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Coordinates: 50°43′N 1°59′W / 50.717°N 1.983°W / 50.717; -1.983

—  borough and unitary authority  —
The old Town Cellars and Custom House on Poole Quay

Coat of arms of the borough council
Motto: "Ad Morem Villae De Poole" "According to the custom of the Town of Poole"
Poole shown within England
Coordinates: 50°43′N 1°59′W / 50.717°N 1.983°W / 50.717; -1.983
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South West England
Ceremonial county Dorset
Admin HQ Poole (Civic Centre)
Founded 1 April 1997
 - Type Unitary authority
 - Governing body Poole Borough Council
 - Council leader Brian Leverett (C)
 - Mayor Cllr. Charles Meachin(LD)
 - MPs: Robert Syms (C)
Annette Brooke (LD)
 - Total 25.1 sq mi (64.88 km2)
Population (2008 est.)
 - Total 138,800 (Ranked 140th)
 - Density 5,524.4/sq mi (2,133/km2)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
Postcode areas BH
Area code(s) 01202
ISO 3166-2 GB-POL
ONS code 00HP
OS grid reference SZ009906

Poole (About this sound pronunciation ) is a large coastal town and seaport in Dorset on the south coast of England. The town is 32 kilometres (20 mi) east of Dorchester, and Bournemouth adjoins Poole to the east. The Borough of Poole was made a unitary authority in 1997, gaining administrative independence from Dorset County Council. The town had a population of 138,288 according to the 2001 census, making it the second largest settlement in Dorset.

Human settlement in the area dates back to before the Iron Age. The earliest recorded use of the town’s name was in the 12th century when the town began to emerge as an important port, prospering with the introduction of the wool trade. In later centuries the town had important trade links with North America and at its peak in the 18th century it was one of the busiest ports in Britain. During the Second World War the town was one of the main departing points for the D-Day landings of the Normandy Invasion.

Poole is a tourist resort, attracting visitors with its large natural harbour, history, the Poole Arts Centre and award-winning beaches. The town has a busy commercial port with cross-Channel freight and passenger ferry services. The headquarters of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker, and Merlin Entertainments are located in Poole, and the Royal Marines have a base in the town's harbour. Despite their names, Poole is the current home of the The Arts University College at Bournemouth, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a significant part of Bournemouth University.



The Poole Logboat, a 2000 year old monoxylon discovered during dredging works in Poole Harbour.

The town's name derives from a corruption of the Celtic word bol and the Old English word pool meaning a place near a pool or creek.[1] Variants include Pool, Pole, Poles, Poll, Polle, Polman, and Poolman. The area around modern Poole has been inhabited for the past 2,500 years. During the 3rd century BC, Celts known as the Durotriges moved from hilltop settlements at Maiden Castle and Badbury Rings to heathland around the River Frome and Poole Harbour.[2] The Romans landed at Poole during their conquest of Britain in the 1st century and took over an Iron Age settlement at Hamworthy, an area just west of the modern town centre.[3] In Anglo-Saxon times, Poole was included in the Kingdom of Wessex. The settlement was used as a base for fishing and the harbour a place for ships to anchor on their way to the River Frome and the important Anglo-Saxon town of Wareham.[4] Poole experienced two large-scale Viking invasions during this era: in 876, Guthrum sailed his fleet through the harbour to attack Wareham, and in 1015, Canute began his conquest of England in Poole Harbour, using it as a base to raid and pillage Wessex.[5][6]

Following the Norman conquest of England, Poole rapidly grew into a busy port as the importance of Wareham declined.[7] The town was part of the manor of Canford, but does not exist as an identifiable entry in the Domesday Book.[8] The earliest written mention of Poole occurred on a document from 1196 describing the newly built St James's Chapel in 'La Pole'.[9] The Lord of the Manor, Sir William Longspée, sold a charter of liberties to the burgesses of Poole in 1248 to raise funds for his participation in the Seventh Crusade.[4] Consequently, Poole gained a small measure of freedom from feudal rule and acquired the right to appoint a mayor and hold a court within town. Poole's growing importance was recognised in 1433 when it was awarded Staple port status by King Henry VI, enabling the port to begin exporting wool and in turn granting a license for the construction of a town wall.[10] In 1568, Poole gained further autonomy when it was granted legal independence from Dorset and made a county corporate by the Great Charter of Elizabeth I.[11] During the English Civil War, Poole's puritan stance and its merchant's opposition to ship money tax introduced by King Charles I, led to the town declaring for Parliament.[12] Poole escaped any large-scale attack and with the Royalists on the brink of defeat in 1646, the Parliamentary garrison from Poole laid siege to and captured the nearby Royalist stronghold at Corfe Castle.[13][14]

Beech Hurst in the town centre, a Georgian mansion built in 1798 for a wealthy Newfoundland merchant.

Poole established successful commerce with the North American colonies in the 16th century, including the important fisheries of Newfoundland.[11] The trade with Newfoundland grew steadily to meet the demand for fish from the Catholic countries of Europe. Poole's share of this trade varied but the most prosperous period started in the early 18th century and lasted until the early 19th century. The trade was a three-cornered route; ships sailed to Newfoundland with salt and provisions, then carried dried and salted fish to Europe before returning to Poole with wine, olive oil, and salt.[15] By the early 18th century Poole had more ships trading with North America than any other English port and vast wealth was brought to Poole's merchants.[16] This prosperity supported much of the development which now characterises the Old Town; many of the medieval buildings were replaced with Georgian mansions and terraced housing.[15][17] The end of the Napoleonic Wars and the conclusion of the War of 1812 ended Britain's monopoly over the Newfoundland fisheries and other nations took over services provided by Poole's merchants at a lower cost. Poole's Newfoundland trade rapidly declined and within a decade most merchants had ceased trading.[18][19]

Poole Quay was the busy centre of the town's maritime trade.

