History: Page 2

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The Rosebery Park Estate

Rosebery Park Baptist Church History Map, 1889 to 1950. On Old Ordnance Survey Map Godfrey Edition ‘Boscombe & Pokesdown 1923’.23

1. In the 1880s ‘Freemantle’ was the name for the area between Pokesdown and Boscombe. The nucleus of the original Rosebery Park Baptist fellowship came from the Baptist Mission Chapel at Freemantle, opened in 1889, on the same site now occupied by the present Rosebery Park Baptist Church building (812-814 Christchurch Road).
2. In 1891 the new fellowship met in a rented school room in Stanley Road, which later had its name changed to Livingstone Road.
3. The chapel on the corner of Harcourt and Morley Roads, on the Rosebery Park Estate, was built in 1892. It was expanded in 1897 and 1925.23

Here is historical evidence of the name Rosebery Park Estate! from the ‘Bournemouth Guardian’, June 1889: an advert for the sale of building plots; and an article in the ‘Christchurch Times’ newspaper, dated 31st January 1891, discussing problems with the state of the roads.

Morley and Harcourt Road signs today, opposite the chapel. Plus signs for Granville and Rosebery Roads. Photo taken 15&16/03/2021 for RPBC.

A PDF of the newspaper articles and documents is available here. They are images, and not plain text, but they can at least be enlarged for easier viewing this way.

newspaper ad 1889 building lots for sale on the Rosebery Park Estate
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.
1891 Christchurch Time newspaper cutting
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.

This amazing parchment document is the original conveyance paperwork for the purchase of Lot 103, on the Rosebery Park Estate, in May 1887, “Between John Green Chemist Thomas Gosling Builder and Henry West Jenkins Builder all of Christchurch in the County of Southampton…” This same freehold was bought by William Bolton -famous as Pokesdown’s grocer, Post Office, and Alderman- in 1903. (It looks like the chapel would have been built on lot 47).

Source: Pam Ruthvan, Pokesdown Community Forum.

“Rosebery Park” is a composite of the name of the famous Victorian aristocrat and Liberal politician, Lord Rosebery, and, as Young says, misusing the word “Park” to “glorify [an] unremarkable piece[s] of land being sold as [a] building estate[s]”!24

It must have been a common practise to name building ‘estates’ and roads after “national prominent people” even when they didn’t have any particular connection to the local area – there are over fifty such road names in Bournemouth.25 David Butterfield writes in his article, ‘British Street Names’, “Nineteenth-century urbanisation increasingly commemorated aristocratic landowners, parliamentarians worth their salt, and battles in which locals fell.”26

Lord Rosebery was the 5th Earl of Rosebery, Archibald Primrose, and was briefly Prime Minister in 1894/95. He is famous for marrying the richest woman in Britain -Hannah de Rothschild- organising Gladstone’s winning election campaign, being in the company of royalty, and owning race horses.27

Morley, Harcourt and Granville Roads were also named after Rosebery’s fellow politicians. Samuel Morley was an MP, industrialist, philanthropist and abolitionist (campaigned to end slavery)28 – a busy man! Sir William Harcourt’s roles included Solicitor General in Gladstone’s first ministry, and later, Leader of the House of Commons. The second Earl Granville, George Leveson-Gower, was Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, then Foreign Secretary, then leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords.29

A Bournemouth Daily Echo article from 1900 states that “Eminent political personages have been freely drawn upon [by the road-namers]”! “For here [in Pokesdown] we find the names of such modern political lights as Rosebery, Morley, Harcourt… among others”.30

Cartoon courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum.

Photos courtesy of National Portrait Gallery. 30a

You can watch a 3 minute video on the origins of the name “Rosebery Park” on our History: Summary page 🙂

In his memoir, ‘Pokesdown and Neighbourhood, 1895 to 1910’, E.G. Wills describes the Rosebery Park Estate and adjoining roads:31

“Then came a cottage where Mr. Mitchell, the local foreman of the Bournemouth, Boscombe and Westbourne Omnibus Company lived and a wide driveway down to the stables and yard for the buses and horses. This is where later a tram shed was built and the stables and buildings were taken over by the Bournemouth Corporation for their Pokesdown depot, after their extension of the Borough had taken place.

Between the house where the foreman lived and Morley Road, there was Clarks the bakers (later Hannams), an ironmongers shop and a paper shop and tobacconists, and on the corner Summerbee’s fruit and vegetable shop.

