Blackpool’s bathing machine families

Blackpool from Central Pier in 1900, showing the  bathing machines on the beach''

Blackpool from Central Pier in 1900, showing the bathing machines on the beach''

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Blackpool attracted Victorian day trippers initially because of its magnificent beaches

The Victorian craze for ‘taking the waters’ at seaside resorts led to some of Blackpool’s oldest families providing a service to those who wished to take a dip in the sea or even to drink it!

The invention of the bathing machine popularised the fashion for taking an early morning dip in the sea from the relative comfort of a hut on wheels.

Pulled into the sea by a horse and managed by a ‘dipper’ who would immerse bathers, the purpose being to either fight off diseases or to cure them.

Do you belong to one of the families who provided bathing vans for the resort’s Victorian visitors and would you like to tell your family’s story?

College lecturer Keith Myerscoughsays: “I am conducting research into the use of bathing machines from the viewpoint of the workers in that industry.

“If you have any stories to tell about your ancestors I would like to hear from you in order to capture their story.”

Keith can be contacted by email at keith.myerscough@blackpool.ac.uk, by phone on(01253) 893253 or by post at Blackpool University Centre, Sports Studies Department, Bennett Avenue, Blackpool,FY1 4EE.