People of the Village


Every ten years since 1841 a Census has been taken of the population of Britain. Today, figures from the census of 1991 are available, giving an abstract picture of life in the country, such as the number of people in a given area. or the state of housing in that year. Personal details recorded in the census are not released for a hundred years. The census information gathered in recent years is greater than that asked for in the 19th century. In 1841 the information taken included the names of everyone in each house on the night of the census, their ages- whether they were born in the county they were staying in at the time, and the occupations of those w ho worked outside the home. This would have been one of the few times that people, many of whom may have been illiterate, were asked their age, and the census enumerators were not expected to find exact ages. It is interesting therefore that the ages given at the following census in 1851 do not always check properly with their 1841 equivalents Subsequent surveys show a far better reckoning of ages.

The 1841 census provided the first detailed record of the people of Pokesdown, and gives us some idea of this mainly farming community before any development had started. Stourfield is recorded separately from Pokesdown in the census. At Stourfield House was the owner. Lieut. John Johnson, but his wife and two children must have been away: there were three servants at the House, Harriett Habgood, Harriett Hibb and Elizabeth Troke. By the next census of 1851, Lieut. Johnson had sold Stourfield and the three servants had left.

At Pokesdown, the record starts with Thomas Dorey, a farm worker, his wife Ann and their fifteen years old daughter Jane. They had a son, George, who was away at the time of the census: he does appear in the 1851 record, by then a married man, with his wife Eliza and four children His mother Ann. then a widow, is living with them. There follows another farm worker, William Marshall, his wife Ann, their six children and William's mother-in-law Sarah Purchase, aged seventy five. The last named was not on the 1851 record, and the three eldest children, by then adults, had left home. However, there was an addition to the family in the person of a son named Jesse. Next came Arthur Phillips, also a farm worker, with Mary his wife and six children. All these had left by 1851 with the exception of one daughter, Sarah, who was the cook at Stourfield House. James White, aged fifty five, and Mary White aged thirty five are so listed in 1841. However by 1851 the age gap has narrowed to fifteen years, James being sixty six and Man fifty one. This is an example of the approximation of ages in 1841. James White was a farm worker in 1841, but in 1851 has become the gardener at Stourfield with his son William as under gardener. The second son James is married in 1851 with his wile Jane, and he is employed as a Journeyman bricklayer.

Robert Best was a farmer, but unfortunately the record does not say at which farm he lived with his wile Mary and their six children. He had left by 1851, perhaps the sale of the Stourfield Estate in 1844 had affected his tenure of the farm. John Summers and his wife Elizabeth are next. They had five children, three of whom together with their father were farm workers. The one daughter Eliza worked in the fusee chain factory at Christchurch. In the next household there was Henry Pain, farm worker, his wife Maria, and a twelve years old boy William Clark. We do not know what relationship the boy had to Mr. and Mrs. Pain, if any. Another farm worker was John Troke, he was married and he and his wife Eliza then had six children. Two of these had left home in 1851, but two children had also been added to the family. William Vine yet another farm worker lived in the next house, adjoining was Jane Lampard of independent means with whom were living Harriett Vine and two Vine children. Was this a case of 'going home to mother'? The mystery deepens when we note that next door with Mr and Mrs. Dawson is one month old Elizabeth Vine. Dawson was a farm worker, and the Dawsons also had a ten years old boy James Tarrant living with them: perhaps they fostered children.

James Rogers, farm worker, and his wife lived in the next house, with two daughters and one son. The younger daughter, Maria, aged twenty five, was a dressmaker. The final farm worker was John Gaulton, who had a wife Mary and two children. Living with them was Joseph Goff, aged fifteen, recorded as a male servant. Last in the Pokesdown list was Giles Sweetapple, aged seventy five, a farm worker with his wile Jemima.

