Legal segregation of men and women in bathing areas was in force in Britain until 1901 and to ensure there were no sneaky peeks from the shore, wheeled contraptions were used as both changing room and transport into the water,
This sign depicts a traditional bathing machine, as seen on the beach at Margate until the early 1900s. The invention of this machine is often attributed to Benjamin Beale, a local Quaker and a glove and breeches maker, back in 1750. However, it is probably more likely that his invention was actually a hood attachment for the machine, and not the machine itself. Beal’s hood attached to the sea-facing end of the machine and was lowered to provide extra cover as the bather clambered down the steps to enter the sea.