The Building Estates

The Building Estates

Pokesdown continued its steady development, and in 1881 the population had increased to 838; by 1891 it had more than doubled to 2,266, and there is no doubt that a major factor in this growth was the very rapid expansion of nearby Bournemouth, since Pokesdown in common with Springbourne and part of Boscombe provided a convenient living area for many of those employed in the various businesses of the town.

Much of the open land at Pokesdown was developed through a number of building estates, owned either by Land Societies or by individuals and companies. These estates were usually marked out in building plots, and to a considerable extent influenced the manner in which the district was laid out.

The area of twenty seven acres purchased in 1857 from Wadham Locke and out of which were built Cromwell Road, Hampden Road, Cobden Road and parts of Darracott Road and Southbourne Road, could perhaps be regarded as the first of such "estates'.

1877 The Boscombe Park Estate

Thus a new phenomenon in the area appeared in 1877,with a building estate being promoted not by an individual, like Mr. Sharp, but by an especially formed company, in this case the Boscombe Park Estate Ltd., which purchased thirty six and a half acres from Mr. Moser.

Moser had already sold some of the land he had bought from Mrs. Headley to Thomas Walker; this lay on either side of Darracott Road which had been extended beyond West Road. Walker laid out most of the land in building plots, retaining a larger area for a house for himself which he named St. Anne's. In the purchase of this land it was a condition that Walker should have right of access to Christchurch Road by way of a carriage drive from his house. This drive was to become the beginning of Park Wood Road (as it was first named) and it served to open up the Boscombe Park Estate for development.

In April 1877 the Company announced that its building plots 'ripe for development' (an ugly and frequently used phrase) were available on 999 year leases. The Estate Company immediately took out a mortgage on the land with Mr. Moser for £7,850 at 5% interest. This land, measuring thirty six acres, two rods, seven perches, formed a considerable portion of the land eventually developed as the Boscombe Park Estate. By the 19th century the term 'park', once referring to an inclosed tract of land reserved for hunting animals by the nobility, was frequently misused to glorify unremarkable pieces of land being sold as building estates, other examples in Bournemouth include Eastbourne Park Estate, Clarence Park Estate and Lansdowne Park Estate, amongst others.

Thus by 1877 there were two building estates at Pokesdown - Boscombe Park and the original Pokesdown itself - for whilst Bournemouth was the force and reason behind the suburbanisation of the area, Pokesdown provided a nucleus.

This Estate consisted of the present Parkwood Road as far as its junction with Woodside Road, Harvey, Colville, Pauncefote and Queensland Roads, with a Christchurch Road frontage from Woodland Walk. A notice in October 1881 stated that there were available several 'choice and well timbered sites' in the Boscombe Park Estate.

The announcement in 1877 was perhaps a little premature and the plots sold slowly, and it was not until 1890 that all the Estate had been bought. Nevertheless the importance of the Estate may be gauged from the arrangements made for the sale of one hundred and twenty four plots on 22 May 1889. The sale was held in a marquee erected on the Estate, and attracted a number of 'local and London capitalists'. A special train was arranged for the benefit of London buyers, leaving Waterloo at 10.30 and bringing about one hundred and sixty. On arrival at Bournemouth they were conveyed along the sea front from the East Cliff , and a lunch was given in the marquee. The plots were sold at varying prices from £250 to £350 each, and included twenty eight shop sites. At the close of the sale the visitors were taken to see the work on the building of Boscombe Pier, returning to London at 7 o'clock.

1887 was the year in which the Religious of the Cross moved from Branksome Wood Road to set up a new convent in Parkwood Road, in the Boscombe Park Estate. The foundation stone of the convent was laid on 6th September 1888. The original building was on plot 9 of the Estate, where there was an existing iron church. The new stone built convent was to have three floors. The plans still exist and show on the ground floor an extension to the church to form a nun's choir, a sacristy in which the priest would robe, and a priest's parlour. There was a kitchen and scullery, a playroom, a children's refectory, and two parlours. The first floor had two classrooms.

1884 The Eastbourne Park Estate and Expansion at Boscombe Park

In 1884 a new Building Estate was to be added to the development of Pokesdown. This was the Eastbourne Park Estate, which described itself on plans as being at Pokesdown near Bournemouth. The roads here were unremarkably named - Woodside Road, Parkwood Road, West Road, Stourfield Road and Southcliffe Road - leading to Cobden Road and later to become part of Seabourne Road. The Estate was divided into about eighty one plots and bordered by the Boscombe Park Estate and by land belonging to the Hon. W. H. B. Portman. Fisherman's Walk was at this time an unnamed path to the sea from the corner of the Estate. By 1884 Parkwood Road, which had previously run from Christchurch Road to Darracott Road, had been extended south east to join West Road, and ran over the Eastbourne Park Estate to Southcliffe Road, and then on to Hampden Road. Another road on the Boscombe Park Estate had been constructed parallel to Darracott Road. West Road also ran across the Boscombe Park Estate.