The 1851 census, which was of course taken before any development of the twenty seven acre estate, recorded a local population of seventy four, of whom no less than thirty four were children aged twelve years or under. The people were housed in seventeen households. Of their occupations. there was one farmer of ten acres, seventeen farm workers, a carpenter and a bricklayer; only two of the women were listed as having occupations, one a nurse and one a seamstress, all the others presumably being housewives At nearby Stourfield there were fifteen people, living in three houses. One of these was, of course, Stourfield House, where the family were away when the census was taken, so that the House was in charge of the Housekeeper with three servants. The Gardener lived at an adjoining cottage, whilst at a house called the Lodge, John Gaulton farmed thirty acres of land; his eldest son worked on the farm.

The progress made by 1861 is mirrored in the census records for that year, when the population had increased to one hundred and seventy one people, including fifty nine children. The village then comprised the Church and the Chapel, two schools, a farm, thirty four houses, the New Bell Inn founded by Emmanuel Watton and an ale house listed as the Post Office Arms, but more usually known as the Three Horse Shoes, opened by Mr. Manley. The Rev. W. Battersby was living at the Parsonage, Mrs. S Taylor was in charge of the Chapel School and Miss Amelia Dike of the National School.

Some measure of the increased building activity in the neighbourhood may be gauged from the presence of one builder, six brickmakers, five bricklayers, two sawyers, a master carpenter, four plasterers and three painters. A number of the women were employed as domestic servants, there were two housekeepers, a cook, a housemaid, two dressmakers and eight laundry workers. In addition to being an innkeeper Emmanuel Watton is also listed as a grocer, so presumably he stocked some food and similar commodities at the Inn. At a later date he founded the Pokesdown Brewery in Southbourne Road, at the corner of Southville Road.

Separately recorded was Stourfield, a little community based upon the House, which was occupied by Admiral Popham and his family, with housekeeper, cook and maid living in. James Gallon farmed fifty three acres of the Estate, and his son George was the gamekeeper. Separate cottages housed respectively the families of Edmund Colling, the coachman, John Frampton, the Gardener, George Dorey, carter, and William Marshall, a farm worker.

Admiral Popham died on 22nd August 1864, and was buried in the churchyard of St. James' Church; a window to his memory was placed in the church. His widow, Mrs. Clara Popham, continued to live at Stourfield House until her death twenty years later, on 12 June 1884. The estate was inherited by their son, Harcourt Popham.

The following advertisement appeared in the Christchurch Times of 15th May 1865:

" Pokesdown: To be sold by Auction on 1st June.

Freehold property well situated in the above flourishing village or the high road leading from Christchurch to Bournemouth consisting of capital business premises in the occupation of Mr. Maber, grocer and postmaster. The house is substantially and recently erected and consists of Good Front Shop, two sitting rooms, three bedrooms, Kitchen, Cellar and outbuildings, stable and coach house, and an excellent garden. This presents a very safe and lucrative investment. Sale at the Three Horse Shoes public house."

This property was taken by William Bolton, who had been born at Burton, near Christchurch. in 1838. Bolton used the premises as the village shop and post office, catering for most of the daily requirements - bakery, grocery, drapery, and all sorts of general goods.

He also had a delivery van to serve outlying places, such as Hurn and Sopley. Mr. Bolton was to be a very active worker in the community and featured in connection with many of the local developments. Mr. Bolton became the postmaster and also for a time the postman, and later he recorded that he delivered letters over an area from Wick to the top of Boscombe Hill, an area which by the end of the century had developed to an extent that eleven postmen were required. The shop and post office were in that part of Cromwell Road now called Seabourne Road, almost opposite Harcourt Road. Successive members of the Bolton family continued to serve as postmaster, until the retirement of Mrs. E. Long, Mr. Bolton's grand-daughter, in April 1971.

He was a deacon of the Congregational Church and was superintendent of the Sunday School until his retirement in 1908. As will be seen in succeeding chapters, he was actively involved in the life of Pokesdown. He died on 22nd March 1919 aged eighty years.