On the other corner up to Rosebery Road were several shops including Samson the cycle shop, Mitchelmores the shoe shop and another paper shop and tobacconists with another hoarding on the corner. On the other corner of Rosebery Road was Larkins the coal merchant, dealing in hay, corn and firewood as well. Then up to Queensland Road was Dr. Dickie’s garden and coach house and stable, looked after by Bill Kent, followed on the corner by Dr. Dickie’s surgery and his private house.

Parkwood Road, Harvey Road, Pauncefort Road, Granville Road, Queensland Road, Rosebery Road and Harcourt Road were recognised as the well-to-do part of Pokesdown, the remainder being the working classes homes and shops. Southbourne Road was also a high class neighbourhood.

On the other side of Cromwell Road from Christchurch Road was a field to the back of the houses in Morley Road; this field was where cattle grazed while waiting to be slaughtered at the back of the next building which was another Wrenns the butcher shop.”

There were many more shops between Queen’s Road (now Queensland Road) and Parkwood Road, and along all of Cromwell Road (now Seabourne Road): a cutlery shop, a clothier, stationer, jewellers, hairdresser, sweetshop, drapers, greengrocer, chemist, off licence, shoe mender, Post Office, joinery works, coal merchants, bakers, dairy, fishmonger, barber, paint and oil shop – and more than one of many of them.

From the corner house at the junction of Parkwood Road with Southbourne Road, right along to the corner of Stourwood Avenue was a large field where residents of Pokesdown could tether their horses and goats when not being used, and a forest of pine and beech trees. All the land east from Irving Road to Tuckton Road was farmland.32

a 1898 road map of Pokesdown with the boundaries of the Rosebery Park Estate shown and photos of nearby historic buildings
The Rosebery Park Estate shown on 1898 map of Pokesdown, using the descriptions from E.G. Wills ‘Pokesdown and Neighbourhood
1895 to 1910: A Memoir’ – shops in red – and other well-known local landmarks from over the years.33

If you know where the name “Lockyer Hall” came from for the old chapel in Morley Road, let us know! (For all the theories about this, see note 33 in Sources of Information!)

I could only fit some of Pokesdown’s history gems on the map above, so I’ve made a table to acknowledge some more of them:33a

Pokesdown Heritage Buildings (within 1895 Urban District Council boundary), Table 1 of 2, 1761 to 1899. Also available as a PDF.
Pokesdown Heritage Buildings (within 1895 Urban District Council boundary), Table 2 of 2, 1900 to 1932. Also available as a PDF.

Rosebery Park Baptist Church’s First Minister

Whilst meeting in the hired school room, and then for the first nine months in the newly completed chapel, services were led by a mix of “good and worthy brethren”, including an eight-day gospel mission led by Mr King of the Pastor’s College, Metropolitan Tabernacle.34

Pastor Edward Lawrence was the first dedicated Minister of Rosebery Park Baptist Church, from 1893 to 1898. He had been a last-minute fill-in preacher on one Sunday in April 1893, who the congregation liked so much, they asked him to stay on! Under his leadership, Articles of Faith (a statement about what this church believes) and rules of membership were established. He and his wife are mentioned in these newspaper articles from 1895. “On the sands” means down on the beach!

Rosebery Park Baptist Chapel Pokesdown 1895 newspaper article
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.
Third anniversary of Rosebery Park Baptist Church newspaper article 1895
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.

The church’s history booklet explains: “Mr. Lawrence’s evangelical ministry was such that the small chapel became overcrowded and a larger building was erected on the site [in 1897], the original chapel being used for Sunday School work.”

“During his ministry the Sunday School, started in October 1892 had grown to forty scholars and a bible class for adult males, started on the first Sunday in 1894 with sixteen members.”35

Drawing from booklet ‘Rosebery Park Baptist Church:
The First Hundred Years’ by Robert J. Jeans.

Into a new century…

It was during Rev. William Perkin’s ministry, 1899 to 1918, that Rosebery Park Baptist Church, until then an independent Baptist church, was accepted into membership of the Baptist Union.36

An article in the ‘Bournemouth Guardian’, from 1906, describes Rev. Perkins as “esteemed from one end of the town to the other as a Christian gentleman, as an earnest worker, and as a most strenuous pastor” to a church of “very earnest and struggling people”.37

In 1912, thanking attendees at a sale of goods, Rev. Perkins describes the church as “not absolutely poverty stricken” but “a poor church” which “needed outside help”.38

The 1914 ‘Bournemouth Guardian’ report on the church’s annual sale includes the explanation from the church secretaries: “We are obliged by the necessity of maintaining our pastoral work to hold our annual sale of work. Urgent requirements alone compel us to this course, notwithstanding the great war claims of this year… our pastor’s large dependence for his stipend upon the produce of this sale leaves us no option in the matter.”39

Rev. William Perkins, Minister at RPBC 1899 to 1918.
Photo property of RPBC.
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.

