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About Bournemouth


Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town on the south coast of England directly to the east of the Jurassic Coast, a 95-mile (153 km) World Heritage Site. According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 187,503 making it the largest settlement in Dorset. WithPoole to the west and Christchurch in the east, Bournemouth forms theSouth East Dorset conurbation, which has a total population of over 467,000 Urban Area.

Before it was founded in 1810 by Lewis Tregonwell, the area was a deserted heathland occasionally visited by fishermen and smugglers. Initially marketed as a health resort, the town received a boost when it appeared in Dr Granville's book, The Spas of England. Bournemouth's growth really accelerated with the arrival of the railway and it became a recognised town in 1870. Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset with the reorganisation of local government in 1974. Since 1997, the town has been administered by a unitary authority, giving it autonomy fromDorset County Council although it remains however part of the ceremonial county. The local council is Bournemouth Borough Council.

The town centre has notable Victorian architecture and the 202-foot (62 m) spire of St Peter's Church, one of three Grade I listed churches in the borough, is a local landmark. Bournemouth's location has made it a popular destination for tourists, attracting over five million visitors annually with its beaches and popular nightlife. The town is also a regional centre of business, home of the Bournemouth International Centre or BIC, and a financial sector that is worth more than £1,000 million in Gross Value Added.


Section of a 1759 map of Hampshire by Isaac Taylor, showing the Manor of Christchurch and the area around the Bourne chine.


In the 12th century the region around the mouth of the River Bourne was part of the Hundred of Holdenhurst. The hundred later became the Liberty of Westover when it was also extended to include the settlements of North Ashley, Muscliff, Muccleshill,Throop, Iford and Tuckton, and incorporated into the Manor of Christchurch. Although the Dorset and Hampshire region surrounding it had been the site of human settlement for thousands of years, Westover was largely a remote and barren heathland before 1800.  In 1574 the Earl of Southampton noted that the area was "Devoid of all habitation", and as late as 1795 the Duke of Rutland recorded that "... on this barren and uncultivated heath there was not a human to direct us".


Photochrom of Invalids' Walk, 1890s

Photochrom of the entrance to the pier, 1890s


The Waterfront Cinema and Leisure Complex. (Now demolished)




Bournemouth Beach and Boscombe Pier



Bournemouth is located approximately 94 miles (151 km) southwest of Londonat 50°43′12″N 1°52′48″WCoordinates: 50°43′12″N 1°52′48″W.  The borough borders the neighbouring boroughs of Poole and Christchurch to the west and east respectively and the East Dorset District to the north. Poole Bay lies to the South. The River Stour forms a natural boundary to the north and east, terminating at Christchurch Harbour;while the River Bourne rises in Poole and flows through the middle of Bournemouth town centre, into the English Channel. The towns of Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch form the South East Dorset conurbation with a combined population of over 400,000. Bournemouth is both a retail and commercial centre. Areas within Bournemouth include: Boscombe, Kinson, Southbourne, Springbourne, Throop,Westbourne and Winton.

The area's geology has little variety, comprising almost entirely of Eocene clays which, prior to urbanisation, supported a heathland environment. Patches of the original heath still remain, notably Turbary Common, a 36 Hectare site much of which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This heathland habitat is home to all six species of native reptile, the Dartford Warbler and some important flora such as Sundew and Bog Asphodel. Small populations of Exmoor pony and Shetland cattle help to maintain the area.  Bournemouth is located directly to the east of the Jurassic Coast, a 95-mile (153 km) section of coastline designated a World Heritage Site in 2001. Bournemouth's coastline stretches from Sandbanks to Christchurch Harbour and comprises mainly sandy beaches backed by gravel and sandy clay cliffs. These cliffs are cut by a number of chines which provide natural access to the shore.At the easternmost point lies Hengistbury Head, a narrow peninsula that forms the southern shore of Christchurch Harbour. It is a local nature reserve and the site of a Bronze Age settlement.



St Peter's Church, completed in 1879


The Grade II listed entrance to Boscombe Pier. "Britain's coolest pier" according to fashion designer Wayne Hemingway.