The town grew rapidly during the industrial revolution as urbanisation took place and the town became an area of mercantile prosperity and overcrowded poverty. At the turn of the 19th century, nine out of ten workers were engaged in harbour activities, but as the century progressed ships became too large for the shallow harbour and the port lost business to the deep water ports at Liverpool, Southampton and Plymouth.[16] Poole's first railway station opened in Hamworthy in 1847 and later extended to the centre of Poole in 1872, effectively ending the port's busy coastal shipping trade.[19] The beaches and landscape of southern Dorset and south-west Hampshire began to attract tourists during the 19th century and the villages to the east of Poole began to grow and merge until the seaside resort of Bournemouth emerged. Although Poole did not become a resort like many of its neighbours, it continued to prosper as the rapid expansion of Bournemouth created a large demand for goods manufactured in Poole.[20]

During World War II, Poole was the third largest embarkation point for D-Day landings of Operation Overlord, and afterwards served as a base for supplies to the allied forces in Europe.[11] Eighty-one landing craft containing American troops from the 29th Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Rangers departed Poole Harbour for Omaha Beach.[21] Poole was also an important centre for the development of Combined Operations and the base for a U.S. Coast Guard rescue flotilla of 60 cutters.[22] Much of the town suffered from German bombing during the war and years of neglect in the post-war economic decline. Major redevelopment projects began in the 1950s and 1960s when large areas of slum properties were demolished and replaced with modern public housing and facilities. Many of Poole's historic buildings were demolished during this period, particularly in the Old Town area of Poole. Consequently, a 6-hectare (15-acre) Conservation Area was created in the town centre in 1975 to preserve Poole's most notable buildings.[23][24]




On 1 April 1997, the town was made a unitary authority following a review by the Local Government Commission for England (1992), and became once again administratively independent from Dorset.[11] The borough reverted to its previous title of the Borough and County of the Town of Poole, which recalled its status as a county corporate before the implementation of the Local Government Act 1888. For local elections, 42 councillors are elected across 16 wards and elections take place every four years.[25] The last election took place in May 2007, resulting in the Conservatives retaining overall control.[26] The Council is made up of 25 Conservative and 17 Liberal Democrat councillors and Poole's Council Leader is Brian Leverett (Conservative).[25] Poole's Sheriff, a position created by the town's charter of 1568 and just one of 15 Sheriffs in the country, is Conservative Councillor Chris Bultee. The Mayor is Charles Meachin, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Poole since 1996.[27] In 2008, the Audit Commission rated the Borough of Poole one of the top performing councils in the United Kingdom.[28] The council was described as "improving well" and was given a four star overall performance rating.[29] Poole has been twinned with the town of Cherbourg in France since 1977.[30]

Party political make-up of Poole Borough Council
   Party Seats Poole Borough Council 2007–2011
  Conservative 25                                                                                    
  Lib Dems 17                                                                                    
  Labour 0                                                                                    

Parliamentary representation

Poole is represented by two parliamentary constituencies in the House of Commons; Poole and Mid Dorset and North Poole.[31] The county constituency of Mid Dorset and North Poole was created in 1997 and includes the north east of Poole, Wimborne Minster, Wareham and extends into rural Dorset. The constituency elects one Member of Parliament; currently Annette Brooke, the Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for Children, Schools and Families.[31] At the 2005 general election, the Liberal Democrats won a majority of 5,482 and 48.7% of the vote in Mid Dorset and North Poole. The Conservatives won 36.6% of the vote, Labour 11.6% and the Independence Party 3.1%.[32] The borough constituency of Poole has existed since 1950. Previously it had been a parliamentary borough, electing two Members of Parliament from 1455 until 1865 when representation was reduced to one member. In 1885 the constituency was abolished altogether and absorbed into the East Dorset constituency until its reintroduction in 1950. Robert Syms (Conservative) has been the elected Member of Parliament for Poole since 1997.[33] At the 2005 general election, the Conservatives won a majority of 5,988 and 43.4% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats won 28.6% of the vote, Labour 23.1%, the Independence Party 3.5% and the British National Party 1.4%.[34] Poole is included in the South West England constituency for elections to the European Parliament.[31]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the Borough of Poole

The design of the coat of arms originated in a seal from the late 1300s and were recorded by Clarenceux King of Arms during the heraldic visitation of Dorset in 1563.[35] The wavy bars of black and gold represent the sea and the dolphin is sign of Poole's maritime interests.[36] The scallop shells are the emblem of Saint James and are associated with his shrine at Santiago de Compostela – a popular destination for Christian pilgrims departing from Poole Harbour in the Middle Ages.[36]

The arms were confirmed by the College of Arms on 19 June, 1948, and at the same time the crest (a mermaid supporting an anchor and holding a cannon ball) was granted. Following local government reorganisation in 1974, the 1948 arms were transferred to Poole Borough Council. In 1976, the council received the grant of supporters for the coat of arms. The supporters refer to important charters given to the town; to the left is a gold lion holding a long sword representing William Longespee who in 1248 granted the town's first charter; on the right is a dragon derived from the Royal Arms of Elizabeth I who granted Poole county corporate status in 1568. The Latin mottoAd Morem Villae De Poole, means: According to the Custom of the Town of Poole, and derives from the Great Charter of 1568.[36]


Poole is located on the shores of the English Channel and lies on the northern and eastern sides of Poole Harbour, 179 kilometres (111 mi) west-southwest of London, at 50°43′N 1°59′W / 50.72°N 1.98°W / 50.72; -1.98. The oldest part of the town (including the historic Old Town, Poole Quay and the Dolphin Shopping Centre) lies to the south-east of Holes Bay on a peninsula jutting into the harbour, although much of the land to the east of the peninsula has been reclaimed from the harbour since the mid 20th century. To the west is Upton and Corfe Mullen and across the northern border at the River Stour lies Wimborne Minster. At the eastern edge of Poole, the town abuts Bournemouth and the settlements of Kinson, Winton and Westbourne. To the south of Poole along the coast lies Poole Bay, featuring 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) of sandy beaches from Sandbanks in the west to Bournemouth in the east.

