Saturday, 6 February 2010

Queen Victorias bathing machine

Queen Victorias bathing machine in the grounds of Osbourne House.

One of the guides there told me a funny story. Victoria was interested in swimming so she hired a lady from the local town of Cowes to come and teach her how to swim. The bathing machine was specially built for the Queen. On one of her first forays into the art of bathing the Queen was being rolled, in this machine, down to the waters edge. She was getting changed inside at the time. One wheel hit a rock and the bathing machine was jolted. Apparently Queen Victoria shot out of the door, stark naked, and fell heavily on the stony beach . She broke her arm. The servants got an eye full and the bathing machine was redesigned. Instead of the door opening outwards, it was made to open inwards. The Queen, a hardy old bird, continued her swimming escapades once she had fully recovered. She wasn't one to give up, even over an excrutiatingly painful moment and a humiliating incident like this.


  1. I love the canopy/awning on the front of the bathing machine. Was that for women who decided not to venture any farther than the steps?

  2. How cool! I have only seen one of these in the old movie, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Rex Harrison. It's neat to see an actual one, and one of a Queen no less! Thanks for posting :)

  3. Hi Tony, I posted a note on (a fan fiction site) about your blog, and here is one comment about the ivory miniatures "I, too, took a peek. Great site. Love the pictures. I thought that they would have to rough-up the ivory before painting on it, but, would what would make someone think to use other items:

    Since it is difficult to use watercolour on ivory, miniaturists learned to prepare their paint by using more gum arabic to make it stickier. They also discovered that adding the liquid from the gall bladder of a cow or bull made the watercolour flow easily. This allowed greater freedom when using the brush.

    I just had to laugh wondering what would cause anyone to think of the liquid from the gall bladder of a cow or bull...notice not a pig or a sheep? Just struck me as funny....icky but funny! Sandy"