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East Riding
All Saints Church, Hessle - geograph.org.uk - 319315.jpg
All Saints' Church at Southgate
Grid reference: TA034264
Location: 53°43’26"N, 0°25’55"W
Population: 15,000  (2011)
Post town: Hessle
Postcode: HU13
Dialling code: 01482
Local Government
Council: East Riding of Yorkshire
Kingston upon Hull West
and Hessle

Hessle is a port town in the East Riding of Yorkshire, five miles west of Kingston upon Hull, on the north bank of the Humber where the Humber Bridge crosses from Lincolnshire. According to the 2011 census, Hessle parish had a population of 15,000.

This is an ancient place, but the town today is about modernity and industry.

The town

The centre of Hessle is called "Hessle Square" or "The Square" for short. There are many shops and a small bus station - which was refitted in 2007.

The parish church is All Saints Church, just off the Square and was designated in 1967 as a Grade I listed building.[1]

Hessle Town Hall was built in 1897 and is situated at the top of South Lane. Hessle Police Station is next door to the town hall at the top of South Lane and the corner of Ferriby Road.

Transport to and from Hessle is convenient, with good access to main roads such as the A15, A63 and the M62 motorway. It also has a railway station with hourly services to and from Hull and to destinations such as Doncaster and York.

Hessle is at the start of the Yorkshire Wolds Way, a long-distance footpath and designated National Trail, which crosses the Yorkshire Wolds and ends at Filey.


In more modern times, it has been a centre for shipbuilding. Before 1897, there was a shipyard building wooden boats, but it was then bought by Henry Scarr who moved there from Beverley, where he had previously been in partnership with his brother Joseph. Scarr produced iron and steel ships[2] until 1932, when the yard was taken over by Richard Dunston.[3] It was the largest shipyard in Hessle, building vessels such as Loch Riddon, a roll-on/roll-off ferry launched in 1986, and one of four built for Caledonian MacBrayne for use in the Hebrides.[4] The company went into liquidation in 1987 and was bought by Damen Shipyards Group in the same year. Dunston's was closed down in 1994. The location is now used as offices, car sales buildings and a dock for scrap metal and other materials for dispatch to other areas, or to be recycled. Richard Dunston's ship repairs still exists further east along the Humber Estuary, with activity remaining high.

Chalk-quarrying was a major industry at Hessle into the 20th century and quarries can still be seen in the west of the town, the largest being the Humber Bridge Country Park, which is a popular tourist attraction. Part of it is known as Little Switzerland (Little Switz or Switzy for short).

2007 floods

On 25 June 2007, torrential rain hit Yorkshire and surrounding counties; 4 inches of rain fell in a few hours. Several people died across the affected area and the first fatality occurred in Hessle; a 28-year-old man became trapped when his foot was stuck in a storm drain.

The floods caused the formation of a local residents association, HCARA (Hessle Community Action Residents Association) who worked with various bodies to campaign for improvements in defences against floods in the lower Hessle area.

As a result of consultation with the residents, the Environment Agency promoted a flood storage scheme which was constructed in a field off Beverley Road in Hessle in 2010/11. The project known as a flood water attenuation scheme involved identifying a field immediately upstream of the urban area, this was then excavated below natural ground level to a depth of around 6 feet. A flow control structure was built on the downstream end of the watercourse and the bank of the Western Drain was lowered on the West Side.

The Hessle Feast

Hessle Feast in 2006

Earliest found records of the Hessle Feast date from the 1800s. These have it as an annual event around Whitsuntide (May). A time of enjoyment, when the people of the Parish would gather to celebrate the coming year.

From articles in 1808 and 1836 it is clear that the Feast had become a major event bringing in people from neighbouring towns and villages. With much excitement, racing, noise and jubilee. As ever the youth made it their own. Even in the earliest reports, there are Churchwardens concerns over noisy and drunken behaviour "particularly of the young men of Hull" who visited the parish.

Resurrected around 15 years ago, after many years of absence, the Feast has again become an event of enjoyment and embraced by the whole community of Hessle.

Previous Feasts include one which occurred in July 2006. It succeeded in attracting over 5000 local residents and visitors to the area and was an entertaining day of charitable money raising, family fun and live music. The event hosted many activities such as a Battle of the Bands which took place on the main stage in Hessle Square, a 'Buskathon' centred down Prestongate and local bands centred on a smaller stage on The Weir. There was also a Boat Race around the streets of Hessle, which was eventually won by army cadets carrying an inflatable float. The event was partly funded and majorly sponsored by Kingston Communications and Yorkshire Water who were working in the area at the time.


  • Football:
    • Hessle Rangers FC
    • Hessle Sporting


In the 13th century Joan Stuteville from Hessle introduced the custom of ladies riding side-saddle.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Hessle)


  1. National Heritage List 1161766: Church of All Saints
  2. Taylor 2009, p. 126.
  3. Taylor 2009, p. 27.
  4. Taylor 2009, p. 119.


  • Gazetteer – A–Z of Towns Villages and Hamlets. East Riding of Yorkshire Council. 2006. p. 6. 
  • Taylor, Mike (2009). Richard Dunston Limited of Thorne & Hessle. Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books. ISBN 978-1-84563-094-2.