Urban areas and districts of the town
Poole is made up of numerous suburbs and neighbourhoods, many of which developed from villages or hamlets that were absorbed into Poole as the town grew.
Alderney - Bearwood - Branksome - Branksome Park - Broadstone - Canford Cliffs - Canford Heath - Creekmoor - Fleetsbridge - Hamworthy - Lilliput - Longfleet - Merley - Newtown - Oakdale - Parkstone - Penn Hill - Sandbanks - Sterte - Talbot Village - Wallisdown - Waterloo

Poole lies on Eocene clays

The natural environment of Poole is characterised by lowland heathland to the north and wooded chines and coastline to the south. The heathland habitat supports the six native British reptile species and provides a home for a range of dragonflies and rare birds. Development has destroyed much of the heath but scattered fragments remain to the north of Poole and have been designated Special Protection Areas. The town lies on unresistant Tertiary beds of Eocene clays (mainly London Clay and Gault Clay), sands and gravels.[37] The River Frome runs through this weak rock, and its many tributaries have carved out a wide estuary. At the mouth of the estuary sand spits have been deposited, enclosing the estuary to create Poole Harbour.[38]

The harbour is the largest natural harbour in Europe and the claimant of the title of second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney Harbour.[39] It is an area of international importance for nature conservation and is noted for its ecology, supporting salt marshes, mudflats and an internationally important habitat for several species of migrating bird. It has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar site as well as falling within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.[40] The harbour covers an area of 38 square kilometres (15 sq mi) and is extremely shallow: although the main shipping channels are 7.5 metres (25 ft) deep the average depth of the harbour is 48 centimetres (1.6 ft).[41][42] It contains several small islands, the largest is Brownsea Island, a nature reserve owned by the National Trust and the birthplace of the Scouting movement and location of the first Scout Camp.[43] Britain's largest onshore oil field operates from Wytch Farm on the south shore of the harbour.[44] The oil reservoirs extend under the harbour and eastwards from Sandbanks and Studland for 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) under the sea to the south of Bournemouth.[45]

Situated directly to the east of the Jurassic Coast, Poole is a gateway town to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes 153 kilometres (95 mi) of the Dorset and east Devon coast important for its geology, landforms and rich fossil record.[46] The South West Coast Path stretches for 1,014 kilometres (630 mi) from Minehead in Somerset, along the coast of Devon and Cornwall and on to Poole. The path is the United Kingdom's longest national trail at 1,014 kilometres (630 mi).[47]

A panorama of Poole town centre viewed from Parkstone


Due to its location on the south coast of England, Poole has a temperate climate with a small variation in daily and annual temperatures. The average annual mean temperature from 1971 to 2000 was 10.2 to 12 °C (50.4 to 53.6 °F).[48] The warmest months in Poole are July and August, which have an average temperature range of 12 to 22 °C (54 to 72 °F), and the coolest months are January and February, which have a range of 2 to 8.3 °C (36 to 47 °F).[49] Mean sea surface temperatures range from 6.9 °C (44.4 °F) in February to 18.5 °C (65.3 °F) in August.[50] The average annual rainfall of 592.6 millimetres (23.33 in) is well below the UK average of 1,126 millimetres (44.3 in).[51]

Weather data for Poole, Dorset, England
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 2
Precipitation mm (inches) 62.9
Source: MSN[49]


Religion  %[52]
Buddhist 0.16
Christian 74.34
Hindu 0.15
Jewish 0.32
Muslim 0.41
No religion 16.23
Other 0.32
Sikh 0.03
Not stated 8.03
Age Percentage[53]
0–4 5.2
5–14 12.2
15–29 16.0
30–44 21.5
45–64 24.8
65+ 20.3

Poole merges with several other towns to form the South East Dorset conurbation which has a combined population of 445,000, forming one of the South Coast's major urban areas.[53] The population of Poole according to the 2001 UK Census was 138,288.[54] The town has a built-up area of 65 square kilometres (25 sq mi), giving an approximate population density of 2,128 residents per square kilometre (5,532 per sq mi) in 60,512 dwellings.[55] The population has grown steadily since the 1960s, inward migration has accounted for most of the town’s growth and a significant part of this has been for retirement.[56] Housing stock has increased by over 100% in the past 40 years from 30,000 in 1961 to approximately 62,700 in 2004.[56] Compared to the rest of England and Wales, Poole has an above average number of residents aged 65+ (20.3%), but this is less than the Dorset average of 22.2%. The largest proportion of the population (24.8%) is between the ages of 45 to 64, slightly above the national average of 23.8%.[53] Population projections have predicted a continual growth; a population of 151,481 is estimated by 2016.[53]

The district is overwhelmingly populated by people of a white ethnic background, 95.98% of residents are of White British ethnicity, well above the rest of England at 86.99%.[52] Minority ethnic groups (including those in white ethnic groups who did not classify themselves as British) represent 4.0% of Poole’s population. The largest religion in Poole is Christianity, at almost 74.34%, slightly above the United Kingdom average of 71.6%.[57] The next-largest sector is those with no religion, at almost 16.23%, also above the UK average of 15.5%.[57]

The average house price in Poole is high compared to the rest of the UK and the surrounding south west region.[58] The average price of a property in Poole in 2008 was £274,011; detached houses are on average £374,150, semi-detached and terraced houses were cheaper at £226,465 and £217,128 respectively. An apartment or flat costs on average £216,097, more than any other part of Dorset.[58] The average house prices in Poole are boosted by those in Sandbanks, which has the fourth most expensive house prices in the world;[59] the average property sells for £488,761.[60] A study in 2006 by the National Housing Federation reported that Poole was the most unaffordable town in which to live in the UK.[61]

Population growth in Poole since 1801
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 6,682 6,752 9,021 9,401 9,901 10,595 12,152 13,710 15,267 20,446 29,068 41,344 50,024 60,527 71,089 83,494 94,598 107,204 117,133 135,066 138,299
 % change +1.1 +33.6 +4.2 +5.3 +7 +14.7 +12.8 +11.4 +33.9 +42.2 +42.2 +30 +30 +17.5 +17.5 +13.3 +13.3 +9.3 +15.3 +2.4
A Vision of Britain through Time


