Weston-super-Mare /ˈwɛstən ˌsuːpər ˈmɛər/ is a seaside town
in Somerset, England, on the
Bristol Channel 18 miles (29 km)
south west of
Worlebury Hill and
Bleadon Hill. It
includes the suburbs of Oldmixon, West Wick and Worle. Its population
at the 2011 census was 76,143. Since 1983, Weston has been twinned
with Hildesheim, Germany.
Although there is evidence in the local area of occupation since the
Iron Age, it was still a small village until the 19th century when it
became a seaside resort, and was connected with local towns and cities
by a railway, and two piers were built. The growth continued until the
second half of the 20th century, when tourism declined and some local
industries closed. A regeneration programme is being undertaken with
attractions including the
Pier and an aquarium. The Paddle Steamer Waverley and MV
Balmoral offer day sea trips from Knightstone Island to various
destinations along the
Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary. Cultural
venues include The Playhouse, the Winter Gardens and Blakehay Theatre.
Partly owing to the large tidal range in the
Bristol Channel, the low
tide mark in Weston
Bay is about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the
seafront. Although the beach itself is sandy, low tide uncovers areas
of thick mud, hence the colloquial name, Weston-super-Mud.
These mudflats are very dangerous to walk in and are crossed by the
mouth of the River Axe. Just to the north of the town is Sand Point
which marks the lower limit of the
Severn Estuary and the start of the
Bristol Channel. It is also the site of the
Middle Hope biological and
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). In the centre
of the town is Ellenborough Park, another SSSI due to the range of
plant species found there.
2.1 Early history
2.2 19th century
2.4 20th century
2.5 21st century
12 Religious sites
14 Notable people
16 Further reading
17 External links
Weston comes from the Anglo-Saxon for the west tun or settlement;
super mare is
Latin for "above sea" and was added to distinguish
it from the many other settlements named Weston in the Diocese of
Bath and Wells.
Prior to 1348 it was known as Weston-juxta-Mare ("beside the sea").
The name was changed by Ralph of Shrewsbury, who was the Bishop of
Bath and Wells. Between the 14th and 17th centuries the "super Mare"
part of the name disappeared and it was just known as Weston, although
in 1610 it was recorded as Weston on the More; môr being the Welsh
word for sea.
Plan of Worlebury Camp
Weston's oldest structure is Worlebury Camp, on Worlebury Hill, dating
from the Iron Age.
Castle Batch was a castle that once stood
overlooking the town. The present site has an earthwork mound of 160
feet (50 m) in diameter which is believed to be the remains of a
The parish was part of the Winterstoke Hundred.
The medieval church of St John was demolished in 1824 and rebuilt on
the same site, though a stump of the medieval preaching cross
survives by the exterior south wall. The former rectory is a
17th-century structure with later additions. Though it remains
adjacent to the church, it has not been a parsonage house since the
end of the 19th century. Today it is known as Glebe House and is
divided into flats.
The Old Thatched Cottage restaurant on the seafront carries the date
1774; it is the surviving portion of a summer cottage built by the
Revd. William Leeves of Wrington.
Early in the 19th century, Weston was a small village of about 30
houses, located behind a line of sand dunes fronting the sea, which
had been created as an early sea wall after the
Bristol Channel floods
of 1607. The Pigott family of Brockley, who were the local Lords
of the Manor, had a summer residence at Grove House. Weston owes its
growth and prosperity to the
Victorian era boom in seaside holidays.
