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clifton-baths-front.jpg
clifton-baths-front.jpg
In 1796, bathing machines were first used on the foreshore, with the Clifton Baths at the rear. In 1837 the baths were rebuilt in pseudo oriental architecture. They provided swimming facilities; separate for each sex, with hot and tepid baths for the languid.

Nearby, the New Thames Yacht Club (a breakaway from the Royal Thames Yacht Club), formerly Pallister's Hotel, and the Union Yacht Club (with which the New Thames amalgamated) was the centre of considerable yachting activities.  King Edward VII when Prince of Wales and Kaiser Wilhelm 11 were frequent visitors during the Gravesend Yacht weeks.

clifton-hotel-thames-yacht-club.jpg
clifton-hotel-thames-yacht-club.jpg
The Royal Yacht Britannia, built by D.W. Henderson on the Clyde in 1893, was brought round to the Thames and was first raced at Gravesend in April of that year. Seats were provided for visitors in front of the baths where, to quote a chronicler of 1864, 'the convalescent may enjoy an animated view of the river and the scenery of the opposite coast'. At that time this was open marshland, as Tilbury Docks were not constructed until 1886. The New Thames Yacht Club was wound up in the early 1900s and Charles Arkel of Chatham was the last Commodore.