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Page 14 – The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown: late 1960s

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

Allan Clappen, who had already financed the new organ, gave a further generous gift which enabled welcome alterations to the front of the church building. Robert J. Jeans, author of the church’s first one hundred years history, and at this time the Church Secretary, explains: “The almost blank wall facing the street (see photo top of page) did not suggest the place was a church. Alterations would provide a central entrance to a vestibule, separated by a glass screen. The public would have a line of vision from the street through to an illuminated cross over the pulpit lit from dusk until eleven o’clock each evening. The scheme included the blocking of the former entrances and cloakrooms built under the stairs to the galleries.”91

1962 Taunton Courier newspaper article mentioning Rev. Cowlan.
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved.
With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive.
Illuminated cross as it looks today.
Photo taken 19th April 2021 for RPBC.

In December 1968 Rev. Cowlan advised the Church Secretary he would be finishing his ministry at RPBC in March 1969 to take up a new job. The Moderator, Rev. John Saunders, wrote that Rev. Cowlan had “been gifted with a warm hearted personality and a strong sense of pastoral care which made him sensitive to our various needs and has led us into fields of Christian fellowship with other Churches in the area and has enriched us more than we know. He has been wonderfully supported by his most gifted wife [Elizabeth], who has so fully identified herself to all aspects of the Church activities as well as using her outstanding dramatic abilities”.92

Here’s a nostalgia time-check for you: the end of steam trains! The low price of domestic coal, and an emotional attachment are suggested as two reasons for the procrastination over moving on from using steam engines.93 It took until December 1954 for the British Transport Commission to publish a modernisation plan for the railways, which included replacing steam engines with diesel and electric engines.94 By January 1966 the London Waterloo to Weymouth line was one of the last stretches of railway to still be almost fully steam operated. Its last steam train ran on 8th July 1967.95

The following 1963 publication of ‘The Reshaping of Britain’s Railways’, commonly known as the ‘Beeching Report’96 resulted in Boscombe Station (on Ashley Road) being closed on 4th October 1965.97

I really want to share this photo, but am unable to as there’s been no response to my requests to buy/license it for use here.

A grainy poor quality black and white photo of steam train called Bournemouth Belle.
Bournemouth Belle passing Pokesdown, April 1959. Source: J.A. Young’s ‘Pokesdown and Iford Yesterday’.
This bus is a diesel Daimler, no more overhead wires needed!
Source: Old Bus Photos © Diesel Dave.

Another major change in transport gave the roads a different look, as the decision was made in 1963 to replace the trolleybuses with diesel buses. No more overhead wires needed! The final trolleybus scheduled service ran on 19th April 1969.98

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The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 14. 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