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pokesdown vintage quarter

In 2019 local residents were invited to vote on whether they wanted to have a Neighbourhood Plan, and voted ‘Yes’ by 93.48%… but the turnout was only 13.74%, which indicates a disappointing degree of disinterest, after so much thought and effort has/had gone into creating a plan for the betterment of the neighbourhood. The Plan boundary follows the boundary of the combined wards of Boscombe East and Boscombe West. The consultation document explains:124

The community from Boscombe and Pokesdown decided to join up and prepare a joint Neighbourhood Plan in 2015 following various planning decisions and public realm alterations within the Forum’s boundary that they did not support. They were very concerned about the number of older buildings being replaced by contemporary developments of poor quality design, which provided only small flats and no family accommodation. They were equally concerned about the loss of retail floor space and the replacement of historic shopfronts.

Heritage is at the centre of the NP, as is the provision of family housing for which there is an overwhelming need. The Forum want people to stay in the area and for this to be an established sustainable place to live. The high street has a number of significant heritage assets and the Forum wish to celebrate these by having policies which will improve the public realm, renovate building façades and provide for a variety of uses so the vitality and viability of the area is improved.

The area has a number of regeneration initiatives taking place, but these are focused around Boscombe and there is little coordination between Pokesdown and Boscombe. The Forum is keen to ensure that the regeneration of the area is heritage led and boosts local creative businesses. The area also contains a number of development sites and the Forum were keen to have an active say in what these sites are developed for. They want to ensure that these developments directly benefit the immediate environment and neighbourhoods in which they are located, and for the community to have a say in the planned delivery of infrastructure.

The Forum has a strong desire to maintain and enhance Pokesdown as a specialist shopping area.

BAP8: Managing our high street124a – Zone 6: Pokesdown – Boscombe and Pokesdown Neighbourhood Forum will work with Partners, on an investment program for environmental improvements to the shop fronts, buildings facades and vacant units in Pokesdown. A mix of uses excluding residential will be encouraged at ground floor level in accordance with Bournemouth Local Plan Policies.

Church building by Tim Smart. Used by permission. Thank you!
From a set of illustrations created for
the Boscombe & Pokesdown Neighbourhood Plan, 2019.
Available as plain text (and therefore text-to-audio compatible)
from original source: Daily Echo. Also as PDF here.

In 2020 a new mural of doves was painted along the Pokesdown Station platform wall by artist Krishna Malla, who was commissioned by Network Rail to improve the appearance of the station. Krishna explains:

“My longest wall, heaviest brief and a project that’s been a long time in the making. This station has had a hard time over the past few years for depressing circumstances surrounding mental health, and Network Rail asked me to create a positive mural to help uplift the area. Under no disillusion that a mural will solve anyone’s problems, it has given me a chance to draw attention to this and offer some kind of support through the voice my murals have given me. I chose Doves as the subject matter because of their symbology…”124b You can read her full description here.

colour photo of panel one of dove mural on the wall at Pokesdown Station
First panel of Dove Mural at Pokesdown Station. This photo taken for RPBC, 12/06/2021.

A Daily Echo article, 20/08/2020, adds: “Other measures to improve the station have included signage from The Samaritans and the introduction of Land Sheriffs and Trespass Welfare Officers.”124c

colour photo of Simon & Priscilla Bartlett

Rev. Simon Bartlett became the minister of Rosebery Park Baptist Church in September 2019. Before this he worked as an engineer on power stations and then spent 17 years working in Azerbaijan.  Simon is married to Priscilla, who is from Sri Lanka.  They have two children, both now at university. 

Photo: Rev. Simon Bartlett and Priscilla Bartlett.

