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Page 19 – The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown: Pokesdown 2012 to 2019

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In 2012, Pokesdown South Residents Association won a £22,000 Lottery grant to purchase a 14ft-high welcome sign featuring a picture of village life from around 1900, a plaque showing the history of the area, two new benches, two solar lamps, four oaks, and more shrubs. Pam Ruthvan from the Association explained to the Echo newspaper: “we want to give [Pokesdown] back the identity it’s lost over the years.”120

Click on the image for a higher resolution version.

Then in April/May 2012, this Residents Association and Pokesdown traders merged to become the new Pokesdown Community Forum.120a

colour photo of stalls on Pokesdown Green for a fair, from April 2013
Pokesdown Community Forum on Pokesdown Green. Date: April 2013. Source: Pokesdown Community Forum Facebook.
Community Forum seal based on the Urban District Council’s

Writing in 2015, Milla and Stuart at ‘Beyond Beach Huts‘ described Pokesdown:121

Pokesdown starts and ends at its train station which was opened in 1886 and it seems like the station has only had some TLC about 100 years later waiting for another 100 years to pass. Totally stuck in the 80s! There is of course also the small green opposite the train station. It is the centre of a community project and even received a lottery grant! It’s used for small events and days commemorating the history of the area. Now, this is pretty much it. If you’ve found these areas, you are at the heart of Pokesdown!

The area has its own character if you compare it to its more well-known neighbours even though there is a blurred line as to where one ends and the other starts. Pokesdown has almost no high street chain type stores with pretty much everything being local independents. This is solely to celebrate! Also known as the Vintage Quarter, the large amount of antique and vintage shops lining the one and only shopping street in the district is hard not to notice. These aren’t only the expensive “proper” antiques but mostly affordable with great finds!

The stretch of Christchurch Road to Pokesdown used to be full of empty shops but slowly the area has started to regain its value through this very welcomed movement… There are also plenty of chances to have a tea or refreshments along the way …

The ones we’ve collected on this map are by no means all of them and we’ve probably missed quite a few gems, so the best thing you can do is just go on a discovery! The area is changing constantly (in a good way), so this map might be outdated in no time at all. More shops will probably open and a few will close – you know, the normal lifeline of a small shopping street.

a simplified map of greeny yellow straight roads showing the vintage shops in Christchurch Road, Pokesdown, 2015 made by blog Beyond Beach Huts
Source: Beyond Beach Huts Date: 2015

A Daily Echo article from May 2013 explains:122

“Pokesdown Community Forum has been working with Bournemouth Council to track down landlords for the area’s empty shops so they can be occupied by home-grown vintage and creative businesses. Over the last three years they have helped fill more than 40 shops.”

Pokesdown Community Forum have also been spearheading the decade-plus long campaign to make Pokesdown Station accessible, where the lifts from the platforms to the footbridge have been out-of-order since about 1984, meaning the only access is via 42 steps. Full details of the key issues can be read here:
The Case For Pokesdown Station – Making The Station Accessible.
You can sign the petition here.122a There’s even a ‘Pokesdown Station Song‘!

This next map shows the area still struggling in many ways. The ‘Indices of Multiple Deprivation’ measures and combines seven areas -income, employment, health, education, living environment, crime, and barriers to housing & services- to assess if individuals and families lack basic necessities.

colour photo of modern day steps up from Pokesdown Station platform to the footbridge
Steps up from the platform at Pokesdown Station to the footbridge.
Photo taken for RPBC, 26th May 2021.

“Deprivation in the BCP area is polarised in a small number of highly deprived areas. They have been split into 4 categories of deprivation: Entrenched, Escalating, Continuing and Emerging. Clusters of deprived areas focus around 2 wards: Boscombe West and Kinson. All 5 areas with ‘Entrenched deprivation’ are within these two wards. Deprivation in these areas appears to be spreading or diffusing into neighbouring or nearby areas. A number of areas with ‘Escalating’ and ‘Emerging’ deprivation, where relative levels of deprivation have increased border or are close to these areas.” ~ BCP Insight Briefing Paper.123

Source: Indices of Deprivation and BCP-Insight-IMD-2019.pdf Click on image for higher resolution version.

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The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 19 (2012 to 2019). Author: Michelle Fogg. Date: May 2022. Url:

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Rosebery Park Baptist Church, 812-814 Christchurch Road, between Boscombe and Pokesdown, Bournemouth, BH7 6DF