Construction of the first hotel in the village started in 1808; it was
called "Reeves" (now the Royal Hotel). Along with nearby
Burnham-on-Sea, Weston benefited from proximity to Bristol, Bath and
South Wales. The first attempt at an artificial harbour was made in
the late 1820s at the islet of Knightstone and a slipway built from
Anchor Head towards Birnbeck Island.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his family lived in Weston, at Swiss Villa
(towards the north end of Trevelyan road), while he was supervising
the construction of the
Bristol and Exeter Railway in the area. With
the opening of the railway in 1841, thousands of visitors came to the
town from Bristol, the Midlands and further afield, on works outings
and bank holidays. Mining families also came across the Bristol
South Wales by paddle steamer. To cater for them,
Pier was completed in 1867, offering in its heyday amusement
arcades, tea rooms, amusement rides and a photographic studio. It is
now in a derelict state and has been added to English Heritage's
Buildings at Risk Register, but visitors can still admire its
structure from behind barbed wire. It was designed by Eugenius Birch
with ironwork by the Isca Foundry of Newport, Monmouthshire. It is a
grade II* listed building.
Large areas of land were released for development from the 1850s
onwards. Large detached villas, for the middle classes, were built on
the southern slopes of Worlebury Hill. Semi-detached and terraced
housing was built on the low "moorland" behind the sea front in an
area known as South Ward. Many of these houses have now been converted
into bedsits. Most of the houses built in the
Victorian era are built
from stone and feature details made from Bath Stone, influenced by
local architect Hans Price.
In 1885, the first transatlantic telegraph cable of the Commercial
Cable Company was brought ashore and the company started a long
association with the town, ending in 1962.
Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy, successfully
transmitted radio signals across the
Bristol Channel in the spring of
1897, from Penarth (near Cardiff) to
Brean Down (just south west of
Weston, on the other side of the River Axe).
A second railway, the Weston,
Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway,
opened on 1 December 1897, connecting Weston to Clevedon. The
terminus station was at Ashcombe Road. The railway was extended to
Portishead on 7 August 1907 but was closed in 1940.
The Mercury Office in Waterloo Street by Hans Price
Much of the character of the buildings in the town derives from the
use of local stone, much of it from the Town Quarry. Notable among the
architects working in the 19th century was
Hans Price (1835–1912).
Many examples of his work are still to be seen: the Town Hall, the
Mercury Office, the Constitutional Club (originally the Lodge of St
Kew), villas and numerous other domestic dwellings. The Odeon Cinema
Thomas Cecil Howitt
Thomas Cecil Howitt is notable for fully retaining many Art Deco
features both internally and externally, and retaining its original
theatre organ, a Compton from 1935. It is believed to be the only
cinema organ in the West Country left working in its original location
and is still in regular use. Other organs by Compton in
Weston-super-Mare can be found at Victoria Methodist Church and All
Saints' Church by
George Bodley (modelled on that in Downside
Local traders, unhappy that visitors were not coming as far as the
centre of the town, built a new pier closer to the main streets.
Opened in 1904, and known as the Grand Pier, it was designed to be 1.5
miles (2.4 km) long. Further development occurred after World
War I, with the Winter Gardens Pavilion in 1927, the open air
pool, with its arched concrete diving board, and an airfield
dating from the inter-war period.
Art Deco influences can be seen in
much of the town's architecture from this period.
World War II
World War II evacuees were accommodated in the town; however
the area was also home to war industries, such as aircraft and pump
manufacture, and a
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force station at RAF Locking. The town
was also on the return route of bombers targeting
Bristol and was
itself bombed by the Luftwaffe. The first bombs fell in June 1940, but
the worst attacks were in January 1941 and in June 1942. Large areas
of the town were destroyed, particularly Orchard Street and the
Boulevard. On 3 and 4 January 1941, incendiary bombs fell on the
Air Ministry set up a "Q-station" decoy at
Bleadon in an
attempt to divert the bombers to an unpopulated area. In the later
part of the war,
United States Army
United States Army troops were billeted in the area,
but they were relocated in the run-up to D-Day.