Throughout its history, you can see the ongoing theme of Rosebery Park Baptist Church reaching out to the surrounding community and inviting everyone in:

building the original chapel, 1892 – quadrupling the size of the chapel – still not enough room for all the people attending! – the first sixty years of Rosebery Park Baptist Church saw the membership increase tenfold – eventually manage to move to the needed much larger premises, October 1951;

Rev. Perkins (1899 to 1918 at RPBC) “esteemed from one end of the town to the other as a Christian gentleman, as an earnest worker, and as a most strenuous pastor”;

hiring (with other local churches), and being able to fill to over-flowing the Astoria and Palladium Cinemas in the 1930s, which seated thousands;

‘meeting and greeting’ holidaymakers as they arrived at the train station and coach stop in the heyday of the British seaside holiday in the 1950s;

changing the front of the building in 1969 to literally open it up with wider central doors and a glass panel between entrance and main hall;

for the church’s 88th anniversary in 1979, holding an exhibition to tell local residents about the church’s work and history of service and ministering to the community;

in 2012 being excited to open its doors to the community by serving teas and coffees as a venue on the route of the Olympic Torch;

with ‘Churches Together in Boscombe’ being involved with ‘Open the Book’ taking Bible stories into schools, and ‘Boscombe Angels’ who were a listening ear and a caring presence for those out on a Friday or Saturday night (2010-20).

In his ‘Welcome’ message, Simon comments:

“We could describe the few hundred metres between the church and Pokesdown Station as the Portobello Road of Bournemouth.  There’s a concentration of antique shops selling everything from bric-a-brac to high-class antiques, and a great selection of bakeries, cafés and restaurants.  But good as all this is, we hope that at Rosebery Park you will find something of even greater value!”

You are welcome to join us on Sundays at 10.30am or 4pm for our services.

The copy and paste citation for this page:
The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 20 (2019 to 2020). 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

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.

The copy and paste citation for this page:

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

Rev. Alison Overton,
Minister at RPBC 2009 – 2017.

Alison was appointed in 2009 as part-time minister. Alison is married to Rev. Grenville Overton, who was then Regional Minister for the Southern Counties Baptist Association.

She was a very able pastor, and encouraged children’s work. Under her, we became involved with Moorlands College, and started to have students from there on placement with us. The first was Seidel Abel Boanerges (see below). At around the same time, we appointed a Children, Youth & Family Worker – Rick Cole, who with his wife Helen, had just finished at Moorlands. Sadly in January 2015 he died from a heart attack, leaving a young widow. He had managed to build up some children’s activities, and his death left the church reeling.

These 2010 and onwards articles are available as plain text (and therefore text-to-audio compatible) by following the link given underneath each to their original source.

Daily Echo article about Pope's visit to Bournemouth
Source: Daily Echo
article in Bournemouth Daily Echo from 2010 about a meeting at Rosebery Park Baptist Church to discuss setting up a street pastors scheme
Source: Daily Echo
article from Baptist Times online showing the olympic flame passing by Rosebery Park Baptist Church in July 2012
Source: Baptist Times
Colour photo of Seidel, Alison, Grenville and in 2017
Rev Seidel Abel Boanerges, Rev. Alison Overton and Grenville Overton, and Linda Abel Boanerges.
Source: Alison Overton.

Alison was much involved with Churches Together in Boscombe, and had suggested the local churches start an Open the Book team, taking Bible stories into a local school. She began the group, which continued the work even during the Coronavirus lock-down, via videos and messages.

colour photo of Rev Alison and youth worker Rick Cole on Pokesdown Green
Rev. Alison Overton and Children, Youth & Family Worker, Rick Cole, and Karon Anderson on Pokesdown Green, June 2014. Source: RPBC Facebook.

She also introduced Boscombe Angels (Street Pastors), of which she was one to start with, but found she could not do that and all the other activities!117 There were six baptisms, holiday clubs, restarting Brownies, the after school club, activity days, Wednesday coffee morning group, Bible study, outreach coffee mornings, plus, afternoon church. Alison retired in 2017.

