Bathing machine could be on show


ONE of the most iconic images of the past of Bognor Regis is set to go display.

The 110-year-old bathing machine could soon be seen by the public for the first time in decades.

Local historians in the town want to put the 
wooden seaside structure, probably the oldest in the country, on show.

They have applied for planning permission to create a space in their museum in which to house the historic item.

The application will be considered by Arun District Council and takes into account the West Street location of the museum in a conservation area.

A statement by the Bognor Regis Local History Society’s planning agent, Leeza Aldis-Hobbs, says the scheme would enable visitors to discover the history of the town and view the displays of bygone days.

“The proposed new exhibition space is intended to display a historic Edwardian bathing machine, believed to be the country’s oldest surviving wooden structure.

“Built around 1905, it was originally operated 
by Mr Jenkins to the 
west of Bognor Regis Pier.

“Having been restored, a permanent home is required for this unique piece of local history,” she says.

The local history society wants to convert an outbuilding at its museum, a former pub, into an exhibition space for the bathing machine.

Ms Aldis-Hobbs says: “The existing building has previously been used by the museum for storage of equipment and materials but has, over the years, been left disused.

“It is about 8mX4.5m rectangular in plan and attached to the main museum building by a flat roof link.”

The proposed conversion had been designed to create a visually-appealing addition to the museum buildings, says Ms Aldis-Hobbs, of AMdesign Architects.

The bathing machine was privately owned for decades. Recent years have seen it stored by the town council.

The current museum was opened by the local history society in 2011. It attracts some 10,000 visitors a year.