RAF Weston-super-Mare was opened in 1936 by No. 24 Group, with a
single tarmac runway. It served as a flying candidates selection and
initial training facility, and as a relief airport during World War
II, latterly as the
Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force Staff College from April 1944 to
April 1946. After the war it served as a logistics supply station,
with helicopter makers
Westland Helicopters on site until closure in
1987. Today there is an operational heliport on site used
occasionally by the RAF Search and Rescue service. The former Westland
site, which closed in 2002, houses the
Helicopter Museum featuring
examples of Westland aircraft. Pride of place is given to an
Westland Wessex HCC Mk.4, formerly of the Queen's
Residential areas outside the town centre include the Oldmixon,
Coronation, and Bournville housing estates, built in the mid to late
20th century. Newer housing has since been built towards the east of
the town in North
Worle and Locking Castle, nearer to the M5 motorway.
Weston-super-Mare has expanded to include the established villages of
Milton, Worle, Uphill, Oldmixon, West Wick and Wick St. Lawrence, as
well as new areas such as St. Georges and Locking Castle.
Weston General Hospital
Weston General Hospital was opened on the edge of Uphill
village, replacing the Queen Alexandra Memorial Hospital on The
Boulevard, which was opened in 1928.
A structure known as Silica was installed at Big Lamp Corner during
2006. It is a piece of public art, an advertising sign, a retail
kiosk selling newspapers and hot food, as well as a bus shelter. It
has been criticised by local residents who liken it to a carrot or
a space ship, although it is meant to symbolise man's harmony with the
sea. This was part of North
Somerset Council's ongoing civic pride
initiative that has sought to revitalise Weston-super-Mare's public
spaces, which had suffered a period of decline. Other public space
improvements have been made throughout the town such as improvements
to the street scene in Grove Park Village.
On 28 July 2008, the pavilion at the end of the Grand
completely destroyed by a fire. Eleven fire engines and 80
firefighters could not contain the blaze, which is believed to have
started in the north-east tower of the Pavilion. A competition was
held to design a new pavilion, and the project was awarded to the
winning architect Angus Meek Architects of Bristol. Construction work
began on the pier and new pavilion in 2009, and it was scheduled to
reopen in July 2010, after a £39 million rebuilding programme.
After continuing problems and setbacks, with the pier not opening
until a formal opening ceremony on 23 October 2010, the overall costs
have reached £51 million. During the same period there was a £34
million redevelopment of the promenade, including refurbishment of the
Marine Lake and pedestrianisation of
Pier Square. As part of the work,
a scour protection apron and splash wall were added as part of flood
Around 2000, the town saw a growth in residential drug and alcohol
rehabilitation treatment centres, with attendant crime and social
problems. These problems were highlighted by Weston's councillors and
newspapers, and by the MP,
John Penrose during his maiden speech in
the House of Commons in 2005.
By 2009, Weston was home to around 11% of drug rehabilitation places
in the UK, and North
Somerset council proposed an accreditation system
examining the quality of counselling, staff training, transparency of
referral arrangements, along with measures of the treatment's
effectiveness and site inspections.
Weston-super-Mare town hall
Municipal history began in 1842 when a Local Act was obtained for
"paving, lighting, watching, cleansing and otherwise improving the
Weston-super-Mare in the County of
Somerset and for
establishing a Market therein" under the jurisdiction of eighteen
appointed Commissioners. Town Commissioners gave way to an Urban
District Council in 1894, and then in 1937 the town received its Royal
Charter as a municipal borough. In 1974, under the Local Government
Act 1972, it was merged into the Woodspring district of the Avon
County Council, and became a
Charter trustees town. Weston-super-Mare
regained its town council in 2000, becoming a civil parish. The
Steep Holm is part of the civil parish of Weston-super-Mare.
Before 1 April 1974,
Weston-super-Mare came under the administration
Somerset County Council. When Avon was split up in 1996, it became
the administrative headquarters of the unitary authority of North
Somerset, one of the successor authorities, which remains part of the
ceremonial county of Somerset.
There are 11 electoral wards in Weston.
The MP for the
Weston-super-Mare parliamentary constituency is John
Penrose of the Conservative Party, who won the seat from Liberal
Democrat Brian Cotter (now Lord Cotter) in the 2005 General
Weston is within the
South West England
South West England constituency of the European
Parliament which elects six MEPs using the d'Hondt method of
party-list proportional representation.
