A RULING which prevents a Poole association from using the town’s coat of arms in its logo has been criticised by residents who have questioned the decision.

As reported, the Poole-Cherbourg Twinning Association were told by the College of Arms they would not be allowed to use the town’s coat of arms in any of its logos due to heraldry rules.

This comes as attempts are being made to revitalise links between Poole and the French town and a new logo containing the arms formed part of those attempts.

The College of Arms, which regulates national use, said the current coat of arms is only available to the principle corporate body which it is registered to. The arms have belonged to the Charter Trustees of Poole since the abolition of Poole Borough Council in 2019.

Bournemouth Echo: Current coat of arms of Poole. Picture: Charter Trustees of PooleCurrent coat of arms of Poole. Picture: Charter Trustees of Poole

Poole residents quickly slammed the decision which they referred to as archaic. One person said: “So the people of Poole can no longer use their own town's coat of arms because the College of Arms says so? Are they mad?”

Others referenced how the design is visible in other seemingly unofficial capacities, such as on the logo for Poole Grammar School and on the front of the Poole Arms pub.

Resident and heraldry enthusiast Edward Teather told the Echo: “Take a wander around Poole and you will find the arms on lampposts, road signs, museum, library, police station, and for my years at Poole Grammar School it was embroidered upon my blazer.

“Visual identity is more important now than it was in the Middle Ages, and timeless identification can be readily achieved through a coat of arms.

“While a coat of arms is the property of a single person or institution, it has always been common practice for close family to use the same arms.”

Bournemouth Echo: Welcome to Poole sign on the A338 Wessex Way. Picture: GoogleWelcome to Poole sign on the A338 Wessex Way. Picture: Google

A recent meeting of the Charter Trustees for Poole agreed, where members said there was plenty of evidence that the coat of arms was in use elsewhere across the town.

Councillor Andy Hadley said the College of Arms’ ruling was “disappointing” and Cllr Marcus Andrews – twinning association chair – said the group would have to accept the decision.

However, resident Edward Teather added: “In the case of Poole, I argue that there is no need to mark a difference between the various branches of what could be considered the town’s institutional family.

“Victorian railway companies often used coats of arms without any connection to the bodies they belonged to. For example, the Somerset and Dorset Railway used the arms of Bath and Dorchester. These clearly provide identification through known heraldry and the College of Arms permitted them, as it should allow the twinning association to use Poole’s coat of arms.”