IT may now be one of the world’s most expensive places to live, but just a century ago, much of Sandbanks was still undeveloped.

Among its few residents were the dwellers of shanties and huts that had been built without permission on the peninsula.

A book by a long-time resident tells the story of the homes that were built in the central section of that peninsula and those who lived in them.

Sandbanks: The Forgotten Middle 1900-1970, by Andrew J Philpott, focuses on four roads in the central part of the peninsula – Brownsea Road, Grasmere Road, Seacombe Road and Salter Road.

As well as explaining when the homes were built and what happened to them, it records all the residents whose names appeared on the electoral register up until 1970.

READ MORE: Picture of the Day: Sandbanks from above circa 1955

Mr Philpott has known the area well since he was a boy, growing up at a cottage called Sandy in Seacombe Road.

Bournemouth Echo: The central island of Sandbanks 1912The central island of Sandbanks 1912

“Sandbanks was a wonderful place to live as a child back then, as there were three large undeveloped central areas of sand dune, two of them with small areas of pinewood where we could play and, of course, with the beaches and harbour-side boatyards; the biggest decision we had to make was where to go and play next,” he writes.

The idea for the book arose when Mr Philpott decided to check how many Sandbanks properties still displayed the names recorded on Rumsey & Rumsey property maps from the mid-1930s and 1954. He found 46 names survived, although some are now on apartment blocks or houses built on the sites of earlier properties.

He went on to trace the original names and build dates of all Sandbanks properties, and believes he found every property record for the area up until 1970.

Other books had already covered the peninsula, but Mr Philpott chose to focus on its central section.

The peninsula sand-spit, he notes, was formed almost entirely of sand that had eroded from the cliffs of Poole Bay and drifted eastward. The erosion was only halted after walls and proms were constructed along the seafront.

Two of the highest coastal sand dune peaks in Britain stood on the peninsula, some 70-90ft above sea level.

Mr Philpott remembers playing on the dunes on a large vacant plot at the junction of Brownsea and Panorama Roads. A newspaper cutting from 1908 noted that the dunes were “wonderful places for toboggan rides”.

The internal roads of the peninsula were laid out between 1907 and 1911, but building only began in earnest at the end of World War One. In the early days, there was much local concern about a “bungalow town” being created, with some raising fears about the “Bohemianism of several residents of Sandbanks”.

Bournemouth Echo: IDENTIFIED: Seacombe and Grasmere Roads 1927IDENTIFIED: Seacombe and Grasmere Roads 1927

The area behind the dunes was colonised with tiny shacks wooden bungalows built without permission.

In January 1926, a warning was issued to those living there: “In further anticipation of the big change to come at Sandbanks – following the completion of the ferry, a general ‘house-cleaning’ is instigated. In particular, the shanties and huts are given notice that they have only a further three years of freedom here.”

Mr Philpott goes on to detail every home that sprang up in the central roads in the coming decades.

Readers will come across names such as Mansard Court, Brownsea View, the Mystery House, Sangalor, Sandyknap, Fairwinds, Blue Birds Nest, Bette ‘Ole’ and Comfy Cottage.

Among the names in the book are those of the author’s own family.

Mr Philpott’s parents Louis and Mercie Philpott moved to Sandbanks in 1941, renting a bungalow called Sandy, in Seacombe Road. His father worked for the Surrey-based grocer Hudson Bros and had been asked to manage its branch in Canford Cliffs.

The Philpotts already had once son, David, when they moved to Poole. Andrew was born in 1943, followed by Gwendolyn, Paul and Elizabeth.

Louis Philpott had epilepsy so did not serve in the war. Forbidden to drive, he kept fit by cycling everywhere. He later managed Hudson Bros’ main Bournemouth shop in Gervis Place and went into business on his own when he took over a grocery in Ashley Road, Parkstone, delivering to many residents of Sandbanks.

Louis and Mercie eventually got a mortgage and bought their bungalow for around £1,100, living there until they moved into care in 1996.

Andrew recalls: “We had a very strict upbringing as regards Sundays. However our parents were very easy going during the rest of the week and we probably didn’t really appreciate just how fortunate we were to grow up in Sandbanks at that time, with the beaches and so much undeveloped land where we could play with our friends, but we certainly know now.”

This article was originally published in 2017