Martha Gunn – The Old Brighton Bather


Aquatint, no artist or engraver named, published by Morris & Co, c1810.

Born in 1726, Martha ‘dipped’ from around 1750 until ill health forced her retirement in 1814. She died in 1815 and was buried in St Nicholas churchyard. She was possibly the most famous of the dippers, certainly the most famous in Brighton, and lived at 36 East Street, in a house that still stands. Martha Gunn was said to be a favourite of the Prince of Wales and had free access to the royal kitchens. The Morning Herald described her as ‘The Venerable Priestess of the Bath’.

Illustrated in J G Bishop’s A Peep into the Past: Brighton in the Olden Time, published by Bishop, 1880, illustrated on page 222.

Images of Brighton 133

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