When it was opened the Post Office was under the supervision of the Ringwood postmaster and letters for Pokesdown were to be addressed as 'near Ringwood'. This was changed from 18 July 1872, when it was transferred to Bournemouth, and the postal address became 'Pokesdown near Bournemouth'.

The Hampshire Directory of Smith and Co. for 1867 contains the following entry for Pokesdown:

Rev. W. Battersby The Parsonage
Mrs. Popham Stourfield House
G. de Charville Winterbourne House.
Teacher of Languages
Mrs. Cutler Laundress
Mr, J. Edwards Builder
Mr. J, Frampton Gardener
Mr. R. Galton Builder and Carpenter
Mr Hyde Butcher, 1 Rose Collage
Mr R. Manley Smith and Innkeeper Three Horse Shoes
Mr W. H. Old Linendraper and Lodging House
Mr. W Taylor Farmer
Mr E. Watton Grocer and New Bell Inn

It will be seen that R. Gallon, originally a carpenter, has become a builder, there is a butcher and a draper, but surprisingly there is no mention of the post office and the village shop. Perhaps the publishers were not always up to date with their information. In the 1871 directory of Mercer and Crooker the Pokesdown entry includes William Bolton, baker and grocer, and there are two other grocers, namely F. Hoare and S. Hunt. William Taylor is the Librarian of the Mechanics Institute. W. Fott is now landlord of the New Bell Inn.

The 1871 census for the Pokesdown area records that there were one hundred and seven occupied houses in the area, containing a population of live hundred and eleven people, an almost threefold increase in the figure for 1861. In Stourfield there were twelve occupied houses with a population total of seventy. The houses in Stourfield included some large properties, which would have required a number of servants, pushing up the population density Boscombe at the time of the same census had only forty eight occupied houses, with a total population of two hundred and eighty two.

In this census the roads are named as follows: Cobden Road with nine houses. Cromwell Road thirty five houses, Darracott Road nineteen houses and Hampden Road eleven houses; other houses are recorded under the general heading 'Pokesdown'. By that date there was a considerable amount of building taking place in the neighbourhood, and three of the residents are stated to be builders. These were Robert Galton, employing one hundred men, William Hoare with eighty three men, and John Edwards, having ten men in his employ. At Stourfield Harcourt Popham with his wife and two children and his mother were living in the House, together with their butler, cook, housekeeper, housemaid and nurse. Popnam is listed as county magistrate and landowner. The coachman and his family were living in an adjacent collage. James White was the principal farmer employing two men and two boys on his farm of sixty acres.

A Mechanics Institute was formed in 1868, meeting in a cottage in Southbourne Road. In 1872 R Galton offered to build and let to the Institute a more convenient building, and this offer was accepted. Situated in Cromwell Road, the building was opened on 1st June 1872, and became known as Cromwell Hall. It provided a reading room and library downstairs, supplied with newspapers and periodicals. Upstairs was a large room, intended for use by the local community for lectures, penny readings and public meetings. The secretary of the Institute was Mr. A. Abbott and the treasurer Mr. T. Dicker. Cromwell Hall became in effect the Village hall.

A temperance fete was held on 6th August 1867 in a field near the chapel, and those attending marched to the field, headed by the Bournemouth Temperance Prize Band. Tea was provided, included in the admission charge of one shilling. Mr. Bolton was the treasurer of the fete. In the following year a temperance society was formed, with an associated Band of Hope for the young people. The Society met in the Cromwell Hall, which was sometimes called the temperance hall. At that time it was a popular cause, and temperance hotels were built in Bournemouth. There were also coffee rooms opened as an alternative to the public houses. The Pokesdown temperance society had mixed fortunes, and in 1883 the cause was transferred to a similar society' in Boscombe.

The franchise was considerably widened by the Reform Act of 1867; the following list of voters for Pokesdown in 1868 is the first list made under this extended eligibility'.

