The way we used to live: Bournemouth – town founded by Tregonwell was once mostly deserted heath

Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth in 1986

A hand painted postcard of Bournemouth Square looking up Commercial Road postmarked 1903

Westover Road, Bournemouth circa early 1970s

First published in News

BOURNEMOUTH was founded in 1810 by Captain Lewis Tregonwell.

The Royal Exeter Hotel is one of the most important buildings in the town as it incorporates the very first private residence in Bournemouth. It was built by Captain Lewis Tregonwell who purchased the land for £179 and 11 shillings, and was completed in 1812.

After Tregonwell's death in 1832 the house was let out - one resident was the Marchioness of Exeter, after her stay the house was renamed Exeter House and the road renamed Exeter Road.

Before it was founded by Tregonwell, much of the area was a deserted heathland, visited by smugglers and fishermen. Bournemouth grew rapidly as a town in 1870 with the arrival of the railway.

Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset in 1974.

Bournemouth attracts an influx of visitors year round due to its sandy beaches, nightlife, shops off Bournemouth Square and business links, including the Bournemouth International Centre. The town centre boasts notable Victorian architecture - St Peter’s Church is one of the three Grade l listed churches.

Situated east of Bournemouth lies the historic resort of Boscombe.

Boscombe was originally an independent settlement, separated from Bournemouth by dense wood and moorland.

It was in 1976 when Boscombe was incorporated into the boundaries of Bournemouth.

Many of you will be familiar with Shelley Manor in Boscombe. Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, the novelist Mary Shelley, lived and loved the Tuscan lifestyle and brought up their son Percy Florence Shelley to appreciate Italy and the seaside.

Originally built as 'Boscombe Cottage' in 1801, Sir Percy. F Shelley later purchased the building with the intent of making it into a Tuscan villa, appreciating the mild climate and environment for his mother Lady Shelley.

At the heart of the building is the famous Shelley Theatre which today has been transformed.

In 2005, Shelley Manor was sold by the council to Charles Higgins Partnership to house two new medical surgeries, eleven apartments, two penthouses, and a restaurant and café.

Continuing eastwards, Southbourne is a vibrant and popular suburb of Bournemouth that thrives all year round and attracts visitors to the area's scores of hotels, guesthouses and holiday flats.

Southbourne was originally known as Stourfield, named after the River Stour which runs into the estuary at Christchurch.

The area came to national attention when Charles Rolls, of Rolls-Royce fame, died in an air crash in Southbourne.

For many years one of Southbourne's most popular attractions was the shell house on the clifftop which was demolished in 2001.

The clifftop is a popular spot with a cliff railway running between the coastal road and the beach near Fishermans Walk.

There are also frequent bus services to and from Pokesdown to nearby Christchurch and Bournemouth town centre, as well as frequent transport links to London from Pokesdown railway station, which opened in 1886.

Comments (11)

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12:15pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Western Sunset says...

Hello,
I think you'll find that Boscombe (and Springbourne) were added to the Bournemouth Improvement Commissioners' area in 1876 - not 1976 as stated.

Thank you.
Hello, I think you'll find that Boscombe (and Springbourne) were added to the Bournemouth Improvement Commissioners' area in 1876 - not 1976 as stated. Thank you. Western Sunset
  • Score: 13

12:45pm Wed 20 Aug 14

The-Bleeding-Obvious says...

Pity that Captain Tregonwell wasn't in a position to slap a preservation order on the land that we now call pier approach because it has never been in such a mess!
Pity that Captain Tregonwell wasn't in a position to slap a preservation order on the land that we now call pier approach because it has never been in such a mess! The-Bleeding-Obvious
  • Score: 19

1:24pm Wed 20 Aug 14

bsjc1234 says...

The Echo worded it so beautifully when it said "Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset in 1974."
I will just re-write it for them.
Historically part of Hampshire it was forced into Dorset against its will along with Christchurch back in 1974, why? because the rest of Dorset was so poor with no major town apart from Poole it needed some wealth brought into it, this was the solution of the day.
Like the Balkans history does have a habit of returning to once what was and one day Bournemouth and Christchurch will be back where they below, geographically if not politically in Hampshire.
The Echo worded it so beautifully when it said "Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset in 1974." I will just re-write it for them. Historically part of Hampshire it was forced into Dorset against its will along with Christchurch back in 1974, why? because the rest of Dorset was so poor with no major town apart from Poole it needed some wealth brought into it, this was the solution of the day. Like the Balkans history does have a habit of returning to once what was and one day Bournemouth and Christchurch will be back where they below, geographically if not politically in Hampshire. bsjc1234
  • Score: 1

1:44pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Bob Bournemouth says...

