Withernsea: Wikis


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Coordinates: 53°43′43″N 0°02′18″E / 53.7285°N 0.0382°E / 53.7285; 0.0382

Pier Towers Withernsea.JPG
Pier Towers, Withernsea
Withernsea is located in East Riding of Yorkshire

 Withernsea shown within the East Riding of Yorkshire
Population 5,980 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid reference TA344277
Parish Withernsea
Unitary authority East Riding of Yorkshire
Ceremonial county East Riding of Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HU19
Dialling code 01964
Police Humberside
Fire Humberside
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Beverley and Holderness
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Withernsea is a seaside resort town and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, and forms the focal point for a wider community of small villages in Holderness. Its most famous landmark is the white inland lighthouse, rising around 127 feet (38 m) above Hull Road. The lighthouse — no longer active — now houses a museum to 1950s actress Kay Kendall, who was born in the town.

The Prime Meridian crosses the coast to the northwest of Withernsea.

According to the 2001 UK census, Withernsea parish had a population of 5,980.[1]



Like many seaside resorts, Withernsea has a wide promenade which reaches north and south from Pier Towers, the historic entrance to a 364 metre (nearly 1,200 foot) long pier, built in 1877 at a cost of £12,000. The pier was gradually reduced in length through consecutive impacts by local seacraft, starting with the Saffron in 1880 before being collided into by an unnamed ship in 1888, again by a Grimsby fishing boat and again by the Henry Parr in 1903, leaving the once-grand pier with a mere 15 metres (50 feet) of damaged wood and steel. Town planners decided to remove the final section during construction of coastal defences in the 1930s. The Pier Towers have been refurbished.[2]

During the mid 19th century the Hull and Holderness Railway was constructed, connecting the nearby city of Kingston upon Hull with Withernsea (via Keyingham and Patrington) and providing a cheap and convenient holiday for Victorian workers and their families, as well as boosting Withernsea's economy. It closed in 1964 and all that remains of it is an overgrown footpath where the track used to be.[3]

Withernsea, like many British resorts, has suffered from a decline[4] in the number of visiting holidaymakers (known affectionately by the locals as diggers) over the last few decades, most likely due to the reduced cost of travel to Mediterranean resorts. However, the town still sees a significant increase in tourists between the months of June and August.


Withernsea Sea Front

The weather in Withernsea greatly depends on the time of year: in spring there is significant rainfall. In summer between late June and early July the weather is mostly dry and warm. Autumns are quite mellow but with rain. Winters are characteristically cold and windy.


Withernsea's economy is mostly focused around the retail of goods and supplies to local residents, but during the summer months more attention is placed on selling souvenirs and beach items to tourists. The amusement arcades also see the most profits during this time. However, the local secondary school remains one the town's largest employers and pumps huge sums into the local economy.

Along Queen Street are many retail stores including Cooplands and Aldi, in place of previous independent supermarket, Proudfoot. The latter, although winner of the Best Independent Retailer Award in 2002, was driven out of business by Tesco. Following the unsuccessful attempt to purchase the Proudfoot Supermarket, Tesco opened a competing store which originally struggled to attract sales. Tesco resorted to a campaign of price flexing, offering customers £8 off for every £20 spent in their Withernsea branch.[5] This led to an investigation by the Competition Commission.[6][7] After their market share increased, Tesco prices returned to a level closer to the national average.

There is a 9-hole golf course and leisure centre complex (with a gym and indoor pool) and a variety of pubs and restaurants are situated around the centre of the town.[8]


Some of the town's better-known tourist attractions and landmarks include:

  • The lighthouse situated on Hull Road with a museum dedicated to the actress Kay Kendall. Recently re-opened to the public, the lighthouse was closed from January 2005 to March 2007, while extensive repairs to the building were carried out.
  • The Pier Towers leading onto a Blue Flag beach.
  • Valley Gardens with a large square and outside stage for local events and celebrations.
  • Various amusement arcades (informally known as 'muggies') that line the road opposite the Valley Gardens.
  • An RNLI lifeboat museum.
  • The parish church of St Nicholas, a Grade II* listed building.


The area is served by BBC Radio Humberside, Viking FM, Galaxy Yorkshire, KCFM & Magic 1161 although these radio stations rarely report any local news or events. Ofcom awarded Seaside FM a community radio licence to broadcast to the town on 105.3 MHz and the station launched on 5 October 2007 from studios at 27 Seaside Road. Weekly newspaper The Holderness Gazette also has offices on Seaside Road.


Withernsea has a large and well-established education sector, with an infant, junior and high school which serves many of the surrounding area's pupils. The High School is a specialist Technology and Humanities College and was judged as "Good with outstanding features" in the most recent Ofsted report. The school is especially strong in terms of Textiles, History, and English.[9]

Public services

Withernsea has its own hospital,[10] which has recently come under service cuts, and ambulance station. The town is served by Humberside Police who have a local police station located behind Aldi.[11]

Notable people

Withernsea is the birthplace of jazz musician Kenny Baker,[12] who was born in the town in 1921. Kay Kendall,[13] a famous Hollywood star in the 1950s and 1960s, was born there in 1926.


  1. ^ a b "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Withernsea CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=791067&c=Withernsea&d=16&e=15&g=391273&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&r=1&s=1211404361859&enc=1&dsFamilyId=779. Retrieved 2008-05-20.  
  2. ^ "BBC Bus - Withernsea". BBC Humber. BBC. 22 August 2003. http://www.bbc.co.uk/humber/bus/archives/082003/22/index.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  3. ^ Price, Peter (1989-01-01). Lost Railways Of Holderness, The Hull Withernsea and Hull Hornsea Lines. Hutton Press Ltd.. ISBN ISBN 0-907033-86-5..  
  4. ^ "Reinventing the seaside". BBC News Online. BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4799097.stm. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  5. ^ "Shop tactics". guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2005/jan/06/consumerissues.supermarkets. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  6. ^ "main_party_responses_emerging_thinking_no_3" (PDF). http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/inquiries/ref2006/grocery/pdf/main_party_responses_emerging_thinking_no_3.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-19.  
  7. ^ "Groceries Market inquiry: Main party submission" (PDF). http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/inquiries/ref2006/grocery/pdf/main_party_submissions_pareto_retail_app_2.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-19.  
  8. ^ "Withernsea Town Council - home page". www.council.withernsea.com. http://www.council.withernsea.com/. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  9. ^ "Withernsea High School". www.withernseahigh.org.uk. http://www.withernseahigh.org.uk/. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  10. ^ "Hospital - Withernsea Community Hospital Managing Trust Information". www.nhs.uk. http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/Hospital.aspx?id=5NW33&v=4. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  11. ^ "Welcome to the Humberside Police website/Finding Local Police Stations". www.humberside.police.uk. http://www.humberside.police.uk/local-policing/local-police-stations/. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  12. ^ "Jazz great Baker dies". BBC News Online. BBC. 9 December 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/557384.stm. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  13. ^ "Kay Kendall". www.imdb.com. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0447608/. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  

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