Bolton, William Candy, John Collins, Edmund
Cossar, Eli Coward, Robert Cutler, William
Dale, Philip Dean, John Edwards, James
Edwards, John Fall, William Frampton, Charles
Frampton, John Goff. James Golton, John
Golton, Robert Hoare, William Hoare, William the Younger
Holmes, Charles Hookey, John Hunt, Henry
James, Reuben Jay, John Langridge, Edward
Lilly, George Lock, William Lockyer, James
Manley, Robert Martin, William Newton, Isaac
Old, William Henry Payn, George Preston, Robert
Rogers, John Scott, George Smith, William
Somerville, George Summers, George Tanner, Charles
Taylor, William Tridgell, William Troke, George
Troke, Charles Troke, John Troke, William
Troke, William Vine, William Walker, Thomas
Watton, Emmanuel Watts, David White, James

Pokesdown in 1870

On the twenty two lots of plot 1, cottages had been built since 1866 on lots 5, 15 and 20. An additional cottage had been built by John Golton fronting Cobden Road. Collins Road had been named Victoria Road and joined to Cromwell rather than Christchurch Road. A pair of semi-detached cottages had been built on plot 15/16 fronting Victoria Road, and surviving today as 8 and 10 Stourvale Road. Plot 18 had been split in half and a cottage was built on the eastern part. This is now 15 and 17 Stourvale Road. Plot 19 had also been divided and the cottage that was to become 4 and 5 Cromwell Place had been built. An additional building had been erected at the timber yard on plot 22.

The cottages 18 to 28 Cromwell Road had been built on plot 25 next to Windham Road, where No. 5 had been built. Cottage No. 31 Stourvale Road had also been built, as had today's 49 and 49A. To the south of this a gravel pit had been dug, and in the east adjoining the chapel a graveyard was in use. These changes were all that had occurred since 1866. The street numbers now in use had not yet been given, cottages being known by names such as Myrtle Cottage in Darracott Road, Woodbine Cottage, and Rosabella Villa. Nos. 49 and 49A Stourvale Road were called Stour Glen. The New Bell Inn was named, as was the Three Horse Shoes public house.

A few cottages had also been built east of Hampden Road. The Ordnance Survey, whose influence in such matters was considerable, had applied the name Pokesdown to the vicinity. As ordnance maps were often used by the new local authorities the names the O.S. recorded survived, and the names it omitted were usually forgotten.

The Water Supply

At this time the water supply was in its infancy; householders had to rely on wells rather than the local water board for their supplies. The 1870 O.S. map gives some information as to the location of these wells. There were twenty' four of them. twenty two on the building estate itself. The wells were positioned on plots:

Plot 1 on lots 4, 5, 12, 13, 14, 16. and 20, these being Nos. 29 and 29A, 31, 50 and 52, 48, 44 and 46, 38 and 26 and 28 Darracott Road respectively. Plot 2 at rear of 119-123 Seabourne Road: plot 32 at rear of 1-5 Seabourne Road: plot 15 and 16 at rear of 10 Stourvale Road; plot 23 at rear of the Three Horse Shoes public house; plot 18 at rear of 24-28 Seabourne Road; plot 19 at rear of 34 Seabourne Road; plot 22 at rear of 56-62 Seabourne Road and adjacent to 4 Cromwell Road; plot 25 at rear of 8 Cromwell Road and rear of 24 Cromwell Road; plot 26 at rear of 21 Southbourne Road, rear of 27 Southbourne Road and rear of 2 Southville Road; plot 28 at rear of 4 Seabourne Place.

The Rev. E. Pickford's Memories

Writing in 1896, the Rev. E. Pickford gave an interesting account of Pokesdown as he saw it on his arrival in 1871 to take up the appointment of Minister of the Congregational Church:

When I came to Pokesdown, 25 years ago, I was struck with the sparseness of the population, for I had lived most of my life in densely crowded localities.

