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About Hornsea


Hornsea is a small seaside resort, town and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England at the eastern end of the Trans Pennine Trail.


According to the 2011 UK census, Hornsea parish had a population of 8,432, an increase on the 2001 UK census figure of 8,243. This number swells in the summer months when holidaymakers arrive in the town. It is well known for its former pottery factory, Hornsea Pottery, which closed in 2000. The largest display of Hornsea Pottery in the world can be seen at the Hornsea Museum. The museum, which is located in Newbegin, the main street of Hornsea, also contains local history exhibits. Opposite stands 'Bettison's Folly', a tower built by a local business man in the 19th century. The tower contains the only fully working retractable flag pole in the country.


The church dedicated to Saint Nicholas was designated in 1965 by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building.


Hornsea has many coastal defences such as sea walls, groynes and beach nourishment. Despite these defences, Hornsea's primarily cliff-based shoreline is eroding at one of the fastest-known rates in Europe. Coastal erosion is very bad at either end of the main esplanade.


Like the larger resorts in the area, (such as Withernsea, Bridlington, Filey and Scarborough), the town has a promenade with shops selling fish and chips, ice cream, bucket and spade sets and other traditional seaside paraphernalia.


Hornsea has an independent lifeboat service provided by Hornsea Rescue, a registered charity since 1994.


Hornsea Mere, a large lake and bird sanctuary, lies near the town and is popular for sailing. Hornsea Mere is a natural lake which was created by glacial movement during the Ice Age. It is the largest lake in Yorkshire.

The Mere is owned by Wassand Hall a fine Regency House in beautiful tranquil surroundings 3 miles from Hornsea. The hall is open to the public on certain days throughout the year.


From 1864 to 1964 Hornsea had two railway stations, Hornsea Bridge and Hornsea Town, on the Hull and Hornsea Railway which connected it to Hull. This line was opened by Joseph Armitage Wade, whose house once stood where Hornsea School and Language College stands today. A cottage close to the school was once visited regularly by Lawrence of Arabia; and Winston Churchill visited, and was photographed in, another house nearby. Other famous visitors to the town are Anne, Princess Royal who opened the leisure centre, and the Victorian novelist Charlotte Brontë. After the railway was recommended for closure by Dr Richard Beeching in his report The Reshaping of British Railways, the trackbed became the final lap of the Trans Pennine Trail. The old railway line is now a well-maintained walking and cycling (bicycles only) trail. It is a very pleasant trail with appropriate stopping points for picnic lunches. On the southern edge of Hornsea (near the site of Hornsea Pottery, closed 2000) is a large shopping centre known as Hornsea Freeport, which was the first shopping centre of its kind in this part of the north-east, adapting the original UK theme park set up by Hornsea Pottery in its heyday.


In 1880, Hornsea pier was opened; it was badly damaged by a ship later that year and demolished in 1897. In the North Sea, 64 miles off Hornsea, a 1,200 MW offshore wind farm is scheduled to open around 2020.



Hornsea sits in the Parliamentary constituency of Beverley and Holderness.



There are three schools in Hornsea, two primary schools and one secondary school. Hornsea Community Primary School, Hornsea Burton Primary School and Hornsea School and Language College.



Hornsea Cricket Club play at the Hollis Recreation Ground, just off Atwick Road. The club currently (2014) run 2 senior Saturday sides. The 1st XI are in Division Two South of the York & District Senior Cricket League. Notable former players include Johnny Briggs (England), and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Worcs).


Hornsea is home to Hornsea Rugby Union Football Club. They play at the Hollis Recreation Ground and nicknamed the 'Hollismen'. They currently play in Yorkshire League Division 6.


Hornsea Town AFC are an amateur football team who also play at the Hollis Recreation Ground. Their nicknames include 'Town' or 'The Seasiders'. Hornsea Town play in The highest league within the East Riding County FA which is the Humber Premier League. Although they have never won this league but they have in fact been runners up, in the 2009/10 season, to Reckitts FC.


Notable People


Joseph Sheard b. 1813 and Mayor of Toronto (1871–72).


Charlotte Brontë spent a short time in Hornsea when she stayed with a former nursemaid who lived at 96 Newbegin, one of the houses in 'Swiss Terrace'.


J. R. R. Tolkien b. 1892, the world-famous author of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and several other literary works about Middle-Earth, spent nearly 18 months in East Yorkshire in the area which author Phil Mathison termed as the 'Tolkien Triangle', with Hull in the west, Kilnsea in the south east and Hornsea in the north east. It was in these areas where Tolkien is said to have created characters such as Lúthien.


Lord Rix of Whitehall in the City of Westminster and Hornsea in Yorkshire, otherwise known as Brian Rix during the 18 years he lived in Hornsea as a child. He lived in Eastgate with his parents, Herbert and Fanny, whose ashes are buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas Church. Brian married Elspet Gray in this same church in 1949.


Sheila Mercier, who starred as Annie Sugden, the owner of Emmerdale Farm for its first 25 years. The second daughter of Herbert and Fanny Rix, and sister to Brian, she appeared in many of his farces at The Whitehall Theatre.


T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) is known to have visited and stayed with his friend Wing Commander Sims at "White Cottage", 3 Eastgate. Lawrence was for a short time connected with the running of the motor-boats kept in readiness to rescue any aircraft crew forced to come down in the sea after practice bombing targets in the bay off Skipsea.


Winifred Holtby lived for a time in Cliff Road.


Adrian Rawlins, the actor best known for playing Arthur Kidd in The Woman in Black (1989) and James Potter in the Harry Potter films currently lives in Hornsea.


Johnny Briggs the former England cricketer played at Hornsea CC.


Christopher G Pickering (1842–1920) was a British businessman and philanthropist. He made his fortune as a merchant and ship owner, particularly in the Kingston upon Hull fish trade. In 1914 he founded a park, almshouses, church and children's home in west Hull. The park and almshouses still bear his name.  He married Rachael Blakestone and moved to Hornsea in 1889 when he bought the Old Hall.  He founded six almshouses in Hornsea in 1908.  He made numerous donations to needy causes and was a benefactor of both St Nicholas Church and Hornsea Cottage Hospital.


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