Poole's employment structure[53]
Sector Poole Dorset Great Britain
Agriculture 0.1% 0.4% 0.9%
Energy and Water 1.1% 0.6% 0.8%
Manufacturing 16.8% 13.4% 13.4%
Construction 3.3% 4.0% 4.5%
Services 78.7% 81.7% 80.5%

Poole’s economy is more balanced than the rest of Dorset.[53] In the 1960s prosperity was fuelled by growth in the manufacturing sector, whereas the 1980s and 1990s saw expansion in the service sector as office based employers relocated to the area.[53] The importance of manufacturing has declined since the 1960s but still employed approximately 17% of the workforce in 2002 and remains more prominent than in the economy of Great Britain as a whole.[53] Sunseeker, the world's largest privately-owned builder of motor yachts and the UK's largest manufacturer, is based in Poole and employs over 1,800 people in its Poole shipyards.[62] It was estimated in 2004 that Sunseeker generates £160 million for the local economy.[63] Other major employers in the local manufacturing industry include Sealed Air, Hamworthy Heating, Hamworthy Combustion, Lush, Mathmos, Penske Cars Ltd (who build racing cars for Penske Racing), Kerry Foods, Precision Disc Casting, Siemens, Southernprint and Ryvita. Poole has the largest number of industrial estates in South East Dorset, including the Nuffield Industrial estate, Mannings Heath and the Arena Business Park.[64] Industrial Estate sites are in high demand; further developments such as the Poole Trade Park near Tower Park and the Branksome Business centre are under construction.[64]

The Sunseeker shipyards opposite Poole Quay

The service sector is the principal economy of Poole; a large number of employees work for the service economy of local residents or for the tourist economy. During the 1970s, Poole’s less restrictive regional planning policies attracted businesses wishing to relocate from London.[53] These included employers in the banking and financial sector, such as Barclays Bank (who operate a regional headquarters in Poole), American Express Bank and the corporate trust division of Bank of New York Mellon. Other important service sector employers include Link House Publications, the national headquarters and Lifeboat College of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the UK headquarters of Fitness First, Bournemouth University and Poole NHS Primary Care Trust. Poole is also the headquarters for Merlin Entertainments, the world's second-largest theme park operator after Disney.[65] The Dolphin Shopping Centre is Poole's main retail area, and the largest indoor shopping centre in Dorset.[66] It opened in 1969 as an Arndale Centre, and underwent three major refurbishments in 1980, 1989 and 2004. The centre provides 47,000 square metres (510,000 sq ft) of retail space with 110 stores and two multi-storey car parks with 1,400 parking spaces. A pedestrianised high street containing shops, bars, public houses and restaurants connects the Dolphin Centre with the historic Old Town area and Poole Quay.[66] Tourism is important to the Poole’s economy and was worth an estimated £158 million in 2002.[53] Poole's Harbour, quay, Poole Pottery and the beaches are some of the main attractions for visitors.[46] Visitor accommodation consists of hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast rooms located around the town, particularly in Sandbanks and the town centre. Rockley Park, a large caravan site in Hamworthy, is owned and operated by Haven and British Holidays.[67]

Barclays House in the town centre employs 1,200 people.

Since the 1970s, Poole has become one of Britain’s busiest ports.[53][68] Investment in new port facilities in Hamworthy, and the deepening of shipping channels allowed considerable growth in cross-channel freight and passenger traffic.[53] The port is a destination for bulk cargo imports such as steel, timber, bricks, fertiliser, grain, aggregates and palletised traffic. Export cargoes include clay, sand, fragmented steel and grain.[40] Commercial ferry operators run regular passenger and freight services from Poole to Cherbourg, St Malo and the Channel Islands.[40] The Royal Marines operate out of the harbour at Royal Marines Poole, established on the shore at Hamworthy in 1954.[69] The base is home to 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (responsible for landing craft and small boat training), a detachment of the Royal Marines Reserve and special forces unit the Special Boat Service.[70][71] One-hundred-five fishing boats are registered and licensed to the port and hold a permit issued by the Southern Sea Fisheries District Committee (SSFDC) to fish commercially.[72] It is the largest port in terms of licences in the SSFDC district which covers the coastline of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and one of the largest registered fishing fleets in the UK.[73] However, the fleet is gradually declining because of rising fuel costs and restrictive fishing quotas introduced by the European Union.[72][74] A large number of unlicensed boats also operate charted or private angling excursions.[73]



Poole Quay, once a busy centre of maritime trade, has become increasingly popular with tourists.

Poole Quay is a visitor attraction to the south of the Old Town, lined with a mixture of traditional public houses, redeveloped warehouses, modern apartment blocks and historic listed buildings. Once the busy centre of Poole's maritime industry, all port activities moved to Hamworthy in the 1970s as the Quay became increasingly popular with tourists. The Grade II* listed Customs House on the quay-front was built in 1814 and now functions as a restaurant and bar.[75] Nearby is the Grade I listed Town Cellars, a medieval warehouse built in the 15th century on the foundations of a 14th century stone building, and now home to the local history centre.[76] Scaplen's Court, another Grade I listed building on the quay, also dates from the medieval era.[77] The Poole Pottery production factory once stood on the eastern end of the Quay but the site was redeveloped into a luxury apartment block and marina in 2001, although an outlet store remains on the site.[78] Boats regularly depart from the quay during the summer and provide cruises around the harbour and to Brownsea Island, the River Frome and Swanage.[79] Public artworks along the Quay include ‘Sea Music’ – a large metal sculpture designed by Sir Anthony Caro – and a life-size bronze sculpture of Robert Baden-Powell created to celebrate the founding of the Scout Movement.[80] At the western end of the quay near the mouth of Holes Bay is Poole Bridge. Built in 1927, it is the third bridge to be located on the site since 1834.[81]


The Guildhall, built in 1761, functions as a Register Office.