Kinson only became part of Bournemouth in 1931 - up until then it was a village.
Kinson only became part of Bournemouth in 1931 - up until then it was a village. Bob Bournemouth
  • Score: 7

2:04pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Telscombe Cliffy says...

Gazza became part of Boscombe in 2007
Gazza became part of Boscombe in 2007 Telscombe Cliffy
  • Score: 7

4:56pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Redgolfer says...

Telscombe Cliffy wrote:
Gazza became part of Boscombe in 2007
And has move out to pastures NEW, best thing he could have done???
[quote][p][bold]Telscombe Cliffy[/bold] wrote: Gazza became part of Boscombe in 2007[/p][/quote]And has move out to pastures NEW, best thing he could have done??? Redgolfer
  • Score: 1

6:41pm Wed 20 Aug 14

typ nowhere says...

Bob Bournemouth wrote:
Kinson only became part of Bournemouth in 1931 - up until then it was a village.
and in Dorset.
[quote][p][bold]Bob Bournemouth[/bold] wrote: Kinson only became part of Bournemouth in 1931 - up until then it was a village.[/p][/quote]and in Dorset. typ nowhere
  • Score: 2

6:45pm Wed 20 Aug 14

ryan_gazzan@hotmail.com says...

Many years ago we used to visit my aunt who lived in Winton. She used to take us for lunch to Boscombe which was very posh then. When we drive through it today it's just a horrible place full of tatty shops and take aways. Awful place.
Many years ago we used to visit my aunt who lived in Winton. She used to take us for lunch to Boscombe which was very posh then. When we drive through it today it's just a horrible place full of tatty shops and take aways. Awful place. ryan_gazzan@hotmail.com
  • Score: 14

6:52pm Wed 20 Aug 14

BIGTONE says...

Ahhhh. The 81 club.
Ahhhh. The 81 club. BIGTONE
  • Score: 2

12:35pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Gordon Cann says...

It might also be worth recalling that the Royal Exeter Hotel used to be called the Royal Imperial Hotel because Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and wife of Emperor Franz Joseph who ruled Austria from 1848 until his death in 1916 once stayed there, but such was the anti German feeling by 1917 that the word ' Imperial' was dropped.-just as the House of Saxe - Coburg was renamed he House of Windsor,
It might also be worth recalling that the Royal Exeter Hotel used to be called the Royal Imperial Hotel because Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and wife of Emperor Franz Joseph who ruled Austria from 1848 until his death in 1916 once stayed there, but such was the anti German feeling by 1917 that the word ' Imperial' was dropped.-just as the House of Saxe - Coburg was renamed he House of Windsor, Gordon Cann
  • Score: 2

7:14pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Loyal2AFCB says...

bsjc1234 wrote:
The Echo worded it so beautifully when it said "Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset in 1974."
I will just re-write it for them.
Historically part of Hampshire it was forced into Dorset against its will along with Christchurch back in 1974, why? because the rest of Dorset was so poor with no major town apart from Poole it needed some wealth brought into it, this was the solution of the day.
Like the Balkans history does have a habit of returning to once what was and one day Bournemouth and Christchurch will be back where they below, geographically if not politically in Hampshire.
Bournemouth only comes under Dorset for administrative purposes. The historic county boundaries remain unchanged, which for some reason the Echo refuses to recognise.
[quote][p][bold]bsjc1234[/bold] wrote: The Echo worded it so beautifully when it said "Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset in 1974." I will just re-write it for them. Historically part of Hampshire it was forced into Dorset against its will along with Christchurch back in 1974, why? because the rest of Dorset was so poor with no major town apart from Poole it needed some wealth brought into it, this was the solution of the day. Like the Balkans history does have a habit of returning to once what was and one day Bournemouth and Christchurch will be back where they below, geographically if not politically in Hampshire.[/p][/quote]Bournemouth only comes under Dorset for administrative purposes. The historic county boundaries remain unchanged, which for some reason the Echo refuses to recognise. Loyal2AFCB
  • Score: 0
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