Dorset, England
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Poole, Dorset, England         OS Map Grid Ref: SZ009904
 The County of Dorset
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When the gravel peninsula which is Poole was first settled is unknown but the name derives from the Celtic Pwll, Saxon Pol. The Normans knew it as La Pole.

Much of the history of Poole is connected to that of the unique harbour. Earlier settlements may lie under the waters here, but the area was certainly occupied bu the Iron Age and, indeed, was the most important port in the British Isles at the time, trading with Roman Europe and beyond. When the Roman legions invaded the British Isles, they used the harbour here which was well-known to their mariners as a supply base. The Romans departed early in the 5th century and is is likely that Poole was a small fishing village during the Saxon period when the area became part of the kingdom of Wessex and was frequently raided by the Danes.

In Saxon and medieval times, Wareham was the chief port of the area but, as its rivers silted up, it decayed as a port while Poole's dominance of the harbour grew. It served as a port to the extensive manor of Canford Magna until 1248 when William Longespée, the Lord of the Manor, granted the port its first charter. By the 14th century Poole sent four ships to the seige of Calais and the Town Cellars was used for storing wool for export - in 1433, the monarch made it Dorset's Staple Port. Poole had wide-ranging trading links - from the Baltic to Spain and even Italy.

Supporting Parliament during the Civil War, the town was rewarded for its disloyalty to his father by Charles II who ordered the town walls to be raised. The profitable trade with Newfoundland which commenced in the 17th century allowed merchants to build many fine houses in the Old Town and during the following two centuries the area took part in the smuggling which was rife along the south coast. At the beginning of the 19th century some 90% of the workers of the town were employed in the port or harbour and many women and girls knitted woollen stockings. By the close of the century, better transport and new industries, as well as the decay of the port meant only ten per cent of the workforce were employed by port or harbour. Both the latter had seriously decayed until the establishment of the Poole Harbour Commissioners in 1895.

see also: Poole Harbour     Museums     Economic History

    Town Cellars, Poole Quay, Dorset  The Custom House, Poole Quay, Dorset   


 The Lake looking south from Poole Park
Looking south across the lake from Poole Park towards the Purbecks

 View north towards the Lifeboat Museum  West from Town Quay near the Lifeboat Musuem to Hamworthy with the Texaco Fuel Terminal on the left


This time-line has been generated for this page from our general time-line
which you can view by clicking here or on the dates in the left-hand column

1239Poole granted a charter
Six councillors were elected, one of whome was appointed Reeve (a sort of mayor) by the Lord of canford Manor
1275Bitter dispute between the Constable of Corfe Castle and the Abbot of Cerne about casks of wine washed up on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour
1377Part of Poole burnt by French raiders
1405French and Spanish make combined attack on Poole
1433Poole made a wool staple
1453Poole granted the right to hold two annual fairs
1524Cannons are mounted on a wooden platform at Poole for defence
circa 1540John Leland visits Poole
1562Mayor of Poole petitions Privy Council for funds to restore the delapidated fortifications of Brownsea Island
1568Charter granted to Poole making it independent of Canford Manor
1574Census at Poole in Dorset shows it has a population of 1,373
1576Queen Elizabeth I grants Sir Christopher Hatton Brownsea Castle in Poole Harbour
1643Royalist cavalry tricked into a trap at Poole
1645Poole suffers and outbreak of the plague
1665.Sep.15Charles II and the Duke of Monmouth sail into Poole Harbour as the court flees the plague in London and dine with the mayor of Poole
by 1698Tho Hyde of Poole and Lewis Cockram of Swanage have a partnership to dig white Dorset clay
1761New town hall built at Poole
1813Customs House built at Poole
1820St James Church built at Poole
1820Harbour Office built at Poole
1834Toll bridge erected to link Poole with Hamworthy
1847The railway joins Southampton to Dorchester but by-passes Christchurch and Poole for reasons of cost
1848Brownsea Island comes into the possession of Lieutenant-Colonel Waugh
1859Private company starts supplying water to Poole
1872Railway reaches the centre of Poole
1887First public library opened in Poole
1890Poole Park opens
1890Parkstone Park opens
1895Poole Harbour Commisssioners established by Parliament to manage and develop the run-down port
1896Brownsea Castle burns down
1901Trams services introduced in Poole
1903Bournemouth and Poole Electricity Company establishes power station in Christchurch, Dorset
1906Poole council takes over the town\'s water supply from the company established in 1859
1910First cinema opens in Poole
1932Civic Centre built in Poole
1935Last trams withdrawn from service at Poole
196433-foot long log boat dated to about 800 BC dredged up from just north of Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour
1969The Dolphin Centre opens in Poole (as the Arndale Centre)
1969Poole General Hospital opens
1974The Dolphin Centre opens in Poole
1978The Lighhouse opens in Poole (as the Arts Centre)
19781,014-km (630 mile) South West Coast Path from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset becomes a complete National Trail
1989Opening of the Waterfront Museum in Poole
2002Huge Iron-Age port complex discovered beneath the waters of Poole Harbour
2002.Jul.16Portland Sea Rescue Helicopter crash lands at Hamworthy and is completely burnt with no loss of life

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Port of Poole

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