The Guildhall is one of Poole's iconic buildings and has played an important and varied part in the history of the town.[82] Now a Grade II* listed building, the Guildhall was built in 1761 at a cost of £2,250.[83][84] The new building included an open market house on the ground floor and a courtroom and offices for the town council on the first floor. The building has also been used as a Court of Record, Magistrates' Court, Court of Admiralty and a venue for Quarter Sessions. Between 1819 and 1821 the building was consecrated as a Parish Church while the old St. James Church was pulled down and replaced with the present church.[83]

During the Second World War the building was used as a canteen and meeting room for American soldiers prior to the invasion of France. The showers and washing facilities installed at this time were later converted into public baths which were used until the 1960s. The building was converted for use as the town museum between 1971 and 1991 but stood empty for the next 16 years. After a renovation project funded by Poole Borough Council, the restored Guildhall opened in June 2007 as a Register Office for weddings, civil partnerships and other civic ceremonies.[83][85]

Poole Park

Poole has several urban parks – the largest is Poole Park adjacent to Poole Harbour and the town centre. The park opened in 1890 and is one of two Victorian parks in Poole. Designated a Conservation Area in 1995 and awarded a Green Flag in 2008, the park comprises 44.3 hectares (109 acres) of which 24 hectares (59 acres) include the park's man-made lake and ponds.[86] The park contains two children's play areas, tennis courts, a bowling green and a miniature golf course. A cricket field and pavilion at the eastern end are home to Poole Town Cricket Club and water sport activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and rowing take place on the large lake.[87] A war memorial stands in the centre of the park as a monument to Poole citizens killed during the First and Second World Wars. A £2 million refurbishment of the park in 2006 involved the construction of an Italian restaurant and an indoor ice rink for children.[88][89] The park hosts several road races such as the Race for Life and the Poole Festival of Running which attracted approximately 1,200 entrants in 2008.[90]


Poole Bay and the beaches of Poole and Bournemouth

Poole's sandy beaches are a popular tourist destination extending 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) along Poole Bay from the Sandbanks peninsular to Branksome Dene Chine at the border with Bournemouth.[91][92] The beaches are divided into four areas: Sandbanks, Shore Road, Canford Cliffs Chine and Branksome Chine. Poole's beaches have been awarded the European Blue Flag for cleanliness and safety 21 times since 1987, more than any other British seaside resort. In 2000, the Tidy Britain Group resort survey rated Poole's beaches among the top five in the country.[93][94] Along the seafront there are seaside cafés, restaurants, beach huts and numerous water-sports facilities.[92] Royal National Lifeboat Institution Beach Rescue lifeguards patrol the coastline in the busy summer season between May and September.[95]

Religious sites

The Parish Church of St. James, built in 1819.

Poole falls within the Church of England Diocese of Salisbury and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth. Poole has many sites of Christian worship including five Grade II* and five Grade II listed churches, but no notable sites of worship for any other major religious groups. The Grade II* St James' Church is a simplified Gothic Revival style Church of England parish church in the Old Town which was rebuilt in 1820. The previous church on the site was first mentioned in documents from 1142 and had been extensively rebuilt in the 16th century, but in 1819 it was deemed structurally unsafe by a surveyors report.[96] The United Reformed Church hall, also in the town centre, is a Grade II* building built in 1777. The other Grade II* churches are: St. Peters Parish Church in Parkstone which was first built in 1833 and replaced in 1876; St. Osmunds Church, also in Parkstone, is a Byzantine style building, formerly an Anglican church it became a Romanian Orthodox Church in 2005; and the Parish Church of St. Aldhelm in Branksome, built by the architects Bodley and Garner in 1892 in the Gothic Revival style.[97]

Sport and recreation

Poole Harbour and Poole Bay are popular areas for a number of recreational pursuits, including sailing, windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing and water skiing.[98] The harbour's large areas of sheltered waters attract windsurfers, particularly around the northern and eastern shores. Water skiing takes place in the harbour in a special designated area known as the Wareham Channel. The waters around the harbour, Poole Bay and Studland Bay are also popular for recreational angling and diving.[98]

Poole's wide and sandy beaches are used for swimming, sunbathing, water sports and sailing.[99] The beaches at Sandbanks are often used for sporting events such as the Beach Volleyball Classic, and in 2008 it hosted the inaugural British Beach Polo Championship.[100][101]

Poole Harbour is one of the largest centres for sailing in the UK with yacht clubs including Lilliput Sailing Club, Parkstone Yacht Club and Poole Yacht Club. Parkstone Yacht Club hosted the OK Dinghy World Championships in 2004,[102] the J/24 National Championships in 2006 and the J/24 European Championships in 2007,[103] and are the organisers of Youth Week and Poole Week – two of the largest annual dinghy regattas of their type in the country.[104][105]

Poole Stadium is a greyhound racing venue and home to the Poole Pirates speedway team.

Poole's oldest football team is Poole Town F.C., a semi-professional team who play in the Wessex League Premier Division – the ninth tier of the English football league system.[106] Established in 1880, the team has had erratic success at their level; they have never risen above non-League levels but once reached the third round of the FA Cup.[107] They played at Poole Stadium until 1994 and have since settled at Tatnam Farm, sharing the school playing field with Oakdale South Road Middle School.[108] Poole's other football teams are Hamworthy United, who formed in 1970 and also play in the Wessex Premier League, and amateur team Poole Borough F.C. who play in the Dorset Premier League. Poole is one of the largest towns in England without a professional football team.[109]

Poole's motorcycle speedway team, the Poole Pirates, were established and began racing at Poole Stadium in 1948 in the National League Division Three. The team now races in the top tier of league racing (the Elite League) which they last won in 2008.[110] Poole Stadium is also a venue for greyhound racing; race nights occur three days a week throughout the year.[111]


The 'Beating of the Bounds' is an ancient annual custom first carried out in 1612, which revives the traditional checking of the sea boundaries awarded to Poole by the Cinque Port of Winchelsea in 1364.[112][113] The Admiral of the Port of Poole (the mayor) and other dignitaries, and members of the public sail from the mouth of the River Frome to Old Harry Rocks to confirm the Mayor's authority over the water boundaries of the harbour and check for any encroachments. As there are no physical landmarks that can be beaten at sea, traditionally children from Poole were encouraged to remember the bounds of their town by taking part in the 'Pins and Points' ceremony involving the beating of a boy and pricking of a girl's hand with a needle. In modern times, the acts have been symbolically carried out.[114]

The Lighthouse Arts Centre in Poole is the largest arts centre in England outside London.