In January 1915 we read the sad announcement in the Bournemouth Graphic of the funeral of Eleanor Perkins, Rev. Perkin’s wife.40

We don’t have full details of what the church or church members were doing during, specifically, the duration of the First World War. We have a Bournemouth Guardian article on 22nd November 1919, which speaks of a social evening to welcome back seven returned service members (see below). We know that the Minister who started at the church in 1918 was a Chaplain with the forces during the war41, and that the church collected money for the wounded soldiers and sailors fund.42 In addition, we can get a picture of life in general in the Pokesdown area from M.A. Edgington’s booklet ‘Bournemouth and the First World War’.

Overall, Bournemouth had to accommodate 16,000 troops. Infantry and mounted men, including troops from New Zealand, were billeted in Pokesdown, Boscombe and Southbourne. Plus there was an encampment at Iford. As part of the efforts to provide recreational facilities for the men, a new YMCA hut was built at Pokesdown near the railway station. Pokesdown Technical Institute, on the corner of Hannington and Christchurch Roads, was the home of the ‘Bournemouth War Hospital Wood Work Depot’. The local scouts helped collect wood, which the men at the depot made into useful articles such as crutches and bed tables. An Empire Club for girls was started, by the same women who organised patrols to shoo the girls away from the soldiers! Activities for the girls included physical training, drill, singing classes and dressmaking.43

At his farewell service, October 1918, it was said of Rev. Perkins that he was a scholar with a very extensive knowledge but what justified him becoming a minister was his deep spirituality.44 A 1921 article, about the long campaign for a new school, describes him as one of the “old stalwarts of Pokesdown”.45

The tramway from Lansdowne to Warwick Road, Pokesdown was opened in 1902, after a series of legal battles between the British Electric Traction Company and the Bournemouth Corporation. In 1905 it was extended to Christchurch, via Seabourne Road, Pokesdown.45a

newspaper cutting from the Bournemouth Graphic in 1905, praising the extension of the tramway to Pokesdown
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved.
With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.
c.1911 Tram by Poole Station, on its way to Boscombe and through Pokesdown to Fisherman’s Walk.
Source: Tramway Badges and Buttons courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.
Granville Road on the Rosebery Park Estate, c.1909.
Source: Alwyn Ladell Flickr.
Morley Road chapel
Morley Road Chapel, photo taken in 1910.
From booklet ‘Pokesdown and Iford Yesterday’ by J.A. Young.
Morley Road on the Rosebery Park Estate. Undated. Source: Alwyn Ladell Flickr.
This is what the Morley Road chapel looks like today. Since 1st July 2018,
Turning Point Church have been using it for their Sunday services.
Photo taken 5th April 2018 for RPBC.
The Pokesdown Tram Depot was built in 1905 on the Christchurch Road. It’s back entrance (modern day Morley Close) is on Morley Road, on the Rosebery Park Estate. From booklet ‘Pokesdown Past 1750 to 1900’ by J.A. Young.
Pokesdown, Christchurch Road. Date unknown but c.1916.
Source: Boscombe East Post Office Twitter.

After serving as a Chaplain with the forces in World War One, Rev. Henry Bury was the third Minister of Rosebery Park Baptist Church, from 1918 to 1921. His ministry at RPBC saw the start of Boy Scouts and Girl Guide meetings, the church being registered as a place of worship in 1919, and the 1921 installation of electric light in the chapel, at a cost of £29.19s!46

Bournemouth Guardian 1918 Henry Bury recognised as pastor RPBC
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.
Rev. Henry Bury, Minister at RPBC 1918 to 1921.
Photo property of RPBC.

The initials “6th and 7th Wm. iv c.85” in this cutting stand for The Marriage Act of 1836, in the 6th and 7th year of the reign of his majesty King William the Fourth.46a

Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.
newspaper article in Bournemouth Guardian, 1919, saying the Baptist church in Harcourt Road has been certified for religious worship
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.
Bournemouth Guardian 1919 Henry Bury anniversary
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.

The copy and paste citation for this page: The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 2. Author: Michelle Fogg. Date: June 2021. Url: https://roseberypark.org/history/incl-pokesdown-page-2/

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