Low and high tides
The mainly flat landscape of Weston is dominated by Worlebury Hill,
109 metres (357 ft), which borders the entire northern edge
of the town, and
Bleadon Hill, 176 metres (577 ft) which
together with the River Axe, and
Brean Down at
Uphill form its
southern border. In the centre of the town is Ellenborough Park a Site
Special Scientific Interest due to the range of plant species found
The beach of Weston
Bay lies on the western edge of the town. The
upper part is sandy, but the sea retreats a long way at low tide,
exposing large areas of mud flats (hence the colloquial name of
Weston-super-Mud). The tidal range in this part of the Bristol
Channel is great, and since beach and mud flats are on a gentle slope,
it is inadvisable to try to reach the sea at low tide, as the sand
gives way to deep mud which has often resulted in loss of life over
the years. Driving on the beach is permitted in certain areas, but
occasionally the drivers are caught unawares as they drive too close
to the sea and break through the sand into the underlying mud, and are
The tidal rise and fall in the
Severn Estuary and
Bristol Channel can
be as great as 14.5 m (48 ft), second only to
Fundy in Eastern Canada. This tidal movement contributes to
the deposition of natural mud in bays such as Weston. There has been
concern about pollution levels from industrial areas in Wales and at
the eastern end of the
Bristol Channel; however this tends to be
diluted by the Atlantic waters. There are measurable levels of
chemical pollutants, and little is known about their effects. Of
particular concern are the levels of cadmium and to a lesser degree
residual pesticides and hydrocarbons.
Just to the north of the town is Sand Point which marks the lower
limit of the
Severn Estuary and the start of the
Bristol Channel. It
is also the site of the
Middle Hope 84.1-hectare (208-acre) biological
and geological Site of
Special Scientific Interest.
Along with the rest of South West England, Weston has a temperate
climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the
country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 10 °C
(50 °F). Seasonal temperature variation is less extreme than
most of the
United Kingdom because of the adjacent sea temperatures.
The summer months of July and August are the warmest with mean daily
maxima of approximately 21 °C (70 °F). In winter mean
minimum temperatures of 1–2 °C (34–36 °F) are
common. In the summer the Azores high pressure affects the
south-west of England, however convective cloud sometimes forms
inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. Annual sunshine
rates are slightly less than the regional average of
1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun
recorded at Yeovilton. Most the rainfall in the south-west is caused
by Atlantic depressions or by convection. Most of the rainfall in
autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when
they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is
caused by sun heating the ground leading to convection and to showers
and thunderstorms. Average rainfall is around 700 mm
(28 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to
March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the
lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the
Climate data for Weston-super-Mare, 5 m asl 1981–2010
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: Met Office
According to the
United Kingdom Census 2001, the population of
Weston-super-Mare is 76,143. This makes it the largest settlement
in North Somerset, which has a total population of 188,564. 20.1% of
the town's population are aged 65 or over, compared with the national
average of 16.5%. 96.5% of the population are white, compared with
86% nationally. In 1831 the town population was 1,310, and in
1801 just 138. In 2001, the town comprised 34,441 households,
while in 1829 it comprised just 250. The vast majority (96.5%) of
the population described themselves as white in the 2011 census. 58.2%
are Christian, with 32.4% describing themselves as having no religion.
No other religious groups achieved as much as 0.5%.
Weston-super-Mare beach seen from the Grand Pier, showing the
popularity of the town as a tourist destination on the Easter bank
Since the 1970s, Weston has suffered a decline in popularity as a
holiday destination, as have most British seaside resorts, due to
the advent of cheap foreign holidays and the demise of the traditional
"works holidays" of heavy and manufacturing industries elsewhere in
UK. The town had become a centre of industries such as helicopter
production, and maintenance at the
GKN Westland factory until its
closure in 2002, however the company still retains a design office
under the name
GKN Aerospace Engineering Services at the Winterstoke
Road site. Road transport links were improved with the M5 motorway
running close by, and the town now supports light industries and
distribution depots, including Lidl's distribution centre for its
southern based stores, and is also a dormitory town for Bristol.
