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Hoylake Beach.jpg
Hoylake beach, looking towards Hilbre Island
Hoylake is located in Merseyside
 Hoylake shown within Merseyside
Population 5,710 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid reference SJ215888
Metropolitan borough Wirral
Metropolitan county Merseyside
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WIRRAL
Postcode district CH47
Dialling code 0151 632
Police Merseyside
Fire Merseyside
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Wirral West
List of places

Coordinates: 53°23′24″N 3°10′48″W / 53.390°N 3.180°W / 53.390; -3.180

Hoylake is a seaside town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. The town is located at the north western corner of the Wirral Peninsula, near to the town of West Kirby and where the River Dee estuary meets the Irish Sea. The Peninsula was part of the historic county of Cheshire, at the time of the Domesday was within the within the Hundred of Wilaveston.

At the 2001 census, the population of Hoylake was 5,710[1] of a total population of 13,042, as part of the Hoylake & Meols local government ward.[2]


In 1690, William III set sail from Hoylake with a 10,000-strong army to Ireland, where his army was to take part in the Battle of the Boyne. The location of departure remains known as King's Gap.[3]

The present day township grew up in the 19th century around the small fishing village of Hoose.[4] The name Hoylake was derived from Hoyle Lake, a channel of water between Hilbre Island and Dove Point.[5] Protected by a wide sandbank known as Hoyle Bank and with a water depth of about 20 feet, it provided a safe anchorage for ships too large to sail up the Dee to Chester.[6]

The old upper lighthouse

To facilitate safe access into the Hoylake anchorage, two lighthouses were constructed in 1763.[7] The lower light was a wooden structure that could be moved according to differing tides and shifting sands to remain aligned to the upper light, which was a permanent brick building. Both of these structures were rebuilt a century later.[8] The upper lighthouse, consisting of an octagonal brick tower, last shone on 14 May 1886 and is now part of a private residence in Valentia Road.[8] The lower lighthouse, closer to the shore in Alderley Road, was deactivated in 1908[9] and demolished in 1922.

The Royal Hotel was built by Sir John Stanley in 1792, with the intention of developing the area as a holiday resort. The numerous steam packet vessels sailing between Liverpool and North Wales which called at the hotel provided valuable patronage. By the mid-19th century a racecourse was laid out in the grounds of the hotel. The hotel building was demolished in the 1950s.[10]

Hoylake's lido, located on the promenade, was opened in June 1913 and rebuilt in the late 1920s. In 1976, the Hoylake Pool and Community Trust took over the running of the facility from Wirral Borough Council.[6] The baths finally closed in 1981.[11]

The Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial is a notable local landmark, as it was designed in 1922 by the British sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger who was responsible for a number of war memorials around the world, including the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London.

Civic history[edit]

The township of Hoose was part of the West Kirby Parish, Wirral Hundred. It became part of Hoylake and West Kirby civil parish in 1894. The population was 60 in 1801, 589 in 1851 and 2,701 in 1901.[12]

Hoylake was governed by an urban district council until 1 April 1974 when it was absorbed into the newly created Metropolitan Borough of Wirral when local government reorganisation took place across the UK. At that point, Hoylake ceased to be in Cheshire, and became part of the nascent county of Merseyside.


Hoylake is a largely residential area and there is an active nightlife in the town centre, which is located at the original village of Hoose.[4]

The town supports a permanent lifeboat station, manned by the RNLI. Initially founded in 1803 by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, it is one of the oldest in the country.[13] In 2008, the RNLI began to raise £2 million for a new lifeboat station and new generation all-weather lifeboat, to facilitate a faster response time to emergencies and rescues in the Irish Sea and the rivers Dee and Mersey.The building was finally opened in 2009.

There are also sailing and sand yachting clubs.


Hoylake includes the independent Kingsmead School, which educates girls and boys from 2 to 16 years old. Hoylake Holy Trinity C of E Primary School is the town's main primary school, educating children from the ages of 3 to 12.



Hoylake is the home of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, built in 1869 on the site of the Royal Hotel racecourse.[4] It is the second oldest golf links in England, predated only by the Royal North Devon Golf Club, in Westward Ho!, Devon.[14] It has hosted many major tournaments such as the Open Championship and the Walker Cup. The club is often referred to as "Hoylake". It hosted the Open again in July 2006, after a gap of almost 40 years, with Tiger Woods earning the Claret Jug for the second year in a row. The 2014 Open Championship is the most recent of the event to be held at Hoylake. This was won by Rory McIlroy.

Hoylake-born amateur golfer John Ball Jnr. won the Open in 1890, becoming the first Englishman to do so. Another local amateur, Harold Hilton became Open champion two years later. He won again in 1897 at his home club of Royal Liverpool.

Rugby union[edit]

Hoylake RFC rugby club was founded in 1922. Its predecessor, connected with the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, had been founded in the 1890s. British Open golf champion Harold Hilton was also captain of the rugby team for the 1890/91 season.[10]


Hoylake ASC was founded in 1931. The club now trains at the West Kirby Concourse and the Calday Grange Swimming Pool.

