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A brand-new immersive experience by artist Matt Reed.
In association with:
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Mary Wheatland looking out to sea from Bognor Regis Pier


The Bognor Regis Time Portal is a brand-new, free to use, immersive experience created by local artist Matt Reed. 

Using augmented reality technology, the portal allows us to get a glimpse of life in the 19th century, with recreations of the wooden bathing machines that once lined the beach brought back in three dimensions for you to explore. You’ll also meet a life-sized hologram of a Victorian celebrity: Mary Wheatland. 

Mary was a bathing machine proprietor, lifesaver, and swimming teacher who worked on the beach for over sixty years, and she is credited with saving over thirty lives from the sea. She is often called the "Mermaid of Bognor."

In honour of the remarkable role that Mary played in the town's history, this work has been created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of her death in 1924. 

Education is a big part of the project and our actor Vicky Edwards will be going into local primary schools dressed as Mary to deliver fun and educational workshops for the children. We also hope that a lot of them will be able to come to the beach to see history brought to life in a new way, right where it happened.

During the 18 months that the project runs, the hologram will be changed from time to time and Mary will say different things.

Everyone's invited!

We have made every effort to make this experience accessible for everyone, and we hope that as many people as possible will enjoy it. 

You will need a smartphone with a mobile signal to view the augmented reality. The experience has sound, so headphones are recommended at busy times. 

There is also an option to turn on closed caption subtitles. Just tap the CC button on your phone screen during the experience. 

In addition, for those who are blind or visually impaired we have created an audio described version. This has also been transcribed for screen readers. 

Find out more on our accessibility page.

Over the Easter weekend when the portal launches, we will have people on site between midday and 5pm to help those who require a little extra assistance. 

How to use the time portal

Icons of phone scanning QR code

01. SCAN

Scan QR code on information board.

Icon of footprints


Stand on footprints facing the portal.

Icon of phone lining up with portal


Line up the shape in the app to the Portal. Tap to lock in place.

Icon of arrow facing towards portal

04. STEP

Step through the portal to travel back in time.

Map of Bognor Regis with location of Time Portal on the Bognor Regis promenade

How do I get there?

The Bognor Regis Time Portal is situated on The Promenade opposite the Place St Maur, in the middle of the main beach between Butlins and the pier, just to the east of the bullnose.

If coming from the town centre, it can be accessed via the pedestrian crossing, where there is a ramp. 

It is approximately a ten-minute level walk from Bognor Regis Train Station.  The nearest parking is in the Regis Centre car park on the other side of the road, or there is also metered parking on The Esplanade. Local buses stop in the town centre, just a few minutes walk away.

We've made this video to show what Mary Wheatland might get up to when she travels forward in time to modern-day Bognor Regis. She'd probably enjoy an ice cream and a play in the amusement arcades.

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