Vutrix, one of the largest semiconductor and video/audio distribution
equipment companies in the television broadcasting industry, is based
in the town. Two of the town's largest employers are the local
council and Weston College, which has recently begun to offer
university degrees as a secondary campus of Bath Spa University.
The SeaQuarium marine aquarium on the beach
Weston-super-Mare is a tourist destination, with its long sandy beach,
Weston-super-Mare Museum, Grand Pier,
SeaQuarium aquarium and seasonal Wheel of Weston. A 2009 survey by
England placed the Grand
Pier in the top ten free attractions in
England. However, as of 2014, the pier charges for admission. On
the Beach Lawns was a miniature railway operated by steam and diesel
locomotives, which closed in 2012. The Paddle Steamer Waverley and
MV Balmoral offer day trips from Knightstone Island to various
destinations along the
Bristol Channel and Severn estuary.
Art Deco Tropicana, once a very popular lido on the beach, has
suffered years of neglect. It closed to the public in 2000, and
despite a number of attempts to reopen it, permission was given to
demolish it in 2012.
'International HeliDays', in association with the
are staged at the beach lawns over a long weekend around the end of
July, when up to 75 helicopters from Europe fly in for a static
display. There are frequent
Helicopter Air Experience flights from the
Museum heliport. There is also an annual display by the Red
Since the 1970s the number of visitors staying for several nights in
the town has decreased, but the numbers of day visitors has
increased. In 1995 there were 4 million visitors but by 2005 this
had risen to 5.3 million. In 2007 69% of visitors to the resort
were day visitors, compared to 58% in 2005. The 2005 survey showed
that day visitors stay in
Weston-super-Mare for an average of six
hours whilst overnight visitors stay for an average of five nights.
The largest percentage of visitors (22%) were from the West Midlands.
Weston was found to attract two distinct groups: "grey tourists" over
the age of 60 and families with young children.
Weston Bike Nights are motorcycle meetings on the Promenade each
Thursday during the summer. They are organised by The Royal British
Legion Riders Branch to raise money for the Poppy Appeal.
In July 2011, North
Somerset Council gave planning approval to the
£50 million Leisure Dome, a 210-metre (690 ft) indoor ski
slope to be built on the site of RAF Locking. In 2015 the future of
the project was in doubt because of the need for additional
funding, and no mention of the LeisureDome proposals appear on the
information provided by St. Modwen Properties, the developers about
their plans for Locking Parklands as the site is now
known. It was planned to include a 40-metre (130 ft)
climbing wall, a vertical wind tunnel for indoor skydiving, indoor
BMX track, a health and fitness club, and a number of shops
and restaurants. The ski slope will be the longest in the United
A "toast rack" tram heading into town at Madeira Cove
The 2.9-mile-long (4.7 km) 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in
(1,435 mm) gauge
Weston-super-Mare Tramways network opened on 12
May 1902. The main route ran from Birnbeck
Pier along the sea front to
the Sanatorium (now Royal Sands); a branch line ran to the railway
station and on to the tram depot in Locking Road. The fleet originally
consisted of 12 double deck cars and 4 open-sided "toast rack" cars.
The system was bought out by the competing bus company and closed on
18 April 1937, by which time the fleet comprised 8 double deck and 6
"toast racks". An earlier proposal for the Weston and Clevedon
Tramway to run along the streets of the town to the sea front had
failed to materialise, leaving the line as an ordinary railway with a
terminus in Ashcombe Road.
Weston is close to junction 21 of the M5 motorway, to which it is
linked by a dual-carriageway relief road built in the 1990s. This
replaced Locking Road as the designated A370 route and avoided some of
the traffic congestion along that narrower urban road.
