Weston-super-Mare is a large seaside town on the Bristol Channel, and although I actually live in a small village a mile south of Weston, it is technically where I live!
The name comes as you would guess from west+ton (west settlement) and as there are other Westons in the area and it was by the sea it became known as Weston-super-Mare (Latin for ‘on sea’)
Weston was originally a tiny fishing village of not much more than a few fishermen’s cottages. Over two thousand years ago, late Bronze Age people built the hill fort of Worlebury Camp overlooking Weston Bay; the Romans arrived in the area and took over the site and left a cemetery nearby which still yields its residents from time to time as new building takes place.
After the Romans, the area declined back to the small fishing village that stayed much the same until the late eighteenth century. With the popularity of sea bathing and the development of seaside resorts, Weston, as the nearest place to the fashionable Regency town of Bath, and the thriving merchant city of Bristol, became Somerset’s first resort.
The Victorians loved the idea of seaside holidays but until the railway arrived in Weston in 1841, it was out of reach of anyone but the wealthy. Once the middle classes could travel to the seaside, hotels were built, amusements provided, refreshments were available. In 1867 the first pier was built from Birnbeck Island. In 1904 the Grand Pier was built, and although it was destroyed several times by fire, it is gloriously rebuilt and a great attraction to Weston!