Ladies Fellowship outing, June 2014.
Source: David and Pauline Grant, RPBC.
colour photo of people stood singing in church
Service in church, Nov 2014. Source: RPBC.
Church group photo,1st October 2017. Source: David and Pauline Grant, RPBC

In 2009 the Pokesdown Mural Project was proposed by a local action group based at Scribe Tattooing, and they secured funding from the council to commission urban artist Soap (aka Adam Klodzinski) to design and paint a mural on the long blank wall along Pokesdown Station platform. Work began on this in June 2011. In September that year it won the Community Rail Awards for Community Arts Scheme.117a

Date this photo: 5 Feb 2012. Source: © Chris Downer Geograph
A March 2012 service in RPBC; handing out newspapers and inviting people in for coffee; Alison preaching;
Alison and Seidel baptise Karon (March 2013); Boscombe Angels (March 2016).
Bournemouth Daily Echo article from 2012 about Rev Seidel Abel Boanerges being ordained as associate minister for Rosebery Park Baptist Church
Source: Daily Echo

Rev Seidel Abel Boanerges was the Associate Minister at Rosebery Park. This post was created to oversee the evangelism and outreach of the church. He joined the leadership team at Rosebery Park in 2012 and served till end of 2015 before taking on a new role as the Director of Outreach at Capernwray Bible School at Capernwray Hall.118

colour photo of square red brick building and blue sign with white writing saying Rosebery Park Baptist Church
Church Building, 2015. Source: Alwyn Ladell Flickr.
colour photo of Rev. Seidel Abel Boanerges
Rev Seidel Abel Boanerges,
Associate Minister 2012 to 2015.

The booklet Rosebery Park Baptist Church: The First Hundred Years, 1891 to 1991, by Robert J. Jeans, includes much more detail on things such as internal changes to the buildings, what roles individuals undertook in the church, the different groups and activities run over the years, what outside causes and missionaries we supported, and the people who oversaw the church (called Moderators) whilst we were in-between Ministers.

Post-1991, during the “interregnum” (Minister-less gap!) between Rev. Philip Parfitt and Rev. Alison Overton, Rev. Adrian Thomas acted as Moderator, and retired minister, Rev. Derek Yates became interim minister and helped produce the new church covenant. He remained until Rev. Alison Overton was appointed. Between Rev. Alison Overton and Rev. Simon Bartlett, the interregnum was moderated by Rev. Ian Coffey of Moorlands College, and we appointed Chris Humphries (also from Moorlands) as interim minister.119

The copy and paste citation for this page:

The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 18 (2009 to 2017). 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

Two nearby changes that may have impacted shopper footfall in Pokesdown were the pedestrianisation of Boscombe’s main shopping area in 1990115a, and the 2003 upgrade from the worn-out Hampshire Centre to the new Castlepoint Shopping Park on the same site.115b

An online search for photos of Pokesdown in the 1990s only yields the demolition of some of the long-established buildings. These losses are looked on sadly now by some, but I’m not sure what the mood was at the time. Was the voice of the Bournemouth Civic Society -who were trying to highlight the loss of buildings with heritage- drowned out by profit, or community apathy, or were these changes seen by some/many as helpful modernisation? What else was going on in Pokesdown during this period? From the point of view of my research so far, it’s a blank, because the British Newspaper Archive currently “only” has Bournemouth newspapers up to 1930s, I haven’t found the later equivalent of Tony Crawley’s 1963 ‘Limelight on Pokesdown’ article, and the Daily Echo online doesn’t start until about 2006. If I get to access new material in the future I may be able to provide more information.

montage of photos of buildings before and after demolition
For source of photos and information, see notes 115c and 115d, Sources of Information. Click on image for a high resolution version.
second montage of buildings in Pokesdown before and after demolition.
Click on image for a high resolution version.
colour photo of an ornate yellow brick Victorian building
896 Christchurch Road. Date: March 2015.
Source: Alwyn Ladell Flickr.

The 1970s fire station at the top of Seabourne Road was also demolished about 1990 (but it’s hard to imagine anyone missed it).

