to the Cobb, skirting round the pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing machines
and company; the Cobb itself, its old wonders and new improvements, with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to the east of the town, are what the stranger's eye will seek; and a very strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better.
In the distance the helter-skelter is visible beyond a row of bathing machines
Across the weekend you can explore the work in unusual spaces and surprising places including baptist chapels; empty shops; shipping containers and Victorian bathing machines
GEORGE CLARKE'S AMAZING SPACES Channel 4, 8pm Back in the Victorian era, bathing machines
were all the rage, capable of hiding a person's modesty while allowing them to enjoy the pleasures of the ocean.
The result, over one packed weekend is a variety of multi disciplines and locations, incorporating buildings (some off limits to the public); the pavement; the promenade; the pier; empty shops; galleries; open studios; the seafront shelters; the bandstand, our very own Victorian Bathing Machines
and even a ski slope and a cave for this year's festival.
Pictures in The Gazette's archives date as far back as the Victorian times when bathing machines
were next to the pier.
Ravilious quite caught the eye last autumn, however, when his 1938 painting Bathing Machines
, Aldeburgh, sold at auction for a little over a quarter of a million pounds.
Alexander Mowat had the monopoly on sea-bathing at the beach and what is now Regent Quay from the 1840s, when fashionable Victorians would preserve their modesty utilising his bathing machines
on the sands.
As for bathing, this spot was well suited to the feeble and infirm since, according to a guide-book, there was a good supply of "well conducted" bathing machines
, while the pebbly beach itself "descends gently into the sea, which is generally clear, and free from weed" (Hyett 12).
This week they learn about theodolites, bathing machines
and the Welsh railway network.