Your memories of Dorset

Use this section to share your memories of Dorset with the world. If you have moved away from the area, let us know what you miss most. Or if you still live in the county, let us know what memories you have of the people, places and events of Dorset in the past.

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Anyone remember 1949 school masters? Mr.Phillips Mr. Flat, Mr Sharp, Mr. Martin, Mr. Dodd, Headmaster Mr. Smith. I was in Mr. Phillips class and I was a prefect in those days! Poole speedway had just started as well.


Driving through Meyrick park collecting conkers on the way



Would anyone have information on an event which happened between 1946-1950 on the Newtown recreation field in between Blackburn Road & Haskells Road and near Ringwood road> It was very similar to a party, many people of all ages with food and entertainment, I do remember they had Penny Farthing bikes with people riding them. It could possible have been a celebration after the war and it may have been organized by the Conservative club on Ringwood Road. I lived at 295 Ringwood Road (later changed to 257), I also attended the club for what we called the young Britons, (I believe we sang Land of hope and Glory) the lady who used to run the club I believed lived up near what we called Branksome Heath School. I was born in 1940 so I would have been between 6 & 10years of age.



Does anyone remember an event in the 70s called The Interstate Roadshow? It was run by my dad Terry Townsend and we are looking for posters from it.



I lived in Parkstone in the 70s, children went to school in Poole Boys Grammer School and Henry Harbin. Court Hill First School and Baden Powell Middle School.



I was a photography student in Bournemouth between 1970 and 1973. I lived in Boscombe and did a project in a local laundry. I wondered if the images smith the of interest to someone who worked there.



I commenced school (Infants Coronation Avenue in 1935 - and left aged 13. Left early due to the War (one more less to teach)



I have mixed memories of living in Bournemouth (well Ferndown actually) struggling to cope with growing up and developing the confidence to meet people. In the 60s worked at Beales then J J Allen Remember going to dances Boscombe Ballrooms & Le Kilt discotheque in the Square in the company of friends Jeff Stacey & Nigel Downer, the latter I have recently re-made contact with. Wonder what happened to Jeff, he worked in the Path. Lab. at Christchurch Hospital.



For Graham Wills - I grew up in Seafield Road, Southbourne in the 40s and 50s. I went to Stourfield School and to St Christopher's Church. I was christened there and had my 1st communion there too. Cranleigh Road was quite a busy shopping area back then. Mr Chapple had the grocery shop on the corner of Cranleigh and Beaufort Roads. There was a fish and chip shop further down run by a lady whose name, I think was Mrs Warren! The family lived above the shop. There was a post office next door, hairdresser and sweet shop. Next to the sweet shop was a laundry and then a few more shops. Clarke the Butcher and a second hand shop owned my a Mr. Stone (my grandad knew him) Then there was a garage and taxi service and next to this one more shop which was Sollice or maybe Sollis the greengrocer. I went to school with their daughter Gwyneth! Everything looked so big then! I moved to Australia in 1965 but have 2 sisters in B'mouth (1 in Tuckton) so visit regularly. I always enjoy a trip down memory lane when I visit!



My memories in the 60s were wonderful going to the Kilt. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me or my sister Yvonne, she preferred going to the Ritz. I now live in the USA but I would love to go down memory lane with anyone . Hope to hear from you soon!



My memories of Parkstone and Poole; the regal. I went to Branksome Heath, then Henry Harbin. Who remembers Magnet Bowl? I was one of the engineers and loved it. We used to stay open all hours. We used to go to the Ritz , then on Sundays the Pavillion or Bell Tabarin next to the Winter Gardens. Those memories will never fade; the people i knew then, the bands - it was a magic time. They say if you can remember the 60s then you weren't there. I remember and was there. Anyone who knew me would like to contact me my email adress is there. All the best.



I lived in Wildown Road, Tuckton near Bournemouth and attended Messrs. Bennett's school in Harland red in 1946. I now live in Australia but still miss England. Would love to contact as anyone from the area. I remember a friend called Christopher Bolton and would love to hear from anyone who may know him and his family.


