BOSCOMBE'S connection to the Shelley family was celebrated when a heritage plaque was unveiled at The Old School House in Gladstone Road.

Councillors, traders and members of the public were present for the ceremony, which celebrated the family's role in the early development of the area.

The school was originally called the Boscombe British and Foreign School, and was built by leading Victorian non-conformists Frederick Moser and Sir Percy Florence Shelley for all the children of Boscombe, regardless of religion, party or sect.

The foundation stone was laid by Sir Percy Florence Shelley and Mr Moser on August 1878 when the Christchurch Times described it as "one of the most ornamental as well as useful buildings in Boscombe."

It has since been used as a local authority theatre in education base, a community and arts centre and is currently the home of Arts by the Sea.

Harry Seccombe of the charity Boscombe Arts said: "The Shelleys were very important in the area and were involved in far more than just the Manor.

"The clifftop gardens were donated by Lady Shelley and the architect responsible for the manor house became the first town planner in Bournemouth. Much of what the town looks like today came from the Shelley family."

Mr Seccombe said Boscombe Arts is now looking forward to getting involved in a Shelley festival planned for next year.

An ensemble from Bournemouth Concert Brass was on hand to provide a fanfare when the plaque was unveiled and guests included Bournemouth's deputy mayor Chris Mayne and local poet Steve Biddle.