How to Bathe in the Sea, 1880

bathers and woman emerging from bathing machine, labeled "Mermaids at Brighton"

To prepare the skin for the cold sea bathing, it would be well, before taking a dip in the sea, to have on the previous day a warm salt water bath… The bather, as soon as he enters the water, ought instantly to wet his head; this may be done either by his jumping at once from the machine into the water, or, if he have not the courage to do so, by plunging his head without loss of time completely under the water.

Pye Henry Chavasse, Advice to a Wife

So, the bathing machine: you step into a horse-drawn shed in your street clothes, and it conveys you directly into the sea, where you emerge like some kind of aquatic superhero. Yes please. I’m skipping the warm salt water bath, though.