The land between West Road and Southcliffe Road was not part of the land allotted in 1805; it was part of an inclosure called New Park, which had been inclosed in 1786 by Edmund Bott, who at that time lived at Stourfield House, which he had built. In the absence of records to show the history of the land, it would be safe to assume that part of New Park was purchased by the Boscombe Park Estate Company and then part of this land instead of being sold to Boscombe Park Company was sold as the Eastbourne Park Estate. There is no recorded reason for this change of name.

Between Seabourne and Southbourne Roads, the Boscombe Park Estate acquired a further area of land through which Parkwood Road was extended to meet Southbourne Road. This piece of land was divided into twenty five building lots, all except four facing Southbourne Road. The other four bordered part of Southville Road. This little block of plots was sold by auction in July 1890 by Hankinson and Lane.

A smaller area, divided however into twenty eight plots, was sold on 4th May 1903; these plots were mostly in Dean and Hosker Roads, with two plots on Southbourne Road.

On the opposite side of Christchurch Road an area of about six and three quarters acres was sold on 11 September 1890, being divided into seventy eight plots, about half of which fronted on to Christchurch Road, whilst the remainder were in Hannington, Wickham and Warwick Roads. There were in fact thirty six plots on Christchurch Road, designated for shops, although eventually those adjoining Hannington Road became the site of the Pokesdown Art and Technical School. According to size and location the plots realised between £90 and £150 each.

It was reported that the sale realised a total of about £7,000.

Clarence Park Estate

This estate consisted of twenty two acres of freehold land abutting Christchurch Road, and adjoining Pokesdown Station. On the north it was bounded by the open space then known as Poors Common, but now part of King's Park. It was bought by the Bournemouth Land Society and laid out into three hundred and twelve building plots. Most of them were relatively small. but proved to be attractive to many prospective purchasers and prices averaged at £70 a plot, including the cost of conveyancing. The Society held a ballot at Boscombe Hall, Haviland Road, on 20th September 1892 for the allocation of the individual lots, and this was preceded by an invitation dinner, at which about two hundred and fifty people were present. One condition of sale was that water had to be obtained from the Bournemouth Water Company, and purchasers were not permitted to sink individual wells.

Priory View Estate

The gravel pit at the top of Pokesdown Hill had become exhausted by 1891, and at a meeting of the Christchurch Vestry on 4 August 1892 a resolution was passed consenting to the sale by the Highway Board of the pit at 'such price as the Justices may deem fair and reasonable*. Tenders were invited for the land, amounting to about two and three quarters acres, and it was sold to the Boscombe Land Society by whom it was developed as the Priory View Estate, the purchase being completed on 29 November 1892.

Having a frontage of three hundred and twenty eight feet on Christchurch Road, the Estate was split into twenty six terrace sites on Christchurch Road, suitable for shops, five sites on Connaught Road for villas, and five sites suitable for workshops or stabling. In the notice of the sale, to be held on 24 May 1893, the auctioneers stated that "Its exceedingly valuable position on the Main Road together with the fact of it being in the heart of the estates now rapidly being developed makes it a splendid opportunity for a safe investment. It is situated on the very crown of the hill in full view of the Priory Church at Christchurch'. It is recorded that a lunch was served at the Boscombe Auction Mart before the sale, and during the sale coffee and cigars were handed round.

Some of the estate roads were named for members of the Committees of the Estate Companies; Douglas Road (now part of Colville Road), Stedman Road, Hosker Road and Harvey Road (which was at first called Pine Grove).

With the very considerable building activity in the district there was, of course, need for large quantities of bricks. Many of these were supplied from brickfields fairly nearby. At various times there were brickfields near Cotlands Road, near Trinity Church, on the West Cliff towards Westbourne, in Springbourne, in Boscombe Chine, at Queen's Park and in King's Park. In each clay-pit there was a fairly primitive kiln, capable of holding thousands of bricks. Other bricks came from near Bransgore, where there were several brickfields. Wages of brick-makers were of the order of three shillings for a day of twelve hours.