The History of Bournemouth and human settlement in the surrounding area goes back for thousands of years. For the whole history check: http://www.squillo.co.uk/westover/
In 1800 the area was largely a remote and barren heathland, used only by smugglers and revenue troops. ‘Bourne Heath’ was also known as Wallis Down in the north and Little Down in the south and east, and was part of the Great Heath of central Dorset. To the east was Christchurch, to the west was Poole, and to the north east was the river Stour.
There were villages at Kinson, Throop, Holdenhurst and Iford and a handful of buildings at Pokesdown, however the area between these communities was just a wilderness of pine trees, gorse, ferns and heather. No-one lived there and the only regular visitors were a few fishermen, turf cutters and gangs of smugglers who landed their cargoes of spirits, tea and tobacco on the deserted beach. This area, now called central Bournemouth was ‘Bourne Mouth’ – the mouth of the Bourne Stream.
A man called Tregonwell and his wife are considered to be the first inhabitants of Bournemouth. The history tells that in 1810, trying to relieve their grief for the death of their only child, they visited the area of Bourne Chine. She fell in love with it and persuaded him to build a house there, where they settled to life. The Queen Mother’s ancestor, Mary Eleanor Bowes, then the richest heiress in England, also lived at Pokesdown in the 1790s to escape the clutches of her second husband.
This both facts set the tone for Bournemouth, which turned into a select retreat, where the wealthiest people in society came to escape from the world. The labouring classes were housed in distant artisans’ quarters at Winton and Springbourne. Shops were banned in early Bournemouth; tradesmen were expected to call from Poole or Christchurch. When the first citizens finally relented and allowed the railway to approach, it was permitted to do so only in a deep cutting so that it would remain largely unseen.
However such lofty isolation was not destined to last. The early villa builders had not provided sufficient infrastructure, roads were poor, and the sewers inefficient. The saviour of the town was Christopher Crabbe Creeke – Surveyor of Nuisances for the Bournemouth Commissioners, who laid out roads around, lined with grand villas, and improved the drains.
Enterprising developers replaced many of the original dreamy villas with terraces of shops and apartments. Retailers brought all manner of fancy goods into the town and the railways allowed the lower orders to enjoy a cheap day at the seaside.
By 1890, Bournemouth was recognised by Queen Victoria, who granted it the status of a Borough and with its own Mayor. The citizens of the town were then able to take firmer control of their own destiny. From that point on, Bournemouth expanded at an astonishing rate, swallowing up Westbourne, Boscombe Spa and Southbourne-on-Sea, which had once been competing resorts, and becoming what it is today.
Here there is a video made of old pictures sent by inhabitants of Bournemouth (made by: realbournemouth.com)