History Of Hoylake
Hoylake in 1910
A project to collect more information on the history
of Hoylake is ongoing- see History Project for
details about them.
A brief History
of the Wirral area
- Stone-age and
bronze-age artefacts have been found on the Hilbre Islands in the Dee
establishment of a legionary fortress at Chester by the Romans around 76 AD.
- A large quantity
of fibulae and other Roman artefacts have been found on Great Meols beach
(suggesting a Romano-British settlement lost about a mile offshore).
- The settlement
of Norwegian Vikings from Dublin under Sigamund in 902 AD, with the
agreement of the Aethelfleada, the lady Mercian ruler. (A few years later,
the Vikings repaid the favour by (unsuccessfully) attacking Chester.) The
remains of a ship, possible Viking, were found underneath a public house
in Great Meols in 1938 when the pub was rebuilt and await archaeological excavation.
- The possible site
of the Battle of Brunanburh near present day Bromborough. The Mercian
ruler Athelstan defeated a combined army of Vikings and Picts in 937 AD in
one of the bloodiest battles of English history.
- Liverpool castle
built in the 1230s (later demolished in the early 1700s). Liverpool grew
from a small port to the second most important port of England from the
middle of the 17th century. The Atlantic Slave Trade
contributed greatly to its prosperity.
- A railway tunnel
was built under the Mersey to connect Birkenhead with Liverpool in 1886.
In 1934, a road tunnel was built between Birkenhead and Liverpool. In 1971,
a second road tunnel was built, this time between Wallasey and Liverpool.
The Setting and
a short History of the town
the help of the Hoylake & District Civic Society with additional material
supplied by Heather Chapman and Al Green.
Hoylake is situated on the north-west coast of the
Wirral peninsula, facing Liverpool Bay. So it is wide open to the force
of the Irish Sea whose winds and waves have shaped the coastal landscape of the
area. Its location and the maritime environment has coloured its history. On
shore, the movement of sand has led to the formation of a line of sand dunes,
stretching from West Kirby to New Brighton. It was probably these sand hills
and the hollows between them that were the origin of the name Hoose.
Medieval documents refer to Holes, le Holes and Hose.
Strong waves and
tidal currents have caused the formation of offshore sandbanks. These are
covered by the sea at high tide but dry out as the tide ebbs, creating areas of
sheltered water in their lee. One such sheltered roadstead developed behind the
Hoyle Bank, acquiring the name Hyle or Hoyle Lake. Though
the lake has now silted up, it was originally an important anchorage and its
name has persisted in the place name, Hoylake.
settlement of Hoylake once formed part of the ancient parish of West
Kirby, which comprised the eight townships of Caldy, Frankby, Grange, Great
Meols, Hoose, Little Meols, Newton cum Larton and West Kirby, and part of the
township of Greasby. Hoylake grew out of Hoose but has extended to
include parts of both Great Meols and Little Meols on each side.
Hoylake started as
a fishing and farming community but inevitably time has wrought change. As
transport links improved from the Victorian period onwards, it became quite
popular as a holiday-making destination. It is now mainly a commuter
of Hoose c.1844.
The township occupies a narrow strip of land running between the Birket and
1086 Little and Great Meols are both
mentioned in Domesday Book.
For years, Hoose received little mention in
official records. Members of the local community earned their living from
farming and fishing or on board ship. They built their dwellings from local materials
and with the exception of a few mariners, never ventured far from home. Then in
the late 17th century, the Highlake hit the national
1689 James II landed in Ireland. In
response, a large army was assembled under the Duke of Schomberg. It
camped at Neston before embarking from Highlake in about 100 vessels
and landing in Ireland on August 13th.
1690 Reinforcements assembled. The army
camped on the Wallasey Leasowes. Officers were billeted locally. William III
stayed at Gayton Hall before embarking for Ireland where he defeated the former
James II at the Boyne.
1699 Liverpool became an
independent customs authority, separate from Chester. Shortly after this
Customs Officers were stationed at Hoylake.
1721 The Liverpool Quarantine
Lazarette hulk moved from the Sloyne to the Hoyle Lake.
1724 Highlake described by Daniel
Going down from Chester, by the Rhoodee,
coasting the river after it is grown broader than the marshes; the first place
of any note which we come to is Nesson, a long nase or ness of land, which
running out into the sea, makes a kind of a key. This is the place where in the
late war in Ireland, most of the troops embark'd, when that grand expedition
begun; after which, the vessels go away to Highlake, in which as the winds may
happen they ride safe in their way
till the wind presents for their
(Daniel Defoe: Tour Through the Whole Island of Great
Britain, 1724 1727)
1762 Liverpool Town Council agreed
to build a pair of Lighthouses at Hoylake. An Act to erect lighthouses
and other lights at the mouth of the harbour was enacted in August 10th 1762.
1764 Two Lighthouses standing in
1765 The Lower Lighthouse at
Hoylake burnt, July 15th.
1766 The Liverpool Pilotage Act
established the Liverpool Pilot Service with some of the pilots being based at
Sea Bathing becomes popular from the end of
the 18th century.
1792 The Royal Hotel was built by
Sir John Stanley of Alderley.
1794 The Gentlemans Magazine describes
the Hoyle Lake as A safe road for vessels of any size
highest tides and most boisterous gales.
1801 Census Population of Hoose 60. The
19th century sees the area grow.
1803 Hoylake Lifeboat Station
founded by Mersey Dock Board.
1810 Lifeboat Disaster, 22nd
December. The lifeboat, manned by local men, responded to a ship called The Traveller,
which had been driven on shore in the Mersey. While going to its rescue the
lifeboat was overwhelmed by the sea and 8 of the 10 crew were drowned.
