It’s appropriate that one of the best preserved Victorian buildings in Hornsea is the former railway station of 1854 designed by Rawlins Gould of York, a former assistant to the North Eastern Railway’s architect, the better-known George Townsend Andrews.
Hornsea grew as a seaside resort entirely because of the construction of the Hull & Hornsea Railway, promoted by a Hull timber-merchant, Joseph Armytage Wade (1819-1896) and constructed between 1862 and 1864.
It was at Wade’s insistence that the line was extended from the planned terminus at Hornsea Mere as far as the sea front, increasing the cost of the whole project from £68,000 to £122,000.
Like the comparable line from Hull to Withernsea, this line stood no real chance of success as an independent branch railway, and was taken over by the North Eastern Railway in 1866.
Commuter traffic was significant: times were adjusted to benefit businessmen working in Hull, and services gradually increased to the end of the nineteenth century, from seven weekday return trips and one on Sunday in 1870 to nine on weekdays and three on Sunday by 1890.
Day trippers filled the resort, particularly at bank holidays: on Whit Monday 1890, two thousand excursion passengers were recorded.
Visitor censuses consistently indicated that the majority of visitors were from Hull and most of the rest from the West Riding.
The railway closed in 1964, exactly a hundred years after it opened, and the station, after a period of neglect, was redeveloped as housing in 1987.