The Animal Windfest is an annual three day long festival of water-sports held at Sandbanks. The event features the UK windsurfing freestyle final, the second round of the British kiteboarding championships and other amateur competitions and demonstration events. First held in 1998, the festival attracts approximately 10,000 people each year.[115] Poole's Summertime in the South is an annual programme providing various events on Poole Quay and Sandbanks from May until September. During June and July, live music, street entertainment and a large firework display take place on Poole Quay every Thursday evening. In August, the entertainment moves to the beaches at Sandbanks.[116]

Poole's Lighthouse is the largest arts centre complex in the United Kingdom outside London.[117] Built in 1978, the centre contains a cinema, concert hall, studio, theatre, image lab and media suite and galleries featuring exhibitions of contemporary photography and modern digital art. The venue underwent an £8.5 million refurbishment in 2002, paid for by the Arts Council England, the Borough of Poole and private donations.[118] The centre's concert hall has been the residence of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's main concert series since their former base at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens closed in 1985.[119] Situated in the centre of the Old Town, Poole Museum illustrates the story of the area and its people and the collections reflect the cultural, social and industrial history of Poole. Displays include the Poole Logboat and a detailed history of Poole from the Iron Age to the present day. The museum has a floor devoted to the history of Poole Pottery and some of the company's products are on display. Entrance to the museum is free.[120]


The main transport features in Poole and Dorset

The A350 road is Poole town centre's main artery, running north from Poole Bridge along Holes Bay and on to the A35, and as a single carriageway to Bath and Bristol. To the east, the A337 road leads to Lymington and the New Forest. The A35 trunk road runs from Devon to Southampton and connects to the A31 on the outskirts of the town. The A31, the major trunk road in central southern England, connects to the M27 motorway at Southampton. From here the M3 motorway leads to London, and fast access may also be gained via the A34 to the M4 north of Newbury. A second bridge is planned to be built to connect Poole and Hamworthy as the existing bridge is unsuitable for the increasing traffic flow. The £34 million scheme was given approval by the Department for Transport in 2006 but construction of the bridge has been delayed since November 2007 because of a stalemate between the council and the land owners.[121][122] A road link to Studland and the Isle of Purbeck across the narrow entrance of Poole Harbour is provided by the Sandbanks Ferry.[123]

Local bus services are run by Wilts & Dorset who are based at the town’s bus station and have served Poole since 1983.[124] Wilts & Dorset operate networks across Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Salisbury, in addition to operations on the Isle of Purbeck and the New Forest.[124] Other services are run by Bournemouth based Transdev Yellow Buses, Roadliner, Shamrock Buses and Damory Coaches.[125] Poole is connected to towns and villages along the Jurassic Coast by the First X53 service, which runs along a route of 142 kilometres (88 mi) to Weymouth, Bridport, Lyme Regis, Seaton and Exeter.[125] Poole bus station is the terminus of National Express Coaches which have frequent departures to London Victoria Coach Station. There are also direct services to the West Country, the Sussex coast, Bristol, Birmingham, the Midlands, the North West, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The National Express Flightlink service serves Heathrow Airport and connects to Gatwick and Stansted Airport.[126]

Poole railway station is served by London Waterloo to Weymouth express and semi-fast services.

Poole has four railway stations on the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo to Weymouth. These are – from east to west – Branksome near the border with Bournemouth, Parkstone, Poole railway station in the town centre and Hamworthy. Services to Waterloo are operated by South West Trains and depart from Poole station every half an hour, express services depart every hour.[127] Plans for a £50 million redevelopment of Poole railway station have been delayed since 2006 due to contractual issues between land owners Network Rail and developers the Kier Group.[128] The plans include a new railway station, a hotel, a new pedestrian bridge, business offices and a transport interchange for taxis and coaches.[129][130]

Poole is a cross channel port for passengers and freight with up to seven sailings a day in the summer season. Year-round services from Poole Harbour to Cherbourg are provided by Brittany Ferries who operate two ferries from Poole: the Barfleur and the Cotentin. The Barfleur has served the Poole to Cherbourg route since 1992; the Cotentin freight ship also covers the Poole-Cherbourg route and at weekends runs a service between Poole and Santander in Spain.[131][132] The Condor Ferries catamarans Condor Express and Condor Vitesse run seasonal services to Guernsey, Jersey and St. Malo, Brittany.[133] Bournemouth International Airport in Hurn, on the periphery of Bournemouth, is the nearest airport to Poole – 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Poole town centre.[53] Ryanair, EasyJet, Thomsonfly and Palmair operate from the airport and provide scheduled services to destinations in the UK and Europe.[134]


Poole has sixteen first schools, eight middle schools, seven combined schools, eight secondary and grammar schools, five special schools, two independent schools and one college of further education. Canford School, is an independent boarding school and although located in Wimborne, it is administered by Poole local education authority. Poole’s two grammar schools maintain a selective education system, assessed by the Eleven Plus exam. Poole High School is the largest secondary school in Poole with 1,660 pupils.[135] The Bournemouth and Poole College attracts over 16,000 students a year and is one of the largest further education colleges in the country and the leading provider of academic and vocational education in Dorset.[136] It has two centrally located main campuses in Poole and Bournemouth. In 2008, the college announced plans to refurbish and redevelop its campuses at an estimated cost of £120 million.[137]

