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Hoylake Beach.jpg
Hoylake beach, looking towards Hilbre Island
Grid reference: SJ215888
Location: 53°23’24"N, 3°10’48"W
Population: 5,710  (2001)
Post town: Wirral
Postcode: CH47
Dialling code: 0151 632
Local Government
Council: Wirral
Wirral West

Hoylake is a seaside town on the Wirral, in Cheshire. Hoylake stands at the north-western corner of the Wirral Peninsula, near West Kirby and where the estuary of the River Dee meets the Irish Sea.

At the 2001 Census, the population of Hoylake was 5,710.


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.[1]

The present day township grew up in the 19th century around the small fishing village of Hoose.[2] The name Hoylake was derived from Hoyle Lake, a channel of water between Hilbre Island and Dove Point.[3] 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.[4]

The old upper lighthouse

To facilitate safe access into the Hoylake anchorage, two lighthouses were built in 1763.[5] 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.[6]

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.[6] The lower lighthouse, closer to the shore in Alderley Road, was deactivated in 1908[7] 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.[8]

Hoylake's lido, 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 the council.[4] The baths finally closed in 1981.[9]

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.


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.[2]

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.[10]

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 is the home of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, built in 1869 on the site of the Royal Hotel racecourse.[2] It is the oldest golf links in England after the Royal North Devon Golf Club, in Westward Ho! in Devon.[11] 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.

Rugby union

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.[8]


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

Sand yachting

Hoylake is one of the premier sites for sand yachting in Britain,[11] 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.[12]


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 CCC 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.[13] 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.[14]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Hoylake)


  1. Walker Art Gallery (Frieze of King William III setting sail to Ireland from Hoylake), International Centre for Digital Content, http://www.lmu.livjm.ac.uk/LHOL/content.aspx?itemid=217, retrieved 22 February 2007 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hoylake, Merseyside Views, archived from the original on 27 September 2007, http://web.archive.org/web/20070927174419/http://www.merseysideviews.com/Wirral+Views/Hoylake/index.htm, retrieved 1 May 2007 
  3. Young, Derek & Marian, Pictures From The Past: Hoylake, Meols & West Kirby 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hoylake History, HoylakeAndWestKirby.com, archived from the original on 8 December 2007, http://web.archive.org/web/20071208195738/http://www.hoylakegolfopen.co.uk/id13.html, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  5. Robinson, John; Robinson, Diane (2007). Lighthouses of Liverpool Bay. The History Press. ISBN 978-0752442099. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hoylake Lighthouse, archived from the original on 13 November 2007, http://web.archive.org/web/20071113064031/http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/m0bnn/Page6.htm, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  7. Hoylake Low Light, lighthousedepot.com, http://www.lighthousedepot.com/database/uniquelighthouse.cfm?value=6261, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hoylake RFC History, Hoylake RFC, http://www.hoylake-rfc.com/historypage1.htm, retrieved 8 May 2007 
  9. "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. http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2006/10/19/hoylake_archive_swimming_feature.shtml. 
  10. History, Hoylake Lifeboat website, http://www.hoylakelifeboat.org.uk/history.htm, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  11. 11.0 11.1 A-Hoylake!, BBC Sport, 17 July 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/golf/5181708.stm, retrieved 15 April 2008 
  12. Sand yacht championships to start, BBC News, 16 September 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/merseyside/6997449.stm, retrieved 23 December 2007 
  13. "Ground profile: Ellerman Lines Cricket Ground, Hoylake". CricketArchive. http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Grounds/11/538.html. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  14. "Supporting Planning Statement: Former Ellerman Lines Social Club, Carr Lane, Hoylake". www.wirral.gov.uk. October 2011. http://www.wirral.gov.uk/planning/Docs/DMZfiles/8992_21.pdf. Retrieved 12 July 2012.