Email: robert,

I remember Winton & Moordown school on Coronation Avenue. First went there when I was 4 in 1941 then at 11 went to Bournemouth School (one of 3 from our year) Mr Arthur was boys school head, Mrs Deacon and Miss Brown my wartime teachers, Mr Loosemore and Mr Wilkins I remember also.

GRAHAM WILLS is looking for: MEMORIES OF SOUTHBOURNE (posted September 13, 2012)


I am looking for contacts and memories of Southbourne - Stourfields - St Christopher's Parish.

JANET is looking for: MEMORIES OF WESTBOURNE (posted May 9, 2012)


Having moved to Westbourne four years ago I have become interested in its history and would love to hear from people who used to live here and how it has changed over the years.

JANET WOODS (nee Targett)

Attended Courthill and Henry Harbin schools. Married Trevor Woods. We were both from Palmerston Road. Still married 53 years later. We moved to Australia and raised a family of four. I started writing fiction, mostly saga and historical romance, and most of them have Dorset settings. I think I've learned more about Dorset through research than I ever learned when I lived there, and yes, I do still feel as though I'm a Dorset Girl. I still have the accent to prove it. I've been back about a dozen times.

J A CHESTERS (posted April 12, 2012)

Moved to 27 Brampton Rd 1942, age 9. Schooled at Oakdale Primary till 1945, Henry Harbin Secondary Modern till 1949, joined RAF, left RAF 1988, was in Longspee house at HHSM, now see the new school have got rid of all the old houses except Jolliffe. Sad isnt it?

Michael Bull (posted March 20, 2012)


I live in the US now, but I do remember Coronation school in the late '40s. One particular teacher, Mr. Wilkins! In my class at the school, Derek Powney comes to mind. Another teacher Mr Atkins a favorite teacher, Cecil Gee, an exchange teacher from Canada. Yes, the memories come flooding back.

John Harris (posted February 27, 2012)


Just been reading through memories and remember Colin Rees. I too went to Coronation Avenue Boys School and remember Mr Blair, Mr Loosemor and the other teachers. Those were the days! Also the trip to the Festival of Britain. I lived in Highfield Road and married Anne from Brassey Road. I was in the RAF but we have been in Bournemouth since 1972. We have a married daughter and two grandchildren and now live in West Parley. Remember the Modern Cinema, the Embassy Club? Happy carefree days! Thought we knew it all! I could go on and on about the old memories that come flooding back, as I dare say, could many more people. Here's hoping others can forward their memories too.

Barry Whittaker (posted April 1, 2011)


When this generation remembers the DVD, digital cameras, iPods, cell phones, the desk top and so much more in 70 years, I start to look back at my generations memories, they were just as exciting and they never cost anywhere what today’s children say they are unable to do without.

We would go shopping and leave the doors unlocked, mother would say to us when we went out to play be careful and make sure you are back before dark. We never had a phone for her to check to see that all was well.

Living on Ringwood Road I still remember the council having the electricity installed in the homes, before that we had gas and did that ever stink. When you were lighting the mantels you had to be so careful not to break them and then if you did you were sent to the store for a new mantel only to find after playing on the way home you had broken that one.

During the winter we had to place a paraffin lantern in the toilet to stop the pipes from freezing, now knowing the possible consequences I certainly wouldn’t try it. At night time you went to bed with a candle, again certainly not the safest object but at the time we never had a flash light, at least you were able to see yourself to bed. The kitchen was covered in red tiles, man were they ever cold.

My job when I was 11-years-old was to get down on my hands and knees and scrub them with a big bristle brush. Hot water for a bath came from my mother having to place cold water in the boiler which she had previously used for washing the clothes, heating it and then having to bowl the water into the bathtub. I was the unfortunate one I was third in line so I had to wait until my sister and brother had finished with the water.

Oh, how I remember those strong coal men who used to throw hundred weight sacks of coal on their shoulder bring it to the house and dump it inside the back door leaving a thick black smog for a couple of minutes.

