Monday, 3 August 2009

Hornsea Town

Yesterday we popped across to Hornsea Freeport; it’s an outlet shopping kinda place better known by its old name, Hornsea Pottery. Now I must confess, things like this are not my cup of tea but I’m told they’re very good for bargains so despite my aversion to such places we went!

However I wasn’t just lost in shops carrying bags; we detoured via the station, well the disused station. It’s a lovely example of GT Andrew’s work. The large arches over the entrance are particularly pleasing and date from a time when the railway was quite happy show its prosperity. Since closure, after years of dereliction, the station buildings and station house are now converted into flats. Although for enthusiasts it is a shame to see buildings no longer fulfilling their original role it is pleasing that we haven’t lost these buildings forever.

I would have loved to have seen the line in operation; especially a summer Saturday when it played host to all sorts of excursions. Incidentally these trains would have passed through our own Botanic Gardens. The passengers from these trains would only have had a short walk from their train to the seafront and no doubt this would have been quite an attraction in itself. Recent work in connection with The Trans-Pennine Trail around the station has seen a nice link to its past appear -

I have a soft spot for Hornsea; I had a three month work placement in the town and I have to say the town wasn’t quite what I expected – previously I’d only seen it a handful of times before. Although the placement wasn’t a particularly happy time for me I did take solace in exploring parts of the town and what remained of the railway. This last point and reading about the history of railways in the vicinity of wherever I am or have been is a common theme for me – this is why recently I’ve delved into background to Rawcliffe station and other railways nearby as I have passed by the locations so many times. Making discoveries, even if only from books, can be a very satisfying pastime!

The suits for the wedding came from Hornsea once we discovered one well known company had a branch at Freeport – we figured it might be easier for everyone going there rather than into to Hull or York, how wrong we were! It could be a long story but one thing which beautifully illustrates the problems we had was one of my best friends only trying on his suit for the first time on the morning of the wedding!

Anyway, this process meant we often travelled between Hull, where Suzi’s parents live, and Hornsea. If you live in the Beverley area this route is not one you would often take. However, if you do, there are a few gems just waiting for you! One is Whitedale Station which was an intermittent station on the Hornsea line and will have lead a much quieter life than Hornsea Town did. That station is in very good condition and still looks very much like a station too! Sadly one building has disappeared now, I presume that it may have deteriorated significantly; the goods shed was a small wooden building with a slate roof and I’m very pleased I took photos of it last year though sadly only two. It still displayed its North Eastern Region blue and white paint, albeit it patchy and faded.

It just goes to show what you can quite easily find if you’re prepared to go off the beaten track, even if only slightly. Sometimes I think enthusiasts do get a little too obsessed with just locomotives – I think plenty of people are actually just ‘locomotive enthusiasts’ rather than ‘railway’ enthusiasts. Sadly these people will miss out some of the real gems that survive deep in the country or even down back streets in towns and cities.


  1. I really enjoyed this post. I wish more people would go around photographing railway buildings and infrastructure! You have come up with a couple of structures recently that I felt I wanted to make models of...could be dangerous to my productivity, but it's great. Whilst many structures round here in Wet Wales have been saved, like the French rennaisance building at Welshpool (turned into a tacky retail ghetto) others will be lost. I'll begin to follow your example when wandering about, and take me camera!

  2. I wholeheartedly endorse your comments and those of Iain. In my travels around the country, I often see signs of long abandoned railway track beds. It is interesting to get home and read up about their history, as well as trace former routes on Google Earth, as track beds show up remarkably well. Thanks for this fascinating post, and good luck for your new arrival in the future! Martin.