Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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260               Old Memories of East-Boimie. [Chap. XIX.
pleasant promenade both for the pedestrian and equestrian; and here is an abundance of sociables, and pony and donkey chaises for the accommodation of invalids. Parties enjoying aquatic excursions may be much gratified with good boats, conveniently fitted up, and conducted by men who have a thorough knowledge of the tides, and are well versed in nautical skill; they are likewise much respected for their civility."—(p. 14.)
Sea-bathing at East-Bourne is supposed to date from about the year 1802 or 1803. The story goes that there lived at the Old Town a doctor named Gibbs—of high reputation in those days, and with a large practice, the latter statement depending on the fact that there was no other medical practitioner nearer than Lewes or Hastings. He quitted his house at the Old Town for one which he built in South Street; after that, building others at the seaside on the Marine Parade. He is said to have been the first to appreciate the value of sea-bathing, and to have designed the first bathing-machine, for the use of his son. When this was wheeled down from the Old Town, it and he were followed by a crowd of people, who said that the doctor had built a box in which to drown his son. Sure and certain it is, that having regard to the inartistic architecture of the existing bathing-machines, one can well believe that the original design was more than 100 years old; indeed, that the original design was borrowed from Noah's Ark. As a boy, I did not like sea-bathing, and it was not until I was 16 that I ever took to it. But since 1857, I think, I have never missed a single year at East-Bourne, always trying to keep up an average of 1 bathe a week as far as possible. Of course, sea-bathing does not agree with everybody, but it always suited me; and at the end of seasons in which I have been able to obtain as many as 20 bathes, I have always felt freshened up in a remarkable degree. Strips of carpet used to be provided in the East-Bourne machines for bathers to stand upon, but they have long since disappeared.
A Fancy-Dress Ball.
The only one I remember in East-Bourne, or at any rate ever went to, was given by Mrs. J. H. C. Coles, the
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