TODAY only a handful of private schools are registered in Bournemouth but over the decades the resort has been home to no fewer than 200.

A new study by Peter Treleaven, who lives in Poole, looks at the schools that have played host to thousands of former pupils.

Some have gone on to fame - like Group Captain Townsend, once romantically linked with Princess Margaret. He was a former pupil of Wychwood School in Braidley Road.

The earliest Bournemouth school dates from 1869 and Treleaven gives mention to the early specialist "colleges" such as The Bournemouth Conseratoire of Music, the Carlotta School of Cookery and the Academy of Election and Mine.

But others offered a broader general education. To attract parents, they had to be in suitable districts that were easily accessible to boarders.

"The great majority of Bournemouth's private schools, however, were very small establishments - usually private houses where the former lounge, dining and bedrooms had been converted into classrooms," writes Treleaven.

His study lists five private school registered by 1874, including Miss Sweetapple's at Clarendon House, Christchurch Road, and Bournemouth Preparatory School in Poole Road.

By 1900, the number had risen to 75. Among them could be found the Anglo-French School (for daughters of gentlemen) in Manor Road and the Bournemouth Collegiate School in Norwich Avenue.

This total was exceeded by the 80 schools registered between the years 1900 and 1935 that included, for example, Mrs Glencourt Runge's in Poole Road and Sherborne College in Walpole Road.

By 1952 the figure was down to 24, including Homefield School for Boys at Iford Lane and The Park School for Girls in Queens Park South Drive.

And 24 years later, it was down to nine.

Those schools registered in 1976 were Homefield, Park Schools, Pinelands Co-ed, Queensmount, Ringwood Grammar Day School for Boys (founded 1577), St Martin's, St Mary's Gate, Talbot Heath, Talbot House Prep and Wentworth Milton Mount.

Now there are even fewer.

Treleaven's interesting research checks out who attended such schools as Ascham School in Gervis Road in 1869.

The addresses of new boys here included Sherborne Castle, Piccadilly and Eaton Square, London, and Townsville, Queensland. Only two boys listed were from local families.

And he discovers what careers some went on to - from military and diplomatic service to orange-growing in Florida.

Treleaven's booklet includes pupils' poetry and reminiscences of old boys and girls of Bournemouth private schools.

  • The Private Schools of Bournemouth: A Resume by Peter Treleaven is available from the author (telephone 01202 737439) at £5 (p&p £3).