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Royal Bathing Machine Is Back

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Published at 9:00am 1st June 2012.

If you wonder past the King's Statue on Weymouth seafront today, it may seem like you've stepped back in time!

The historic bathing machine has returned just in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend.

King George the 3rd made Weymouth the first fashionable seaside resort following regular visits to use the bathing carriage in our waters during the early 19 century.

Local engineer Bill Leonard, who runs M&N Electrical and Mechanical Services Ltd on Portland, was appointed to oversee the restoration.

The Queen's wheelwright Mike Rowland and son Greg were given the duty of repairing the wheels and roof of the carriage. They are responsible for maintaining many of the Queen's collection of carriages.

The Rowlands are only the second wheelwrights in the country to be given the Royal Warrant of Appointment by Her Majesty.

Greg Rowland, whose wheelwrights and coachbuilders are based in Colyton, Devon, said: "It is always an honour to work with articles with a royal connection and the bathing machine is no exception.

"Being a warrant holder is the pinnacle of your trade, it's like holding a gold medal."

Andy Blackwood, Brief Holder for Leisure and Tourism at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: "King George III was responsible for Weymouth becoming a top visitor destination in the 19th century, something that still remains the case today.

"I want to encourage as many holidaymakers and residents as possible to come down and view this piece of history.

"There is still some accommodation available locally for the Olympic and Paralympic period and the bathing machine is a great addition to the many unique attractions and landmarks the borough has to offer visitors.

"I would like to thank all those involved in returning the bathing machine to its former glory."

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