Poole, England

Poole is a coastal town and seaport in Dorset, England. It adjoins Bournemouth to the west. Covering 64.88 sq km (25.1 sq mi), it has a population of 142,000 people (2012 estimate), making it the second biggest town in Dorset after Bournemouth, within the South East Dorset urban area which has a population of some 400,000 people.

More on Poole

The name Poole comes from Old English

pool, meaning creek or pool, and itself comes from the Celtic bol. The area has been inhabited for 2,500 years. Previously occupying higher ground, the Durotriges tribe of Celts moved to the area around the mouth of the River Frome around the 3rd century BC, establishing a fishing village there. At that time, the main settlement in the area was Wareham.

By the time of the Norman conquest in 1066, Poole had grown into a thriving seaport while Wareham was in decline. Its name was mentioned for the first time in a document dating from 1196. The town prospered particularly from the 16th to the early 19th century, as it developed trading links with new colonies in North America, particularly settlements in Newfoundland, which exported fish back to Poole for distribution to a number of European countries.

A second wave of prosperity swept Poole with the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, turning it into a bustling harbour for mercantile activities. It also became one of the early tourist destinations, before Bournemouth emerged to surpass it. Poole nonetheless benefited from the growth of Bournemouth, as it created a large demand for the goods it produced.

The post World War II decades were characterized by a long period of decline. Shortsighted town planning of the 1950s and 60s caused the demolition of many historic buildings to make way for modern public housing. Only in the 1970s that conservation awareness helped preserve the remainder of Poole’s most notable buildings from the sleighhammer.

Visiting Poole

Coming from London, take the M3 motorway until Eastleigh, then continue on the M27 followed by the A31. At the roundabout at Oakley, exit the A31 and head south on the A341 to reach Poole.

Places of Interest to visit in Poole

  1. Poole Bridge
    Bridge erected in 1927 on the western end of the quay.

  2. Poole Guildhall
    Built in 1761, this is a Grade II listed building that has played significant parts in the town’s history.

  3. Poole Park
    Largest urban park in Poole.

  4. Poole Quay
    Waterfront area, today often bustling with activity. It is lined with warehouses that have now been readapted as shops and restaurants.

  5. St Aldhelm Parish Church
    Gothic Revival style chruch building from 1892.

  6. St James Church
    Gothic Revival style church building dating to 1820, today a Grade II listed building.

  7. St Osmunds Church
    Byzantine-style church building that was originally an Anglican church until taken over by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 2005.

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