Bristol and Exeter Railway arrived in
Weston-super-Mare on 14 June
1841. This was not the route that serves today's Weston-super-Mare
railway station, but rather a single-track branch line from Weston
Junction, midway between the present day
which terminated at a small station in Regent Street close to the High
Street. A second larger station was constructed in 1866 to replace
this, when planning permission was gained to create a loop station
from the main line. After legal action was taken by residents along
the proposed route new route through issues of planning blight, the
station on the current site was constructed in 1881.
Weston-super-Mare railway station
Today, the station, which is on a short loop off the
Bristol to Exeter
line, is situated close to the town centre and less than ten minutes
walk from the sea front. It has direct services to London
Paddington operated by First Great Western, and also trains to
stations such as Bristol,
Taunton and Cardiff Central.
CrossCountry services run to Birmingham and the North. The station
has two platforms. Other stations are located at Weston Milton and
Worle. During the middle of the day they are served by the local
trains between Taunton,
Bristol and Cardiff, but during the peak
periods London trains call at both stations. Weston Milton station
is on the single track loop and therefore has only one platform, while
Worle is on the main line and has two side platforms. The Weston loop
diverges just to the southwest of
Worle station, and the junction is
therefore known as
Most bus services are provided by First West of England or
Crosville Motor Services. All services call at stops in the Regent
Street and Big Lamp Corner area, including some stops in the adjacent
High Street. Some town services and those to Sand Bay, Wells,
Airport start from or run via the main
railway station. The service to Sand
Bay is sometimes operated by an
open top bus. National Express and
Bakers Dolphin operate long
distance coach services, mostly from the coach terminal in Locking
Road Car Park which is close to the railway station.
The nearest operational airport to Weston is
Bristol Airport, located
15 miles (24 km) away at Lulsgate.
Weston College's Knightstone Campus
Unitary authority of North Somerset, provides support for 78
schools, delivering education to approximately 28,000 pupils.
Infant and primary schools in Weston include: Ashcombe Primary, Becket
Primary, Bournville Primary School,
Castle Batch Primary school,
Christ Church C of E Primary, Corpus Christi Catholic Primary, Herons'
Moor Community Primary, Hutton C of E Primary, Kewstoke Primary, Mead
Vale Primary, Milton Park Primary, St. Georges V.A. Church Primary, St
Mark's VA Church of England/Methodist Ecumenical Primary School,
Walliscote Primary, Windwhistle Primary and Worlebury St. Pauls
C.E.V.A. First School.
Secondary education is provided by Broadoak Mathematics and Computing
College, Churchill Academy, Priory Community School,
Hans Price Academy. The town's main further education
provider is Weston College, and the town's expanding higher education
provision is supplied by University Centre Weston.
In September 2014, the North
Somerset Enterprise and Technology
College (NSETC) opened. From September 2015 it has provided education
to 14- to 19-year-olds and specialises in the STEM fields; science,
technology, engineering and maths.
Nigel Leat, a teacher at Hillside First School, was jailed
indefinitely in summer 2011 for
Paedophile offences that happened over
a 14-year period. The school's headmaster lost his job in December
2011 due to the incident.
The Winter Gardens
The town contains several arts venues. The Playhouse serves both
tourists and the local population. The Winter Gardens on the seafront
hosts shows, exhibitions and conferences. The Blakehay Theatre &
Community Arts Centre is a small venue housed in a former Baptist
church. All Saints Church hosts regular concerts, some of high
national standing. This church is also used for recording, especially
Emerald Ensemble and has featured on BBC TV programme Songs of
The Odeon Cinema was opened in 1935 and is a building in the modernist
style designed by Thomas Cecil Howitt. It houses the only Compton
theatre pipe organ in an Odeon cinema outside London and is one of
only two working theatre organs left in the country still performing
in their original location in commercially operating cinemas. This
Compton organ was installed in 1935 and is the only one left in the
West Country, the next nearest being the Odeon Leicester Square,
London. All other models have been either restored and moved
elsewhere, or destroyed. Occasional organ concerts continue to be
held at the venue. The building has
Grade II Listed
Grade II Listed status.