This Victorian building, 896 Christchurch Road (the former Science, Art & Technical School) was saved after extensive repairs were carried out during 1995-98, by it’s new owners, ‘Help & Care’, with support from  the National Lottery and Charitable Trusts. ‘Help & Care’ occupied this building from 1994 until April 2021, and undertook further extensive repairs, which included restoring much of the original stone work, in 2013.115e

Rev. Philip Parfitt was Minister at RPBC from 1997 to 2006. Philip, Christine (his wife) and Annabel their daughter were all involved with the church. While he was ‘in office’, the inside of the church building was completely re-vamped, the pews removed, the staging at the front also. The pulpit was removed from the wall under the cross (many in the church were unhappy about that), and the whole place painted! It was a huge job, and while that was happening, the services took place in the downstairs hall. New legislation had come  in regarding having disabled toilets, so the Deacons’ Vestry was turned into one, and the door into the church put where it now is. Scaffolding had to be erected for the painting to be done. New furniture was bought – for the church as well as for the hall, replacing the plastic chairs now upstairs. New carpet was also bought for the church.116

Rev. Philip Parfitt, Minister 1997 – 2006 (Photo property of RPBC)
and Philip with Christine and Annabel. Source: David and Pauline Grant, RPBC.

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.

colour photo of front page of local newspaper The Daily Echo with headline Hello 2000!
Much excitement in 1999 about the New Year being
the New Millennium! Source: M. Fogg.
Daily Echo 04/01/2000.
colour photo of Pokesdown Station sign at entrance in 2001
The sign outside Pokesdown Station in 2007, before the name change in 2009.
Source: Alexandra Lanes.
The sign outside Pokesdown for Boscombe Station. This photo: 2012.
Source: Alwyn Ladell Flickr.

The copy and paste citation for this page:

The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 17. Author: Michelle Fogg. Date: May 2022. Url:

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

Rev. Reg Cook started at RPBC in 1983. His wife, Barbara, started a Mother and Toddler Group at the beginning of 1985 which often operated to capacity, and a keep fit class!

RPBC joined others in the Boscombe East area for an extensive outreach programme to the growing Littledown Estate.

Boscombe Churches decided to hold a joint Sunday evening service every two months in the participating churches in rotation.113

Rev. Reginald J. Cook, Minister at RPBC 1983 to 1997. Photo property of RPBC.

colour photo of two middle aged white men wearing glasses and smiling. They are in a kitchen with cakes.
Reg Cook and Maurice Hawkes, helping sort the food at the Christmas Fayre, 1993.
Source: David and Pauline Grant, RPBC.
colour photo of a group of people dressed as clowns
In the hall, 1993. The Annual Christmas Fayre organised by Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, with this year’s theme being the circus! Source: David and Pauline Grant, RPBC.
Entrance to Pokesdown Station. Date: 24 Sept 1984. Source: ebay davebowman28 (copyright owner unknown)
colour photo of a blue bus driving along Christchurch Road, Pokesdown, late 1980s
A rare photo of late 1980s Pokesdown. Source: Transports of Delight: Somerset and Dorset Independent Buses.

In 1991, with a membership of 146,114 the church celebrated its one hundred year anniversary. Writing in the church’s ‘Good News’ magazine, Reg Cook said:

“…the church isn’t about changing members or ministers, about changing organisations or hymns, but about the unchanging Christ. ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.’ says the writer of Hebrews. ‘O Thou who changest not, abide with me,’ says H.F. Lyte’s hymn. We thank God that amidst all the changes in our life and circumstances there is the unchanging Christ from whose love nothing in life or in death can separate us. That is what we are celebrating in 1991, the same faith that brought together those 25 in 1891 and with the same vision we go forward into the future, not knowing where it will lead us, but sure of the love of God in Christ Jesus.”115

Still got “The Messenger” on it, as it had in 1922!
Source: Alwyn Ladell Flickr.
history booklet by Robert J Jeans
In 1991, Rosebery Park Baptist Church celebrated
it’s 100th anniversary! This booklet of the history
of the church
was written by Robert J. Jeans.

The copy and paste citation for this page:

The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 16. Author: Michelle Fogg. Date: May 2022. Url:

Go To About Us
Go to Other Activities

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