Sunday, 14 October 2012

Bright and Breezy Mere

Looking west along the Hornsea Mere
 I met up with good friends Barry and Shirley Ann  Chessman today in Hornsea, their home town on the east coast of East Yorkshire. It's just over half an hours drive away on a good day so I visit as often as I can but not often enough. Hornsea is a lovely little town, quite compact and self sufficient and although the railway was closed down many decades ago, roads to Hornsea aren't too bad considering they are rural.

Like most coastal resorts in Victorian days, Hornsea was very popular indeed and on good weather days, it still attracts many visitors and it has a local market on a Sunday which brings people in. In some ways, I suppose I have an affinity with Hornsea because I have ancestors who come from that part of the county. The local family names were Usher and Hillerby and there is a Hillerby Lane in Hornsea today. Nelson Usher, my third great grand uncle, born in 1824 was the coxswain of the local lifeboat and a painting of him in watercolour resides in the Hornsea Museum today.

Feeding time, the swans are most vociferous
Apart from the attraction of walking along the promenade in Hornsea and experiencing the bracing sea air from the North Sea, the town has a mere. The word mere is Old English but has a place in the language of many countries and means 'an arm of the sea'. Although not connected to the sea, this huge inland freshwater lake is less than a kilometre from the sea and is fairly shallow and provides a habitat for wildlife and leisure facilities for sailors in leisure craft. 
A variety of birds on the water's edge
Owned by the Wassand Estate, the mere covers 476 acres and is the largest lake in Yorkshire. The owners of Wassand Hall bought the lake, used today for fishing and bird watching too, for a mere £50 in the 16th century (forgive the pun.) Something I have learned about the history of the mere is that it was formed by glacial activity and today it has a Special Protection Area status because of the diversity of the fen area surrounding the mere which includes much flora and fauna.

Sunday afternoon jaunt on the water
As I finish this brief blog, I have just watched  Felix Baumgartner live on YouTube jump from a capsule suspended from a helium balloon a total height of more than 120,000 feet and at freefall speeds at over 700 miles an hour at higher levels. Well done him, I got vertigo just watching him jump!

I hope you've had a good weekend.

Chat soon



  1. Spent the last 2 hours watching Felix myself. Tracked him through his earlier test jumps.

    Love stuff like that. Strikes a chord when I was a kiddie and managed to get a valve vhs 426 tv working my parents had discarded, and my dad and I watched the moon landing with a bacon buttie (I was grounded with no tea for sneaking out :) )

  2. Hi Wheelie
    It's great to watch history on the making. When you think of the production values to get the moon landing on the TV in those days and today I watched Felix live on YouTube on the internet!

  3. I just blogged about Hornsea Mere last week for the letter'M' in ABC Wednesday. I used to stay with a school friend from Hornsea way back when...

  4. I have never been to Hornsea RLS - although I have often passed quite close. Do have one or two pieces of Hornsea pottery though - is it still going?

  5. Hi ChrisJ
    It's a small world isn't it? Although there have been small changes, you would recognise it today.

    Hi Weaver
    I remember my Aunt collecting Hornsea Pottery and it was certainly quite unique and very attractive although rather 1960s in style. There is a part of the Hornsea Museum dedicated to the pottery which employed a lot of people. I think it went bust around 2008.