From the 2007 General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) results, Poole was ranked 18th out of 148 local authorities in England based on the percentage of pupils attaining at least five A* to C grades at GCSE level including maths and English (54.5% compared with the national average of 46.8%).[138][139] Parkstone Grammar School was the most successful secondary school in Poole for GCSE results in 2007: 100% of pupils gained five or more GCSEs at A* to C grade including maths and English. Canford School also achieved 100% and Poole Grammar School was the next best performing school with 98%. Poole High School achieved 39% and the worst performing school was Rossmore Community College where only 19% of students achieved five or more A* to C grade results.[139] Poole’s grammar schools were also the best performing for A-level results. Poole Grammar School was the 60th most successful school/sixth form in the country in 2007: each student achieved on average 1071.4 points compared to the national average of 731.2. Parkstone Grammar School students averaged 1017.9 points.[135][140]

Bournemouth University was designated as a university in 1992 and despite its name, the university’s main campus (the Talbot Campus) and buildings are in Poole and smaller campus is situated in Bournemouth.[141] Media courses are the university's strength, and recent teaching quality assessments have resulted in ratings of 'excellent' for courses in the areas of communication and media, business and management, catering and hospitality, archaeology and nursing and midwifery.[142][143] The Arts Institute at Bournemouth is a university-sector institution in Poole at Wallisdown. The institute offers undergraduate, foundation degree, postgraduate and further education courses in contemporary arts, design and media.[144]

Public services

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the trauma centre for East Dorset

Home Office policing in Poole is provided by the Poole and Bournemouth Division of Dorset Police which has two police stations in Poole: at the Civic Centre in the town centre, and on Gravel Hill in Canford Heath.[145] Dorset Fire and Rescue Service provides statutory emergency fire and rescue services for Poole and are based at Poole Fire Station in Creekmoor which opened in 2008. The former fire station on Wimborne Road was demolished in 2008 and will be replaced with a new joint fire and police station expected to open in 2009.[146]

Poole Hospital is a large NHS Foundation Trust hospital in Longfleet with 789 beds. It opened in 1969 as Poole General Hospital, replacing Poole's Cornelia Hospital which had stood on the site since 1907.[147] The hospital is the major trauma center for East Dorset and provides core services such as child health and maternity for a catchment area including Bournemouth and Christchurch. Specialist services such as neurological care and cancer treatment are also provided for the rest of Dorset.[148] The South Western Ambulance Service provides emergency patient transport.[149]

Waste management and recycling are co-ordinated by Poole Borough Council in partnership with Viridor Waste Management.[150] Locally produced inert waste is sent to landfill for disposal. Recycle waste is taken to the recycling plant at the Allington Quarry Waste Management Facility in Kent for processing. Poole's Distribution Network Operator for electricity is Scottish and Southern Energy. Drinking and waste water is managed by Wessex Water; groundwater sources in Wiltshire and Dorset provide 80% of drinking water, the rest comes from reservoirs fed by rivers and streams.[151]


Poole has one main local newspaper, the Daily Echo, which is owned by Newsquest. Published since 1900, the newspaper features news from Poole, Bournemouth and the surrounding area.[152] Issues appear Monday through Saturday with a daily circulation of 32,441.[153] For local television, Poole is served by the BBC South studios based in Southampton, and by Meridian Broadcasting (formerly Television South) with studios in Fareham. Radio stations broadcasting to the town include Wave 105, Heart Dorset & New Forest (formerly 2CR FM), Fire 107.6 and The Bay 102.8. Limited BBC Local Radio coverage to Poole and the rest of Dorset is provided by the Hampshire based BBC Radio Solent. Plans for a BBC Radio Dorset station were abandoned in 2007 following financial cutbacks by the BBC.[154]

Notable people

The town has been the birthplace and home to notable people, of national and international acclaim. Former residents include Robert Baden Powell the founder of the Scouting movement, British radio disc jockey Tony Blackburn, the artist Augustus John and The Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien lived in Poole for four years during his retirement.[155][156] Alfred Russel Wallace, the 19th century explorer, naturalist and co-founder of the theory of evolution by natural selection, moved to Poole in 1902 when he was 78 years old and is buried in Broadstone cemetery. Notable people born in Poole include Greg Lake of the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the author John le Carré, the writer and actor David Croft, and James Stephen, the principal lawyer associated with the British abolitionist movement.[155] Edgar Wright the director of films such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz was born in Poole and out of the five previous British winners of the Miss World title, two have hailed from Poole; Ann Sydney and Sarah-Jane Hutt.[155] Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur F.C. manager, and his son Jamie Redknapp, a former England national football team player, own homes in Sandbanks.[157]

See also

References and notes


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  157. ^ "Celebrity interview". South West Trains. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-30.  


  • Beamish, Derek; Hillier, John; Johnstone, H.F.V. (1949), Mansions and Merchants of Poole and Dorset, Poole Historical Trust, ISBN 07137-0836-0  
  • Cullingford, Cecil N. (1988), A History of Poole, Phillimore & Co Ltd, ISBN 0-85033-666-X  
  • Legg, Rodney (2005), The Book of Poole Harbour and Town, Halsgrove, ISBN 1-84114-411-8  
  • Sydenham, John (1986) [1839], The History of the Town and County of Poole (2nd ed.), Poole: Poole Historical Trust, ISBN 0950491446  

External links

Town guides


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Poole [1] is in Dorset, on the south coast of England.