1812 The manor, and the greater part of
the township of Hoose bought by John Timothy Swainson, (1756 1824)
formerly collector of the Customs of Liverpool. The Swainsons house was known
by them as The Vale House but later called The Dale.
1812 Hoose Manor Court met 29 Oct.
1813 Map of Highlake (Little Meols)
produced showing hotel, lighthouse & buildings.
1826 Turnpike Act enabled road to
Hoose to be improved.
from the North Wales Chronicle of September 30, 1830 showing Steam Packet
Boats were calling at Hoylake
mentioning Hoylake Races from The York Herald & General
Advertiser, November 6, 1830
1831 Census : 196 in Hoose, 198 in Great Meols, 126 in Little
1833 Holy Trinity Church built on
land adjacent to Trinity Road and donated by Mrs. Betty Swainson, was
consecrated on November 1st. A Parsonage House was also built.
1836 Hoose School opened on land
formerly part of Parsonage Croft.
1847 Horse racing starts on the
1865 Hoylake Lighthouses (Upper
and Lower) rebuilt.
1865 Stanley Hotel opened.
1865 Railway from Wallasey docks
reached Hoylake; opened for traffic June 18th.
1869 Formation of Liverpool Golf Club.
Club room at the Royal hotel.
1870 Railway line seized by bailiffs and
closed July 8th.
1872 Hoylake Railway reopened to
Docks Station (Birkenhead North) August 1st.
1874 The first Congregational
congregation met using a rented chapel.
1877 The Hoylake and West Kirby Gas
and Water Company Ltd formed and acquired site for gasworks and gasometers
in Carr Lane.
1878 Railway extended beyond
Hoylake to West Kirby.
1884 First Congregational Church
opened, 30th October.
188485 Hoylake Volunteer Fire Brigade
purchased a Merryweather London Brigade Manual Fire Engine.
1888 Railway extended from the
Docks Station to Birkenhead Park (where the change could be made to the Mersey
Railway for Liverpool).
1891 Hoylake School founded in
1894 West Kirby and Hoylake Urban
District Council established (1897 renamed Hoylake and West Kirby District
1895 Royal Liverpool Golf Club
clubhouse opened on Meols Drive.
1897 Lifeboat Station rebuilt by
1897-99 Promenade built.
1898 New Methodist Church opened
on corner of Alderley Road.
1898 New Town Hall and District
Council Offices opened in Market Street.
Hall in 1900
1899 Hoylake Promenade opened.
1899 St. Hildeburghs Church
Hildeburghs Church in construction
1904 Kingsmead School founded.
1905 No. 86 Church Road, (Trinity Road)
leased for use as a 'Fishermans Bethel or Mission House'.
1906 New Congregational Church
opened 18th May.
1909 Meols Parade Gardens opened.
1909 Hoylake Parade School for
Higher Primary pupils opened for enrolments.
1910 Queen Victoria Memorial Cottage
Hospital building opened. (Later taken over by the NHS then saved from
closure and named the Hoylake Cottage Hospital. Now simply The
1911 Lighthouse Pavilion Picture House
opened. (Later renamed The Winter Gardens.)
1913 Hoylake Open Air Baths
1914-18 World War I.
1915 The Chalet, St Margarets
Road, opened as an auxiliary hospital to care for military personnel.
1915 The Kingsway Picture House
opened on July 10th. Munition Factory set up in an existing garage near to
Hoylake Station in October.
1921 The YMCA took over Hoylake
1922 Lower Lighthouse demolished. Hoylake
and West Kirby War Memorial unveiled.
1928 The foundation stone for St.
Catherine and Martina RC Church opened.
1931 Opening of the newly refurbished Hoylake
1933 Hoylakes first Public Library
opened in Hoylake Town Hall in February.
1937 The first Deaf/Blind School
in England opened at Fellowship House (the crenelated building on the corner of
Trinity Road with the promenade).
1938 Railway electrified and
Hoylake station rebuilt- now direct trains to Liverpool. New Police Station
in Queens Road opened.
1939-45 World War II.
1940 Congregational church hit by incendiary
bomb and damaged by fire.
1958 The Royal Hotel demolished.
1959 Melrose Hall opened.
1960 The Kingsway Cinema closed.
1972 Hoylake Congregational Church
became a United Reformed Church with the union of Congregational and
1974 Abolition of Hoylake Urban District
Council with its functions incorporated within the newly-formed Wirral
Metropolitan Borough Council.
1976 Hoylake Baths closed by the Council
but reopened by the Hoylake Pool and Community Trust for a further six
1978 New building for Holy Trinity CE
School opened on a new site.
1979 West Kirby Grammar School for
Girls temporarily uses the empty building of the Holy Trinity CE School
for its first year pupils (until 1986).
1979 Wirral Horn Arcade created
within The Kingsway Garage building.
1984 Hoylake Baths demolished.
1986 Hoylake YMCA demolished.
1987 Hoylake URC Church
congregation joined with St. Andrews Church in Meols. Hoylake URC Church
taken over by The Chapel congregation.
1989 Hoylake Parade School
building threatened with demolition. School saved by the local community
petitioning the Council.
1991 Joint Management Committee formed to
run a Hoylake Community Centre in the old building of the Hoylake Parade
2008 New Lifeboat Station built on
a new site.
2013 Council hands over the running of
the Hoylake Community Centre to a trust.
HISTORY PROJECT: Can you
remember what Hoylake used to be like, its lost buildings, its characters and
what changes have happened to it since? Helen Penny would like to record
people telling her their memories. These audio recordings will build up into
a descriptive archive of Hoylake. If you can spare some time, to share your
history & connections with Hoylake, please contact Helen on 07914444610.
last updated/checked 31/10/15