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 I noticed was in May 2019 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.

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