According to the census, taken in 1871, there were only 511 inhabitants counting all heads. A few of these were found working on neighbouring farms, but most of them were artisans, employed upon the building trade, at that time very prosperous but liable to change. I remember a depression in those early years, when we lost every male teacher from the Sunday School and I had the sad experience of dismissing eighteen members to churches in the several localities where they had sought and found employment There was a bright side even to the sadness, for we all thought, and the thought was cheering, that we were enriching other churches.

If we needed an object lesson, showing the great increase of the population during the last quarter of a century, it was furnished the other day. An application was made, before a full bench of magistrates, for a licence to be granted to a new hotel, proposed to be erected in Parkwood Road. Mr. Matthews, the Assistant Overseer of Christchurch, was one of the witnesses. He made this authoritative statement that there were more than nine hundred houses in the parish of Pokesdown, and he estimated the population at 5850, being a thousand per cent more than in 1871.

Another thing that struck me was that there was only one shop for the whole of the village. This shop partook of the nature of a general store for you could get almost everything: - bread, grocery, drapery, butcher's meat, millinery, stationery, ironmongery, boots and shoes, medicines of various kinds, crockery ware, etc. All this was very convenient. But even then, for some things, you had to go to Bournemouth or Christchurch. Suppose you had some legal business to transact and wanted a lawyer, or suppose some friend or relative was taken seriously ill and wanted a doctor or suppose you had some business that required the signature of a magistrate, in all these cases you had to walk to Christchurch or Bournemouth to find the nearest. I have said "walk" for there were neither brakes nor omnibuses, nor cabs available in those days. What a great contrast in all these things.

Another thing which struck me when I came here at first was the want of facilities for moving from one place to another. There was no station, though the railway passed within a stone's throw of your door. If you wanted to go to London or Birmingham, you had to walk to Christchurch station. If to Bath or Bristol, you had to find your way to Wimborne station as best you could. When I had to go North on business. or to see my relatives and friends, I had to be called up at five o'clock in the morning; and having partaken of an early breakfast, I had to trudge all the way to the East Station, sometimes with a heavy carpet-bag, in order that I might catch the first train; for only by that train, in those days, was I able to get to Manchester.

For the education and training of children, in 1871, there were two Day schools and two Sunday schools; one of each in connection with the Church and Chapel. The one in connection with us was presided over by a certificated teacher from Homerton College. I can bear testimony to the value and efficiency of the training given.

When I came here there was no Southbourne, no Freemantle, and I was going to say, no Boscombe. On the Christchurch Road there were only three houses, one the Palmerston Arms, and two thatched cottages Drummond Road passes over the site where one stood. The other stood at the bottom of the hill, near Knole Road. There were a few houses in Palmerston Road, and Gladstone Road, and a few down the Boscombe Chine. I have often walked from Pokesdown to the Crescent at Lansdowne, in those early days, on a footpath under the shade of the pines, a high hedge being between me and the highway; and very often I have not met a half dozen people all the way.

Recording in 1975 his memories of his youth in Pokesdown, Mr. Smith of Clarence Road said that he started school at St. James' in 1896 when he was five years old. He transferred to the new British School when it was opened in 1899. He remembered going to the local celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, which were held in a field on Castlemain Road (now Avenue). He was a member of the choir at St. James's, for which he was paid ls.6d, a quarter. On the pay day the choirboys would go over the road to the tuck shop at the corner of Seabourne Road, owned by Mrs. Clark, to spend some of their money. Sometimes there was a mobile fish and chip van at which a few pennies might be spent. Mr. Smith recalled that there were fields all down Southbourne Grove and around Fisherman's Walk. When he left school he was apprenticed to Mr. Bailey in Livingstone Road, who was a blacksmith and whose son made bicycles. It was this latter which Mr. Smith took up, and later he went into the cycle business in London.