An illuminated cart passes the Winter Gardens during the annual
Weston-super-Mare has a small number of live music venues of note.
"Scally's" hosts more established touring rock bands, while the
"Back Bar", "The London", and "The Imperial" hold regular open mic
nights which attract a wide array of local musicians, as well as
artists from further afield. The
T4 on the Beach
T4 on the Beach concert had
been hosted annually since 2006, up until 2012, by Channel 4
youth programme T4. Well known bands and singers perform four or fewer
of their hits. However, the vocals are mimed as the event is being
produced for live TV broadcast. Each summer the beach is also
used as the venue for the
Weston-super-Mare Sand Sculpture
The town was the subject of a song "Sunny Weston-super-Mare" performed
by local band The Wurzels. The last scenes of The Remains of the
Day, a James Ivory film of 1993, were shot at locations in the town
including the Grand
Pier and the Winter Gardens.
The Weston Arts Festival takes place each year during September and
October using local venues including the Blakehay Theatre, Playhouse,
All Saints, and galleries and offering a wide range of cultural
Weston is also the final event on the November West Country Carnival
circuit, when a large number of brightly illuminated floats parade
through the streets.
The town's weekly newspaper is The Weston &
which has been serving the population since 1843. It is now owned by
publishing company Archant. There are also two online
publications The Weston Echo, and Weston super Mare People.
Weston Super Television is an on-line community television channel set
up in 2011. Its volunteers make and present studio
programmes, including interviews with local councillers, musicians and
community leaders, as well as filming local events in and around the
The 2011 TV comedy drama series The Cafe was co-written by Michelle
Terry who was born in the town and the series was filmed in
In August 2015 the artist
Banksy opened the temporary art installation
'Dismaland' at the
Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare venue.
The Grand Pier, new pavilion
Pier is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the
town. It previously housed funfair style attractions, a go-kart track,
cafes, a fudge factory, and a host of arcade games, and underwent a
£34 million re-development after a fire in 2008 destroyed the main
pavilion. After a harsh winter which delayed progress, the new
pier pavilion reopened on 23 October 2010.
Weston's first pier, Birnbeck Pier, standing on a small island to the
north of the bay is currently closed to the public. The current
owners, Manchester-based company
Urban Splash purchased the pier in
2006. A competition was held as a means to encourage redevelopment of
the site for commercial use. To date, no firm plans are in place, and
the future of Birnbeck
Pier is uncertain. The pier houses
Weston-super-Mare Lifeboat Station.
The Knightstone complex in 2010
Knightstone Island housed a theatre, swimming pool and sauna,
after having been purchased by the physician Edward Long Fox in 1830
to create a therapeutic spa with range of hot, cold and chemical
baths. After years of disrepair and dereliction, the area has
been redeveloped by Redrow Homes. During 2006/2007, luxury apartments
and commercial outlets have been built on the site. Consideration has
been taken due to the listed building status of much of the site.
Boat trips from here include the Waverley and Balmoral and trips to
Steep Holm and
Flat Holm islands as well as short trips around Weston
The Tropicana outdoor swimming pool that is located on the southern
section of the sea front has not been occupied since 2000. A
private developer, Henry Boot, was selected to redevelop the site with
a new Life Station leisure complex, which was planned to include a six
lane, 25-metre (27 yd) swimming pool, water park, 96-bed hotel,
restaurant, eight-screen cinema, 14 retail units, and a 20-lane
bowling alley. The redevelopment was beset by delays and
controversy. A group of local residents challenged the council
over its decision to appoint Henry Boot, asking to put forward their
own proposals for the site. In November 2009, the plans were
finally abandoned, leaving the future of the site uncertain. In
2010 the council invited submissions from developers for a new, less
ambitious, scheme to redevelop the site with a swimming pool at its
heart. A decision on a new scheme was expected towards the end of
2010. The local authority announced on 23 August 2011 that it was
giving developers six months to propose plans for a smaller
development otherwise they will arrange to demolish the
Tropicana. In February 2013, North
Somerset Council granted
planning permission to a consortium of local businesses who intend to
build a new swimming pool complex on the site.
