Silverdale was first recorded in 1199 as ‘Selvedal’ and then in 1246 as ‘de Sellerdal’.
The name means ‘silver valley’ from the Old English ‘siolfor/seolfor’ or the Old Norse ‘silfr’. Then either the Old English ‘dale’ meaning ‘main valley’ or the Old Norse ‘dalr’ meaning long valley’.
The ‘silver’ most likely refers to the pale grey of the limestone rocks – there is a Silver Hill and Silverdale in the limestone country just north of Settle. The finding of the Viking Age silver hoard, now known as the Silverdale Hoard, may be pure coincidence – although a complete gift for the writers of newspaper headlines.
For a long time the village didn’t really have a centre, with farms scattered around. It is noted for the number of large wells, some of which have never been known to run dry. Since Silverdale was very likely on the drove route for cattle across the sands the wells would have been very useful for watering the animals.
As with other areas of Morecambe Bay, Silverdale became known for its healthy sea-bathing, particularly amongst the middle classes. The first mention occurs in 1835 and the famous novelist, Elizabeth Gaskell, stayed here several times in the 1850s. It seems to have been around the end of the 1860s that the sea-bathing ceased to be an attraction.
The image shows the cottages at The Shore. The far cottage was originally the only building and was a Bath House connected to the Britannia Hotel in the village centre.