The town has a professional football club, AFC Bournemouth, known as the Cherries, who were promoted to the Championship in 2013, AFC Bournemouth play at the Goldsands Stadium near Boscombe in Kings' Park, 2 miles (3 km) east of the town centre.

Bournemouth Rugby Club, which competes in the National League Division Two South, has its home at the Bournemouth Sports Club, next to Bournemouth Airport, where it hosts an annual Rugby sevens tournament and festival.[ Bournemouth Cricket Club also plays at Bournemouth Sports Club and is reported to be one of the biggest cricket clubs in the country. Its first team plays in the Southern Premier League. Dean Park is a former county cricket ground, once home to Hampshire County Cricket Club and later Dorset County Cricket Club. Today it is a venue for university cricket.

The BIC has become a venue for a round of the Premier League Darts Championship organised by the Professional Darts Corporation.

The Westover and Bournemouth Rowing Club, is the town's coastal rowing club. Established in 1865, it is reported to be the oldest sporting association in the county. The club regularly competes in regattas organised by the Hants and Dorset Amateur Rowing Association which take place on the South Coast of England between May and September.

Other watersports popular in Poole Bay include sailing and surfing, and there are a number of local schools for the beginner to learn either sport. Bournemouth has the third largest community of surfers in the UK and in 2009 an artificial surf reef, one of only four in the world, was constructed there. The reef failed to deliver the promised grade 5 wave, suffered a series of delays and ran over budget, finally costing £3.2 million. It has since closed.







The Bournemouth local education authority was first set up in 1903 and remained in existence until local government wasreorganised in 1974 when Bournemouth lost its County Borough status and became part of the county of Dorset. Under thelater reforms of 1997, Bournemouth became a unitary authority and the Bournemouth local education authority was re-established.

The local council operates a two-tier comprehensive system whereby pupils attend one of the 26 primary schools in the borough before completing their education at secondary school. Bournemouth is one of the minority of local authorities in England still to maintain selective education, with two grammar schools (one for boys, one for girls) and ten secondary modern/comprehensive schools. There are also a small number of independent schools in the town, and a further education college. Bournemouth has two universities: Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth , both of which are located across the boundary in neighbouring Poole.

In 2012, 60.7% of the borough's school leavers gained 5 GCSEs of grade C or above. This was slightly better than the national average of 59.4% and above the average for the rest of Dorset, with 58.8% of pupils from the local authority of Poole, and 54.1% from the remainder of the county, managing to do likewise.






The 2011 census revealed that 57.1% of the borough's population are Christian. With all other religions combined only totalling 4.7%, Christianity is by far the largest religious group.  40% of the borough falls within the Church of England Diocese of Salisbury.[182] The remainder, to the east, belongs to the Diocese of Winchester. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth incorporates most of Bournemouth with the exception of two small parishes to the west which are covered by the Diocese of Plymouth.[184][185]

The borough has several notable examples of Victorian church architecture including the previously mentioned St. Peter's, the churchyard of which contains the grave of the author Mary Shelley; St Stephen's Church, completed in 1898 for services under the influence of the Oxford Movemen and St Clement's, one of the first churches to be designed by John Dando Sedding, built in Boscombe in 1871. To serve a rapidly expanding population a third church was built in the town centre in 1891. St Augustin's church was commissioned by Henry Twells who was 'priest-in-charge' there until 1900. The largest church in the town is the Richmond Hill St Andrew's Church, part of the United Reformed Church. Built in 1865 and enlarged in 1891, it has a seating capacity of 1,100 and is unusually ornate for a non-conformist church. 

Few purpose-built places of worship exist in borough for faiths other than Christianity although with a higher proportion of Jewish residents than the national average, there are three synagogues. Chabad-Lubavitch of Bournemouth is a branch of the worldwide movement. The Bournemouth Reform Synagogue, formerly known as Bournemouth New Synagogue, is a Reform Jewish synagogue with over 700 members. There is also the architecturally notable Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation synagogue built in 1911 with an Art Nouveau take on the Moorish Revival style.

The Bournemouth Islamic Centre provides information, support and a place of worship for the Islamic community. There is also a separate mosque in the town.

Those who are not religious, over 30% of the population, are welcomed by the Dorset Humanists who hold bi-monthly meetings in the borough and are affiliated to the British Humanist Association.


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