Slyne-with-Hest,Lancashire

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Slyne-with-Hest is a civil parish in the City of Lancaster in Lancashire, England. The parish is north of Lancaster and consists of two villages; Slyne, on the A6 road, and Hest Bank on the coast.

Hest Bank's best known building, 'The Hest Bank Hotel' (previously named the Sands Inn), is itself hundreds of years old, and once served as a coaching station for traffic crossing the sands of what is now called Morecambe Bay. The Ordnance Survey Maps still show the Right-of-way across Morecambe Bay from Hest Bank to Grange-over-Sands, and many walkers enjoy guided walks across the bay, which take place from Spring to Autumn, normally every other weekend, tides allowing. The Right-of-Way is not suitable for normal motor vehicles, there being water at around knee-height to cross the outflow from the River Kent.

Morecambe Bay from Hest Bank to Grange over-Sands.jpg

Morecambe Bay
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The shifting sands and rapid and powerful tides make the bay hazardous for those unfamiliar with it. This is illustrated by the 2004 Morecambe Bay disaster.

2004 Cocklers disaster
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The Morecambe Bay cockling disaster occurred on the evening of the 5 February 2004  when at least 21 cockle pickers were drowned by the incoming tide off the coast of Lancashire/Cumbria in Morecambe Bay.

A group of Chinese workers were collecting cockles (edible marine bivalves) at low tide on sand flats at Warton Sands, near Hest Bank, to have been paid £5 per 25 kg of cockles, when a number of workers were cut off by the incoming tide in the bay at around 9:30 in the evening.

Although the emergency services were alerted by a mobile phone call made by one of the workers, only one of the workers was rescued from the waters. This was partly because the phone call was unclear both to the extent and severity of the danger, and to their location, presumably through a lack of English language ability. A total of 21 bodies, of men and women between the ages of 18 and 45, were recovered from the bay after the incident. Two of the victims were women, the vast majority were young men in their 20s and 30s, with only two being over 40 and only one, a male, under 20. Most of the victims were previously employed as farmers, two were fishermen. All of the bodies of the victims were found, at a variety of trajectories, at nine locations between the cockling area and shore indicating that the majority had attempted to swim but had been overcome partly, or largely, by hypothermia. Four of the victims died after the truck they used to reach the cockling area became overwhelmed by water. A further two cocklers were believed to have been with those drowned, with remains of one being found in 2010.

Fourteen other members of the group are reported to have made it safely to the shore, making 15 survivors in total. The workers were all illegal immigrants, mainly from the Fujian province of China, and have been described as being untrained and inexperienced. Concern had been expressed over their situation to the local police some time before, but no action was taken.
The disaster led to the Gangmaster Licensing Act 2004 and the formation of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

Census
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Census returns for Slyne with Hest, 1841-1891

Content
Film
1841
FHL BRITISH Film
306914
1851 p. 1-22
FHL BRITISH Film
87299
1861
FHL BRITISH Film
543088
1871
FHL BRITISH Film
848074
1881
FHL BRITISH Film
1342021
1891 RG 12/3469 (4 fiches)
FHL BRITISH Fiche
6098579 (4 fiche)


Poor Law Unions
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Caton Gilbert Union,Lancashire

Lancaster Poor Law Union,Lancashire from 1869