Hilbre Island

Hilbre is actually made up of three islands known as Hilbre, Little Hilbre and The Eye. However, maps of the area made between 1577 and 1648 all show Hilbre as a single island roughly square with a deep inlet in the south-west corner. Hilbre, itself, is about 11.5 acres, Little Hilbre about 3 acres and The Eye about 0.5 acres. The name is derived from the Old English Hildeburgh and Eg meaning Hildeburgh's Island and is thought to have been a place of pilgrimage from Saxon times.

In 1140, both Hilbre and West Kirby were owned by the Benedictine monks of St. Werburgh's Abbey of Chester until the dissolution of the Abbey in 1540.

From Tudor times, both Hilbre and Hoyle Lake were used as an anchorage by the small ships which traded with Ireland from the Port of Chester. The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board bought Hilbre in 1856, having previously erected a telegraph station and an automatic tidal-gauge. [Photograph]

The Lifeboat Station was erected in 1849 at a cost of 1,200 UK Pounds. It was built as an alternative deep-water station for when the Hoylake Lifeboat was unable to be launched at low tide. The station was manned by the Hoylake crew who were summoned by the firing of one a pair of cannons, which were replaced in 1890 by rockets.

In 1945, the Hoylake Urban District Council bought the island for 2,500 UK Pounds for the use of the general public and as a bird sanctuary.

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