Remembering the coal man used a horse and cart, when he finished it was our job to go and see if the horses had left anything for the garden fertiliser.

The times we would ride on our bicycle down to Poole Quay and buy sprats just brought in from outside the harbour, no bags we just used newspaper.

I remember waking up sometimes with a knock on the door, my mother standing in the doorway and haggling over the price of onions, when as we used to call them the Jonny onion men had arrived from Brittany coming around the streets on their bicycles with onions hanging down the side.

We had innocent fun, no one got hurt when you went scrumping for apples, that’s when you found out how fast you could run. The parents knew where you had been after a couple of days they soon found out, and then you got hell.

What a laugh we had when we were allowed to stay up late and listen to the boxing matches coming from the United States, especially if it was Turpin fighting. Before this was possible it was my job to cycle to the Ironmongers and get the accumulators (glass jar batteries) charged for the radio. Remember we never had electricity. Since there was no TV, the radio as such was our entertainment in the house. As the batteries only lasted a few days the radio getting weaker, you all crowded around trying to listen especially when it was an episode of special agent Dick Barton.

How about those Saturday mornings, going to the Regal cinema on Ashley Road, sixpence downstairs nine pence in the balcony to watch Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, Tex Ritter everyone cheering when the good guys won.

To think you made your own entertainment, because if you didn’t, no one else would!/p>

JAN GANLEY (nee Dyer) (posted November 16, 2010)


I was born in Poole in 1947 and lived in the Oakdale area until 1969 when I came to Australia with my husband. We have lived in Darwin for 40 years, went through Cyclone Tracy and lost everything but we were safe with our three daughters and had a son 7 months later.

I love Australia but Poole/ Bournemouth will always be my home. I went to Oakdale Primary school and then Henry Harbin High school (I loved it there) I worked in Bobby's in Bournemouth in the office and also Fox and Sons up Old Christchurch Road where I was the telephonist. I saw the Beatles at the Winter Gardens and my boyfriend and I spent many a night at the stage door waiting for autographs. I loved the Woolworths shop in Parkstone and the smell of the wood floor was something I will never forget. Sad that these stores had to close. I have been home to the UK about 23 times (lost count) and I am always so at peace with myself when I am there...especially walking through the Bournemouth Gardens and the sea front... oh memories.

BRYN DAVIES (posted August 14, 2009)


A bit different in Boscombe now but my brothers,Graham (Lanky) Raymond and I lived in St. Clements Road for about 15 years, leaving early 50s.

We all went to St.Johns, now where the Sovereign Centre is.

I have 2 of the chimney pots in my garden by St.Malo which my wife bought from the Demo contractors.

Easter time we would be off down Sea road to the beach and Chalky Chine, we used to get on old sheets of corrogated iron and slide down the cliff face. When hard-up and desperate for some chips, 3d, I confess to pinching a bunch of daffodils and presenting them to a generous neighbour in Churchill Road as I was sure of the 3d. Not a hanging offence I hope?

We used to be able to play football/cricket etc over Kings Park without all the rules and health and safety regs of today. A special was a bag of broken bicuits from Powells in Palmerston Road and a bag of spuds from Towers and off to Seven Oaks. Light a bonfire,roast the spuds and enjoy ourselves.

We also had an Aluminium canoe, built by our father who worked at De.Havilands and we used to go out from Tuckton on our own. I don't think we caused any harm and at least we learnt about life. Nowadays our grandchildren daren't do any of those things which in hindsight I probably wouldn't let them.

COLIN REES (posted June 29, 2009)


I went to the school in Coronation Avenue around 1946/47 and completed all my school days at both Coronation Avenue and Oswald Road.

My first job was as an apprentice coach builder for Lee Motors in Wimborne Road, near where the old Ritz Cinema used to be.

I lived in Jameson Road, Winton until getting married in 1965. Then we had a flat in Charminster Road before buying a bungalow in Parham Road, Ensbury Park.

We moved to Southampton in the 70s where I have lived with my wife and family ever since.

