Bournemouth Beach & Pier
Bournemouth Gardens With Stream
Bournemouth Beach Huts

Bournemouth Visitor Guide


Bournemouth in Dorset, a brief insight into its history.

The town’s name originates from its position at the mouth of the Bourne Stream, hence Bourne-Mouth. The area surrounding Bournemouth has been the location of human settlement for thousands of years. However in 1800 the Bournemouth area was largely an isolated and unproductive heathland. The only regular visitors were fishermen, turf cutters and gangs of smugglers until the 16th century then the area was utilised as a hunting estate during the Tudor period, known as Stourfield Chase, but by the late 18th century only a few small parts of it were maintained.

In 1809, the Tapps Arms public house appeared on the heath. A few years later, in 1812, the first resident, retired army officer Lewis Tregonwell, built a series of sea villas for holiday lettings. Hundreds of pine trees were planted to create a sheltered walk to the beach (later known as the 'Invalids Walk'). The town would ultimately grow up around these pines. In 1832 when Tregonwell died, a small community with a scattering of houses, villas and cottages had developed. In 1840 the stagecoach which travelled from Southampton to Weymouth began to call at Bournemouth,

Bournemouth started to grow at a faster rate as the seaside village developed into a resort similar to those at Weymouth and Brighton. In 1841, the town was visited by the physician and writer Augustus Granville. As a result of his visit, Dr Granville included a chapter on Bournemouth in one of his books. It was the publication of this, as well as the growth of visitors to the seaside seeking the medicinal use of the seawater and the fresh air of the pines, which allowed the town to grow and become an early tourist destination.

In 1856 Parliament approved the Bournemouth Improvement Act. Under the Act, the infrastructure of the town, such as paving, sewers, drainage, street lighting and street cleaning was established. In 1851 Bournemouth was still a little village with a population of only 695 but by 1861 it had risen to over 1,700. In 1864 the town gained gas street lighting and in 1866 Bournemouth received a piped water supply.

The railway was linked to Bournemouth in 1870 and increased the number of visitors tremendously. This allowed an enormous increase of seaside and summer visits to the town, particularly by people from London and the Midlands. In 1880 the town had a population of 17,000 people but by 1900, when railway connections were at their most developed to Bournemouth, the total had risen to 60,000.

As Bournemouth's expansion quickened in the early 20th century, theatres, cafés, two art deco cinemas and more hotels appeared. The War Memorial was erected in 1921 and the Bournemouth Pavilion, the town’s concert hall and grand theatre were completed in 1925. The town escaped great damage during the Second World War but in 1939 many schoolchildren were evacuated from Portsmouth and Southampton to Bournemouth, where it was thought they would be safe. However, during World War II 219 people were killed in Bournemouth by German bombing.

In 1985, Bournemouth became the first town in the United Kingdom to introduce and use CCTV cameras for public street-based surveillance.

Disclaimer: The information in this Tourist Guide has been researched from a variety of sources including books, articles and online information. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information the reader should check any specific facts for themselves before making any decisions based upon the said information.

Royal Bournemouth Hospital

Castle Lane East
United Kingdom

01202 303626

Bournemouth Tourist Information Centre

Westover Road

0845 051 1700


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015