Sand yachting[edit]

Hoylake is one of the premier sites for sand yachting in Britain,[14] with banks around a quarter of a mile offshore. The town's beach was the venue for the European Sand Yacht Championships in 2007 and 2011.[15]


Cricket was played at the now disused Ellerman Lines Cricket Ground from as early as the 1920s, when the then newly formed West Wirral Cricket Club played at the ground. It was later sold to Ellerman Lines, who transformed the site into their social club. Cheshire played minor counties cricket there from 1957 to 1968. The ground also held Cheshire's first ever appearance in List A cricket against Surrey in the first round of the 1964 Gillette Cup.[16] The ground was later sold, with the site becoming a nightclub, before being demolished following a fire. The site of the ground has been selected for construction of 62 affordable homes.[17]


Hoylake and Manor Road railway stations serve the town. Both are on the West Kirby - Liverpool Central branch of the Wirral Line with services operated by Merseyrail. Buses run through Hoylake on routes including West Kirby to New Ferry, West Kirby to Birkenhead, Newton to Meols and Eastham Ferry to Leasowe. A night bus from central Liverpool terminates in Hoylake.

Notable people[edit]

Cliff Williams (1949- ), bassist of AC/DC grew up in Hoylake, as well as becoming influenced by the local Merseybeat movement.

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Armand Cunningham (1890-1966) DSO, DFC, Order of Leopold, Legion d'honneur, Croix de guerre[disambiguation needed], the World War I flying ace, retired to Hoylake and eventually died there.

Julian Budden, Italian opera scholar and BBC radio producer (1924–2007) was born in Hoylake.

The former Olympic Games cyclist Chris Boardman (1968- ) was born in Hoylake.

Helen Forrester (1919- ), author of Twopence to Cross the Mersey was also born in the town.[18]

The former actress and Labour MP Glenda Jackson (1936- ), James Bond actor Daniel Craig (1968- ) and pianist Stephen Hough (1961- ) grew up in Hoylake. James Skelly, Ian Skelly, Bill Ryder-Jones, Nick Power, Lee Southall, Paul Duffy and John Duffy, from the band the Coral, were also brought up there.

John Lennon's first wife Cynthia moved from Liverpool to Hoylake after their divorce in 1968. Cynthia had also grown up in Hoylake as a child. Their son Julian (1963- ) spent much of his early life in Hoylake.[19]

In 1940, comedian Eric Morecambe won a local amateur talent contest, held at Hoylake's Kingsway Cinema. His prize was an audition before impresario Jack Hylton and subsequently where he first met his future comedy partner Ernie Wise.[20]

Mike Rutherford (1950- ) of Genesis was a boarder at the Leas School, formerly on Meols Drive, influenced heavily in his Genesis progression by Joseph Roberts, also from Hoylake.[citation needed]

Curtis Warren (1963- ), well-known Merseyside figure and formerly featured in the Sunday Times Rich List, owned a house on Meols Drive.

Jason Dransfield (1981- ) professional golfer playing on the PGA Europro Tour and European Challenge Tour is from Hoylake.

Indie rock bands the Coral, the Rascals and the Little Flames are from Hoylake.

Joshua Armitage, pen-name "Ionicus" (1913-1998), the "Punch" artist and designer of covers for Penguin's editions of P.G. Wodehouse, was born in Hoylake and lived and worked there his whole life.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wirral 2001 Census: Hoylake, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, retrieved 23 December 2007 [dead link]
  2. ^ 2001 Census: Hoylake & Meols Ward, Office for National Statistics, retrieved 20 February 2007 
  3. ^ Walker Art Gallery (Frieze of King William III setting sail to Ireland from Hoylake), International Centre for Digital Content, retrieved 22 February 2007 
  4. ^ a b c Hoylake, Merseyside Views, archived from the original on 27 September 2007, retrieved 1 May 2007 
  5. ^ Young, Derek & Marian, Pictures From The Past: Hoylake, Meols & West Kirby 
  6. ^ a b Hoylake History, HoylakeAndWestKirby.com, archived from the original on 8 December 2007, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  7. ^ Robinson, John; Robinson, Diane (2007). Lighthouses of Liverpool Bay. The History Press. ISBN 978-0752442099. 
  8. ^ a b Hoylake Lighthouse, archived from the original on 13 November 2007, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  9. ^ Hoylake Low Light, lighthousedepot.com, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  10. ^ a b Hoylake RFC History, Hoylake RFC, retrieved 8 May 2007 
  11. ^ "Hoylake Amateur Swimming Club has uncovered archive film of the town’s outdoor Lido as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations.". BBC. 19 Oct 2006. 
  12. ^ Cheshire Towns & Parishes: Hoose (Hoylake), GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy, retrieved 1 May 2007 
  13. ^ History, Hoylake Lifeboat website, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  14. ^ a b A-Hoylake!, BBC Sport, 17 July 2006, retrieved 15 April 2008 
  15. ^ Sand yacht championships to start, BBC News, 16 September 2007, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  16. ^ "Ground profile: Ellerman Lines Cricket Ground, Hoylake". CricketArchive. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Supporting Planning Statement: Former Ellerman Lines Social Club, Carr Lane, Hoylake". www.wirral.gov.uk. October 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Helen Forrester, Fantastic Fiction, retrieved 29 August 2007 
  19. ^ Julian Lennon Biography, lennon.net, retrieved 1 May 2007 
  20. ^ Morecambe, Gary; Sterling, Martin (2001), Morecambe & Wise - Behind The Sunshine, Robson Books, p. 19, ISBN 1-86105-462-9 

External links[edit]