WESTON-SUPER-MARE /ˈwɛstən ˌsuːpər ˈmɛər/ is a seaside town
Somerset , England, on the
Bristol Channel 18 miles (29 km) south
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
Helicopter Museum ,
, Grand 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 (SSSI). In the centre
of the town is Ellenborough Park , another SSSI due to the range of
plant species found there.
* 1 Toponymy
* 2 History
* 2.1 Early history
* 2.2 19th century
* 2.3 Architecture
* 2.4 20th century
* 2.5 21st century
* 3 Governance
* 4 Geography
* 5 Climate
* 6 Demography
* 7 Economy
* 7.1 Tourism
* 8 Transport
* 9 Education
* 10 Culture
* 11 Landmarks
* 12 Religious sites
* 13 Sport
* 14 Notable people
* 15 References
* 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.
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 motte
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
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.
Birnbeck Pier .
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 Channel from
South Wales by paddle steamer . To cater for
Birnbeck 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
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
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 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 Abbey ).
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 town.
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
United States Army troops were billeted in the area, but they
were relocated in the run-up to D-Day . The
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 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 Flight .
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
Uphill , Oldmixon, West Wick and
Wick St. Lawrence ,
as well as new areas such as St. Georges and Locking Castle.
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 Pier was
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 Election
Weston is within the
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
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 of
Interest due to the range of plant species found there.
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
Bay of 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
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
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
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 south-west.
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
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
Weston College , which has recently begun to offer
university degrees as a secondary campus of
Bath Spa University
Bath Spa University .
The SeaQuarium marine aquarium on the beach
Weston-super-Mare is a tourist destination, with its long sandy
Helicopter Museum ,
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 Arrows .
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
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 . The site, which had not
commenced construction as of November 2015 , is planned to include a
40-metre (130 ft) climbing wall , a vertical wind tunnel for indoor
skydiving , indoor surfing, a
BMX track, a health and fitness club ,
and a number of shops and restaurants. The ski slope will be the
longest in the United Kingdom.
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
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
Uphill junctions, 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
Weston-super-Mare railway station
Today, the station, which is on a short loop off the
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
First Great Western , and also trains to
stations such as
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
During the middle of the day they are served by the local trains
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
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
Most bus services are provided by First West of
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
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 , Worle
Community School and
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 ">
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 status. An
illuminated cart passes the Winter Gardens during the annual carnival
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 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 Festival .
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 "> The Grand Pier, new
The Grand 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
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
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
Flat Holm islands as well as short trips around Weston Bay.
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.
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 and completed by his pupil F.C. Eden in the
14th century style so favoured by Bodley. It is a Grade II* listed
building . Holy Trinity Church is also a Grade II* listed building.
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 , 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 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
Stefan Everts of Belgium.
See also: Category:People from
Notable current and former residents of the town include: Blue
Plaque marking the birthplace of A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander
* 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
Jeffrey Archer : author, politician and convicted perjurer
* Jhonn Balance : musician, founding member of
Psychic TV and
Ritchie Blackmore : guitarist and founding member of
Deep Purple ,
Rainbow and Blackmore\'s Night .
Peter Christopherson : musician, founding member of Throbbing
John Cleese : actor and member of
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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