Victorian chair is restored

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An Eastbourne history enthusiast has spent a year restoring a Victorian bath chair and tried to recreate a photograph on the town’s seafront from 1901.

Chris Wright, who lives near the seafront, bought the bath chair on Ebay for £3.29 a year ago and has lovingly restored it to its former glory.

Chris has an interest in old fashioned wheelchairs - many of which would have been used by the injured veterans of the First World War. He enjoys learning about the history of the chairs and restoring the items.

He said, “This particular bath chair was spotted by my friend who said I should bid on it.

“It was for sale up in Peterborough and I wasn’t too bothered but I did end up putting in a bid for £3.29 and my bid won.”

He explained it was just a chair, frame and front wheel when he purchased it and he had to source the authentic parts by travelling the country and visiting the various steam fairs which take place in the summer months.

Chris believes the bath chair dates back to 1880 to 1890. He has researched the topic and says there were 13 bath chairs in Eastbourne during that period.

He said, “They would be at the station and then they would be used to take people up to the hotels and up to the seafront.

“Back then, people would come to Eastbourne or other seaside towns to recuperate and enjoy the sea air.

“Some people in those times purchased their own bath chairs and had their butler drag them along.”

Since restoring the chair, Chris has contacted Eastbourne Museum.

He said, “I believed they had a bath chair but they haven’t so it looks like I might have the only one in Eastbourne.”

Chris researched bath chairs of the internet and was able to buy some photographs taken in Eastbourne and dated 1907 and 1901. He recreated the shots in this picture on Bolton Road recently at 6am.

Chris has seen a similar bath chair in a private auction priced at £1,600 but he is in no rush to sell.

He said, “I tend to keep the things I restore.”