From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the town in Hampshire. For the town in the U.S., see Emsworth, Pennsylvania. For the P.G. Wodehouse character, see Lord Emsworth.
Emsworth village centre
Emsworth is located in Hampshire
 Emsworth shown within Hampshire
Population 9,492 (2011.ward)[1]
OS grid reference SU748060
Civil parish Emsworth
District Havant
Shire county Hampshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town EMSWORTH
Postcode district PO10
Dialling code 01243
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Havant
List of places

Coordinates: 50°50′56″N 0°56′17″W / 50.849°N 0.938°W / 50.849; -0.938

Emsworth is a small town[2] in Hampshire on the south coast of England, near the border of West Sussex. It lies at the north end of an arm of Chichester Harbour, a large and shallow inlet from the English Channel.[3]

Emsworth has a population of approximately 10,000. In the 19th century it had as many as 30 pubs and beer houses. The village has a basin for small yachts and fishing boats, which fills at high tide and can be emptied through a sluice at low tide. The River Ems, which is named after the village (not, as often believed, the town being named after the river) flows into the Slipper millpond. The mill itself is now used as offices.

Adjacent to Emsworth is Thorney Island.


Early Emsworth[edit]

Emsworth began as a Saxon village. At first it was linked to the settlement of Warblington nearby. People from Emsworth worshipped at St Peter's Chapel or in the church at Warblington. Emsworth was not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was included with Warblington.[4]

Emsworth's name came from Anglo Saxon Æmeles worþ = "a man called Æmele's enclosure". A "worth" was an enclosure, such as a farm or hamlet surrounded by a palisade.[4]

Emsworth grew to be larger and more important. In 1239 Emsworth was granted the right to hold a market. There was also an annual fair[4] In 1332 Emsworth (Empnesworth) was one of Hampshire's four Customs Ports.[5] Wine was imported.[4]

18th–19th centuries[edit]

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Emsworth was still a port. Emsworth was known for shipbuilding, boat building and rope making. Grain from the area was ground into flour by tidal mills. Flour from Emsworth was transported by ship to places such as London and Portsmouth. Timber from the area was also exported in the 18th and 19th centuries.[4]

In the 19th century Emsworth had as many as 30 pubs and beer houses. Today, only nine remain. Emsworth's once famous oyster industry went into decline in the early years of the 20th century. Recently, Emsworth's last remaining oyster boat, The Terror, was restored and is now sailing again.[6] At the beginning of the 19th century, Emsworth had a population of less than 1,200 but it was still considered a large village for the time. By the end of the 18th century, it became fashionable for wealthy people to spend the Summer by the sea. In 1805 a bathing house was built where people could have a bath in seawater. Bath Road is named after it.

The parish Church of St James was built in 1840. Queen Victoria visited Emsworth in 1842, resulting in Queen Street and Victoria Road being named after her. In 1847 the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (now the West Coastway Line) came to Emsworth. With Emsworth railway station being built to serve the town.[4]

Modern Emsworth[edit]

By 1901 the population of Emsworth was about 2,000. It grew rapidly during the 20th century to about 5,000 by the middle of the century. (The 1,000th house in Emsworth was built in 1953). In 1906 construction began on the post office, with local cricketer George Wilder laying an inscribed brick. The renamed Emsworth Recreation Ground dates from 1909 and is the current home of Emsworth Cricket Club, which was founded in 1811 and celebrated its Bicentennial in 2011. It was marked with a Grand Match against the MCC. Cricket in Emsworth has been played at the same ground, Cold Harbour Lawn, since 1761.

Emsworth Quay flooded at high water on 10 March 2008

In the 20th century Emsworth became a resort for pleasure boats.

In 1902 the Emsworth oyster industry went into rapid decline. This was after many of the guests at mayoral banquets in Southampton and Winchester, became serious ill and four died after consuming oysters. The infection was due to oysters sourced from Emsworth. The oyster beds had been contaminated with raw sewage.[7][8] Fishing oysters at Emsworth ended until new sewers were dug, but the industry never completely recovered after pollution was prevented.[7]

For a few years (2001 to 2007), Emsworth held a food festival.[9] It was the largest event of its type in the UK, with 55,000 visitors in 2007. In 2008 the festival was cancelled due to numerous complaints of disruption to residents and businesses in the proximity; it has been replaced by a series of smaller events.[9]

The harbour is now used almost exclusively for recreational sailing. During the Second World War, nearby Thorney Island was used as a Royal Air Force station, playing a role in defence in the Battle of Britain. The north of Emsworth at this time was used for growing flowers[citation needed] and further north was woodland (today Hollybank Woods[10] ). In the run up to D-Day, the Canadian Army used these woods as one of their pre-invasion assembly points for men and materiel.[11]

Today the foundations of their barracks can still be seen. In the 1960s large parts of this area were developed with a mix of bungalow and terraced housing.

In March 2008, Emsworth was hit by a storm which resulted in trees being uprooted and, in combination with a high tide, led to areas of the town being flooded. Both mill ponds, the lower part of Queen Street including the Lord Raglan pub, and other roads were flooded, making access to some of the town impossible.[12]


The town is part of the Havant constituency, which since the 1983 election has been a Conservative seat. The current Member of Parliament is Alan Mak MP. The town is represented at Havant Borough Council by Councillors Colin Mackey,Rivka Cresswell and Lulu Bowerman. The local County Councillor is Ray Bolton. The town has branches of the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and United Kingdom Independence Party.


Emsworth railway station is on the West Coastway Line. It has services that run to Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighton and London Victoria.

Stagecoach operate the number 700 bus which operates between Brighton and Southsea. Local bus services are provided by Emsworth & District, which operate services to Havant and Chichester.


The old tidal mill
  • The Quay
  • The Mill Pond
  • The Slipper Mill Pond
  • The Gasometer (now demolished - 2016)
  • St James' Church


Emsworth is twinned with Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer in Normandy, France France[13]

Famous residents[edit]


  1. ^ "Havant Ward population 2011". Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Welcome to Emsworth". Emsworth Online. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Whitfield, Robert. Emsworth: A History. Chichester: Phillimore & Co. Ltd., 2005, p. xiii. ISBN 1-86077-346-X
  4. ^ a b c d e f Page, William (1908). "Warblington in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3, ed.". London: Victoria County History. pp. 134–139. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  5. ^ The National Archives, Kew (UK), E 122/189/5
  6. ^ "Terror - Emsworth Oyster Boat". Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  7. ^ a b "Emsworth Oysters". Emsworth Business Association. 3 February 2016. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016. 
  8. ^ Bulstrode, H. Timbrell (1903). "Dr. H. Timbrell Bulstrode's report to the Local Government Board upon alleged oyster-home enteric fever and other illness following the mayoral banquets at Winchester and Southampton, and upon enteric fever occurring simultaneously elsewhere and also ascribed to oysters". London: HMSO: 1. 
  9. ^ a b "Background". Emsworth Food Festival Consultation. Emsworth Online. 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2014. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Hollybank Woods". Woodland trust. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "D-Day marshalling area camp A2, Emsworth Common". D-Day Museum. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Emsworth Flooding, March 2008
  13. ^ St Aubin – Emsworth Twinning Association
  14. ^ Denbigh, K.G. (December 1986). "Peter Victor Danckwerts". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 32: 99. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1986.0004. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Whitfield, Robert. Emsworth: A History. Chichester: Phillimore & Co. Ltd., 2005. ISBN 1-86077-346-X

External links[edit]