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Page 2 – The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown: late 1800s, Setting the scene, cont’d

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The island platform of the original Pokesdown Station. Source: ebay redgate8

In July 1886 the railway station opened at Pokesdown. It was called “Boscombe Station” until it was re-named Pokesdown Station in May 1897, in preparation for the new Boscombe Station opening in Ashley Road in June 1897! The original entrance was from the centre of the bridge over the railway. There were five horse-drawn omnibuses each weekday between Pokesdown Station and Bournemouth Square.12a

Written by Charles Henry Mate for the town’s first official centenary, and published in 1910, ‘Bournemouth: 1810-1910, the history of a modern health and pleasure resort’ is regarded as the standard early reference on the town.13 Here he talks about the urbanisation and growth of Pokesdown:14

“When they gave up the reins of Office in 1890, the Commissioners handed over to their successors the care of an area comprising 2,592 acres. This remained the area of the new municipal borough down to 1901 —a year after Bournemouth had become a County Borough—when a new extension took place which more than doubled the total area— bringing it up to 5,850 acres. The districts thus incorporated were Pokesdown, Winton, and Southbourne. Pokesdown was the centre of one of those artizan communities which we have already referred to as springing up on the confines of the borough in the middle of the last century. On the passing of the Local Government Act Of 1894, it elected its   first Parish Council , which a year later was superseded by an Urban District Council. Long before that there had been agitation for the inclusion of Pokesdown within the Borough Of Bournemouth, and in 1892, the Town Council, by ten votes to three (six not voting) passed a resolution favouring the inclusion of both Pokesdown and Winton. But having done that, they waited so long that the Pokesdown people became impatient, and petitioned for the establishment Of an Urban Council of their own, which they secured, as stated, in 1895. To the credit of that Authority it may be mentioned, that they so improved the amenities of the district that the population considerably more than doubled itself in the decade — 1891 to 1901 — for whereas at the former Census the emuneration showed 2,239 souls, at the latter the total was no less than 4,930.”

Here are some significant events in local and national history, to help put the beginnings of Rosebery Park Baptist Church into context:15

There is a PDF plain text version available of Timeline 1 here.

From Boscombe to Freemantle to Rosebery Park…

Freemantle Baptist Chapel on Christchurch Road. Source: booklet ‘Rosebery Park Baptist Church:
The First Hundred Years’ by Robert J. Jeans

From 1876, to the early 1920s16, ‘Freemantle’ was the name for the area between Pokesdown and Boscombe on the Christchurch Road. Or as the 1898 edition of ‘Kelly’s Directory of Hampshire’ describes it: “Freemantle is a district adjoining Boscombe, the whole of which is within the ecclesiastical district of Pokesdown”17. It was here that members from the Boscombe Baptist Church (established in 1874)18 built an outreach mission hall, the Freemantle Baptist Mission Chapel, in 1889. It was on the same site now occupied by the present Rosebery Park Baptist Church, between Somerset and Warwick Roads, on the Christchurch Road.19 The Freemantle Chapel seated 200 people, and Sunday services were held at 3pm and 6.30pm.20

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The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 2. 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