Then and Now – Knightstone Island

This is a regular series of blogs about photographs of the same place taken years apart.

I quite like those Then and Now comparison photographs that you see in books or on the Twitter or Facebook.

I always think I should give them a go. However what I have started to notice is that I have been doing Then and Now photographs unintentionally over the years and have been taking photographs of the same thing or place from the same view or perspective years apart.  The first instance of this that came to my attention was last year in May when I went to Manchester.

It only really came to my attention that I was doing this a lot, when checking the Places function on the Apple Photos Mac App that I could see I had taken the same photograph of the same thing just years apart!

Living in Weston-super-Mare and visiting the seafront on a regular basis, to be honest I am not too surprised that over the years I have taken photographs of the same place from (roughly) the same perspective. One place I seem to photograph a lot from the same viewpoint is Knightstone Island.

Knightstone Island was originally an island but was then joined with the mainland. Up until the late 1800s the island was in private hands, but was then acquired by the local council who enlarged the island by building a new retaining wall on the north eastern side.  The council also built a new swimming pool and a Pavilion, which both opened in May 1902.  

The Pavilion included refreshment rooms, a reading room, a billiard room and a theatre.  It had electric lighting and a hot water heating system.  Seawater was used in the swimming pool. Band concerts, plays, operas and other shows were performed at the Knightstone Pavilion, films were also shown. However the size of the complex restricted the audience numbers so the site was unable to have big shows or names performing. By the 1970s Knightstone Pavilion was struggling financially and it finally closed in 1991.   There were plans to convert the site into a leisure complex but these never came to fruition and the buildings gradually deteriorated.

This is a view of the island from near the Grand Pier in September 2005.

In 2007 the whole island has been redeveloped.  The Bath House and front section of the ground floor of the Pavilion were converted into commercial premises.  The rest of the Pavilion and the swimming pool were converted into homes and two new apartment blocks were built on the island.

Here is the view in December 2009. You can see the redevelopment on the site. Seeing snow on the beach is always quite a unique view.

This is the (slightly different) view in June 2011.

The same view in May 2018

Another more recent view in January 2019.

Down at the beach

During my government sanctioned exercise we cycled down to the seafront in Weston-super-Mare. Compared to the a previous visit,  back in the middle of April, it was much busier, but to be honest pretty much deserted.

There were a few people like us doing our exercise, walking, cycling, running. The odd dog walker as well.

In addition there were people kit surfing in the sea.

The council closed all their seafront car parks in an additional move to dissuade casual visitors and at the time of writing they are still closed. So in the end the place is deserted with only a few people exercising.

Just to note that I am following government advice during this national emergency and the photograph was taken during my government sanctioned exercise.

Zoom Backgrounds of Weston-super-Mare

So if you are looking for some backgrounds for your Zoom and Teams calls, then here are some lovely pictures of the beach and pier at Weston-super-Mare that I have taken over the years.

Right click the images to download the images for your personal use only.

Beach #366photos2020

Just to note that I am following government advice during this national emergency and the photograph was taken during my government sanctioned one form of exercise per day.

Deserted Weston-super-Mare

During my government sanctioned one form of exercise per day we cycled down to the seafront in Weston-super-Mare.

The seafront was deserted. I have seen it empty like this in winter, but not in spring with the sun shining.

There were a few people like us doing our exercise, walking, cycling, running. The odd dog walker as well.

All the attractions, cafes, restaurants and bars were closed.

They could be open for takeaway, but after the kerfuffle before the lockdown with huge queues at the Victorian Cafe and the fish and chip places, the owners made the responsible decision to not open any more and stay closed.

The council closed all their seafront car parks in an additional move to dissuade casual visitors. So in the end the place is deserted with only a few people exercising.

Just to note that I am following government advice during this national emergency and these photographs were taken during my government sanctioned one form of exercise per day.