Grove Park War Memorial
The First World War memorial in Grove Park, containing a sculpture by
Alfred Drury, was unveiled in 1922, with additions by
Walter Cave for
the Second World War. It contains the names of 402 men from the area
who fell in the First World War. It consists of a winged allegorical
figure of Victory holding an olive branch, which stands on an
octagonal column. The memorial is a grade II listed building.
Most of the town's churches and chapels are neo-Gothic 19th century
structures. The Medieval village church of St John the Baptist was
completely demolished in 1824 to make way for a new and larger place
All Saints Church was built between 1898 and 1902 to a design by
George Frederick Bodley
George Frederick Bodley and completed by his pupil
F. C. Eden
F. C. Eden in the
14th century style so favoured by Bodley. It is a Grade II* listed
building. Holy Trinity Church is also Grade II*.
There is a
Greek Orthodox Church
Greek Orthodox Church of St Andrew the Apostle in Grove
Weston-super-Mare A.F.C. play in the National League
South at the purpose-built Woodspring Stadium, which opened in August
There are two rugby clubs in the town;
Weston-super-Mare RFC, formed
in 1875, owned by Jonson Coles and Hornets RFC, formed in
1962. Hornets play in National League 3 [South West], whilst
Weston were relegated from the same league in 2014/15 and now play in
South West One division. These are national level 5 and level 6
respectively in the English rugby union system.
Somerset County Cricket Club played first class and one-day matches
for one week a season on a pitch prepared at Clarence Park, near the
sea front. This began in 1914 and continued until the last "festival"
Weston-super-Mare Cricket Club
Weston-super-Mare Cricket Club play at Devonshire Park
The town is well known amongst motocross enthusiasts for staging the
Weston beach race every autumn. In addition, races are also held for
youth riders, sidecarcross riders and quad bike competitors. The
2008 winner of the Weston Beach Race was ten time World Motocross
Stefan Everts of Belgium.
See also: Category:People from Weston-super-Mare
Notable current and former residents of the town include:
Blue Plaque marking the birthplace of A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl
Alexander of Hillsborough
Aaron Allard-Morgan: Winner of Big Brother 2011 (UK)
A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough: Minister of
Defence in the Attlee government, raised in Weston-super-Mare
Jeffrey Archer: author, politician and convicted perjurer
Jhonn Balance: musician, founding member of
Psychic TV and founder of
Ritchie Blackmore: guitarist and founding member of Deep Purple,
Rainbow and Blackmore's Night.
Peter Christopherson: musician, founding member of Throbbing Gristle
and Psychic TV
John Cleese: actor and member of Monty Python
Jill Dando: murdered broadcaster and journalist, after whom the sixth
form centre at
Weston College and a garden in Grove Park are
Arthur Stanley Eddington: one of the foremost astrophysicists of the
early 20th century, grew up in the town
Daphne Fowler: game show champion
Baron Glanely (William Tatem), ship- and racehorse-owner, died during
an air raid at 16 Malvern Road in June 1942.
Rupert Graves: actor, born and educated in the town 30 June 1963
Bob Hope: comedian and actor, lived there as a child
Sean Martin: writer and film director
Con O'Neill: actor
John Oldmixon (1673–1742): historian; born in Oldmixon
The Revd. Dr
John Polkinghorne KBE FRS: particle physicist and
Hans Price: (1835–1912) architect; responsible for much of the
architecture of the built environment in
Weston-super-Mare and the
distinctive character of the town
Paulo Radmilovic: Olympic gold medal athlete
Gareth Taylor: footballer; born 25 February 1972 in the town
Michelle Terry: actress and writer
Peter Trego: cricketer
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