Many happy memories of the old school and some of the teaching staff I can remember: Mr Blair, Headmaster Mr Loosemore and Mr Wright.

PATRICK BROWNE (posted January 12, 2009)


Don’t sign-up for this silly 20p ‘Wonder of Woolies’!

In the mid-1970s I took a summer job operating a “Personality Computer” in Woolies on The Square in Bournemouth with an extremely attractive but unpunctual French girl. You could tell it was a computer because it was the size of two wardrobes, had lots of red lights and four large spools. The computer could tell your personality from your signature!

We held prime position inside the main store window and all clients had to do to have their true selves revealed was to hand over 20p, sign their name on a computer-looking card which I popped into the machine. The computer then “read” the writing, the lights flashed, the spools spun and a stylus travelled down a printed card diverting left and right to indicate the characteristics of the signatory. The most negative traits were those classic interview answers, such as “stickler for detail” "procrastinator" or “over-zealous”, while the positives included gems like “good in bed”, “flirt” and “sexy”.

The majority of clients loved and laughed at the results, and I joyously, never-to-be-forgottenly witnessed one girl wee herself silly in the aisle of teenage joy. Germans, however, simply did not get it and insisted on deeper analysis and/or an inspection of the machine, or worse, their money back. Some clients also complained that their second attempt differed from their first, prompting the stock reply that their personality had changes since yesterday.

Business was not always brisk and we would bark for customers in competition with the nearby waffle machine demonstrators flogging “The Moreish Machine”! The quiet times were also spent observing the security guard as he dipped and ducked Pink Panther style while stalking shoplifters until their pavement confrontations.

One Saturday, as I frustratingly waited for my never-early French assistant, a satisfied client declared that she was doing an article on modern seaside entertainments and could she interview me, learn more about the machine and talk to our customers. Being of a modest disposition, and eager to get away, I suggested she talked to my ever late arriving French colleague and scarpered for my train.

Returning on the Bank Holiday Monday I was shocked to be confronted by the screamingly angry store Manager who ranted that I and the firkin computer had 30 minutes to get off the firkin premises and he rammed a copy of the News of the World into my chest. Roaring across two pages was the headline “Don’t sign-up for this silly 20p Wonder of Woolies!”

Thirty odd years on I still hurt at cheap investigative journalism, but worse, much worse, at the thought that my attractive French co-worker really believed that I was a “procrastinator”, while I will never know if she was “good in bed”. Strangers know the answers to both now, but we will never know. I cry for Woolies, but I cry more for my French Bournemouth of long ago.

FRASER PAKES (posted: Nov 17, 08)


I remember Bournemouth in the '40s.

Standing with my father looking at the bombed Beale's.

Seeing the Shamrock, Rambler and Charlie's Cars coaches come roaring up and out of the underground ramp of the bus centre.

Going into the brand new Fortes in the Square.

Looking in the windows of the Army Surplus store when it was the real WWII stuff freshly arrived.

Hearing the live music coming from the balcony in the Boscombe Arcade.

The teacher coming into the classroom and saying: "The beaches are open again."

CAROLE MOORE (posted 20.10.08)


My Grandmother ran a boarding house on Ashley Road during the 1950-60s called 'little Ireland'. I'm told all the Irish truckers used to stay there. I really would love to know more about the history of the place and the people who stayed there

LYNETTE (posted April 14, 08)


I was one of the three Wheeler girls, Susan, Kim and myself. We lived in Havelock Road, Branksome. My parents Tony and Pat were well known in the area - my Father for his collection of Tibetan stamps and his work at the SEB and as a family for our long holidays abroad.

I went to Ashley Cross School. Sue and I used to go clubbing in Bournemouth in the late 60s to Le Kilt and Samanthas. I was a real hippy child and used to hang around the square and go to the Winter Gardens and the Pavilion to see bands such as John Mayall and Free.

I’ve had lots of adventures since and now live in Alicante region, Spain. I must write about all this soon, before I forget. Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me.