  • By train. Poole is about 2.5hrs from London with 2 trains per hour for most of the day. There are regular, quick and convenient trains on the South West Trains service, but rail fares are generally expensive, so be careful.
  • By coach. There are coaches between Poole bus station and London about once an hour, via Bournemouth.
  • By road. From the east, take the M27 until it becomes the A31. Continue past Ringwood and follow the signs for Poole. From the west, come in on the A35.
  • By bus. There are regular buses on both the Wilts & Dorset and Yellow Buses services, however Wilts & Dorset busestend to go further, with links to Southampton, Dorchester and Salisbury.
  • In the summer, there are fireworks displays alternately in Bournemouth and Poole.
  • Every Tuesday evening from April to September, motorbike enthusiasts converge on Poole. Apparently there are sometimes as many as 1000 cycles and, of course, the pubs on the Quay do good business from them. A good opportunity to swap tales or see what everyone else is riding. All parking on the quay is reserved for motorbikes but there is a charge of £1 and a prize for the best bike.
  • Brownsea Island [2] is a National Trust site, famous for its large population of red squirrels, and as the birthplace of the Scout Movement. The animals on the island are very tame and will happily wander up to you. It can be reached by boat from the quay but note that the price of the boat trip does not include admittance to the island.
  • Bournemouth is nearby and has other places to visit, such as the oceanarium.
  • MonkeyWorld, near Wareham, is about 30 minutes away by car.
  • Kingston Lacey is a large house and estate formerly owned by the Bankes family and donated to the National Trust in the 1980s. The house contains paintings, furniture and egyptian artefacts accumulated over 300 years. It also shows how wealthy families of that time lived. See the National Trust website [3] for details of how to get to its sites and prices.
  • The New Forest is about an hour away by car and very popular in the summer.
  • Poole's Centre for the Arts [4]
  • Kite flying. From the quay, when facing the water turn left and walk for about half a mile until you reach a park. On a good day, the kites will probably be visible from afar.
  • Poole Pottery [5] Famous manufacturers of pottery and cermanics. Poole Pottery has a long history of designing and creating cermanics but also has a contemporary ranges.


Most restaurants are along the quay, but there are a number of great eateries further into the Old Town. Storm serves mostly fish dishes with seafood caught locally the same day. Tandoori Nights is an excellent Curry House, which can get quite busy Friday and Saturday nights.


There are lots of pubs along the quay and a little inland.


There are many hotels and guesthouses in Poole, especially in the town centre. There are also camping sites in neighbouring towns such as Swanage and Merley. There is a Youth Hostel in Swanage and is run by the YHA.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

POOLE, a municipal borough, county in itself, market town and seaport in the eastern parliamentary division of Dorsetshire, England, 1132 m. S.W. by W. from London by the London & South-Western railway. Pop. (1901), 19,463. It is picturesquely situated on a peninsula between Holes Bay and the shallow irregular inlet of Poole Harbour. There are several modern churches, a guildhall, public library and school of art. Poole Harbour, extending inland 6 m., with a general breadth of 4 m., has a very narrow entrance, and is studded with low islands, on the largest of which, Brownsea or Branksea, is a castle, transformed into a residence, erected as a defence of the harbour in Tudor times, and strengthened by Charles I. Potters' clay is worked here. At low water the harbour is entirely emptied except a narrow channel, when there is a depth of 82 ft. There are some valuable oyster beds. There is a considerable general coasting trade, and clay is exported to the Staffordshire potteries. Some shipbuilding is carried on, and there are manufacturers of cordage, netting and sailcloth. The town also possesses potteries, decorative tile works, iron foundries, agricultural implement works and flour-mills. Poole Park, containing 40 acres of land and 62 acres of water, was acquired in 1887 and 1889, and Branksome Park, of 40 acres, in 1895. The borough is under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 5333 acres.

Although the neighbourhood abounds in British earthworks and barrows, and there are traces of a Roman road leading from Poole to Wimborne, Poole (La Pole) is not mentioned by the early chroniclers or in Domesday Book. The manor, part of that of Canford, belonged in 1086 to Edward of Salisbury, and passed by marriage to William Longespee, earl of Salisbury, thence to Edmund de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, and with his heiress to Thomas, earl of Lancaster, and so to the Crown. Poole is first mentioned in a writ of 1224, addressed to the bailiffs and good men of La Pole, ordering them to retain all ships within their port. Entries in the Patent Rolls show that Poole had considerable trade before William de Longespee, earl of Salisbury, granted the burgesses a charter about 1248 assuring to them all liberties and free customs within his borough. The bailiff was to be chosen by the lord from six men elected by the burgesses, and was to hold pleas for breach of measures and assizes. It is uncertain when the burgesses obtained their town at the fee-farm rent of £8, 13s. 4d. mentioned in 1312. The mayor, bailiffs and good men are first mentioned in 1311 and were required to provide two ships for service against Robert de Brus. In 1372 the burgesses obtained assize of bread and ale, and right to hold the courts of the lord of the manor, the prepositus being styled his mayor. The burgesses were licensed in 1433 to fortify the town; this was renewed in 1462, when the mayor was given cognisance of the staple. Elizabeth incorporated Poole in 1569 and made it a separate county; Charles II. gave a charter in 1667. The corporation was suspended after a writ of quo warranto in 1686, the town being governed by the commission of the peace until the charters were renewed in 1688. Poole returned two members to parliament in 1362 and 1368, and regularly from 1452 to 1867, when the representation was reduced, ceasing in 1885. It is uncertain when the Thursday market was granted, but the present fairs on the Feasts of SS Philip and James and All Saints were granted in 1453. Poole, as the headquarters of the Parliamentary forces in Dorset during the Civil War, escaped the siege that crippled so many of its neighbours. When Charles II. visited the town in 1665 a large trade was carried on in stockings, though the prosperity of Poole still depended on its usefulness as a port.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. A town in Dorset, England

Simple English

Poole is a town in Dorset, England. It is the second biggest town in Dorset after Bournemouth. In 2001, 138,299 people lived there. Lots of tourists visit Poole because of its nice beaches and sunny weather. It has a very big natural harbour. Lots of people in Poole work for Barclays Bank, Hamworthy Engineering, Poole Packaging, Sunseeker, RNLI and Ryvita.


Poole's harbour is the second biggest in the world after Sydney in Australia but the water in Poole is very shallow which means that very big ships can not go into Poole. It was used in World War II for some ships to set off for France on D-Day.


People have lived in Poole for 2,000 years. There were lots of Celtic people there. Archaeologists found a boat in the harbour which they think was made in 295 BC. When the Romans invaded Britain in the 1st century, they landed in Poole. In the Norman Conquest in 1066, Poole was used mostly for fishing but then became a port for trading things like wool. In the 18th century, Poole was one of the biggest ports in England.

The harbour stopped being so useful because big boats could not get in, so they went to places like Liverpool, Southampton and Plymouth. Even though the harbour can not be used that well, due to the shallowness of the sea, it is a very beautiful and peaceful for people.


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