Dedication to ‘mermaid of Bognor’ planned for pier

Mary Wheatland stood beside a wheel of her bathing machines ENGSUS00120130620134946
Mary Wheatland stood beside a wheel of her bathing machines ENGSUS00120130620134946

A blue plaque honouring a life-saving bathing machine operator could soon be placed on the pier in Bognor Regis.

Mary Wheatland (1835-1924), known as the mermaid of Bognor, not only tended the machines – beach huts which could be rolled into the water – she taught children to swim and saved some 30 lives.

She was recognised by the Royal Humane Society for her bravery.

READ MORE: Remembering the ‘Mermaid of Bognor’

Now Bognor Regis Town Council has submitted a planning application to Arun District Council asking for permission to place the 38cm circular plaque dedicated to Mary on the building which houses the amusement arcade.

According to one local newspaper, Mary used to dive off of the pier but gave it up when she was 71 because she felt she was ‘too old for such feats’. This didn’t stop her from diving from boats to go for a swim.

Mary died  one day shy of her 90th birthday, and her coffin was borne to the church by local fisherman.

To view the application, log on to www.arun.gov.uk and search for BR/184/19/L.