Having written about my town of Weston-super-Mare the other day I have been looking back at other things I have written about it… Here’s something from a couple of years ago:
If you visit Weston-super-Mare, you may very well decide to take a stroll along the promenade and you might walk round the bay, now Weston Bay, once Glentworth Bay. If you do you will reach Marine Lake which is actually not much of a lake really, just a small pool created by a barrier and a causeway which traps the sea and makes a shallow paddling and swimming area. You might stroll along to Dr Fox’s Tea-room for a nice coffee, or the Stones Coffee Bar. You might notice some elegant old buildings which are just shells now and contain modern flats and apartments.
If someone mentions that this is Knightstone Island, you might be surprised because it doesn’t look like an island… but yes, it once was. At high tide it was separated from the mainland and a local fisherman, aptly named Fisher, would row passengers back and forth. people visited the island because a Mr Howe’s built a suite of baths in response to the demand, a result of the Prince Regent setting the fashion for bathing. in July 1820. he also had lodgings were built to accommodate invalids who came to take the waters; there was also a refreshment room and a reading room.
Dr Edward Fox, after whom the tea-room is now named, bought Knightstone in September 1830. He was an extraordinary man, and a pioneer in the humane treatment of the mentally afflicted. He planned and had built further development on the island, including an exercise courtyard for patients and a new elegant bath house. As well as the tea-room, he is also remembered in a suite of rooms at the new hospital especially for the support and treatment of people with mental health issues.
As you can see, the sea in Weston, here flowing across the causeway at Marine Lake, is not exactly enticing… but it is actually very clean,, the grey colour is from the silt which flows into the Bristol Channel from the various rivers flowing from England and Wales.