The Eighties

During the seventies development of Boscombe was such that the population which was recorded in 1871 as 282 had increased at the census of 1881 to 1,895 - a more than sixfold increase.

The Boscombe Land Society formed in 1880, bought 13 acres of land in November 1881. This was an area of wild common alongside Christchurch Road and Knowle Road, and extending to the top of Boscombe Hill, which became known as Hengistbourne Estate. This was laid out in 73 plots, in Drummond Road, Hengist and Gordon Roads.

By 1883 the development of a considerable part of the Shelly property had been decided upon, and this was to be carried out in controlled instalments over the next ten years.

During 1884 the Boscombe Land Society became responsible for the first phase of this programme. This consisted of an area bounded by Sea Road, Florence Road as far as Watkin Road, and then straight to Christchurch Road, and along to Sea Road. The only exception was a large site at the corner of Christchurch and Sea Roads. The estate was divided in to 70 plots sited in Christchurch Road, Hawkwood Road, Westby Road, Florence Road and the East side of Sea Road.

Boscombe had made considerable progress in the previous two or three years, and there was a great deal of interest in the sites. In publicising them Society had mentioned that the land was beautifully wooded in many parts, and was highly suitable for first class villas.

During this decade considerable improvements were made to the railway system. In 1883 The LSWR built a new railway from Brockenhurst to Christchurch and doubled the existing single line to Bournemouth. Included in the scheme was the provision of an additional station; this was sited at Pokesdown and was opened in the summer of 1886 and was named Boscombe. It was intended to serve Boscombe and Pokesdown. Naturally the people of Boscombe were not very content with this as they still hoped for a station with a goods yard nearer the centre of their district. As will be seen this was eventually obtained.

In the summer of 1883 proposals for a further extension of the district taking in eastern Boscombe, and on the south side of the Christchurch Road the part of Shelly Estate which was likely to be built up, that is from Sea Road to Crabton Close Road.

An important development in the establishment of Boscombe as a seaside resort was the building of the pier. A proposal for the pier was launched in 1884, when it felt that this would improve the attractiveness of Boscombe to visitors.

Boscombe Pier 30Kb

Tenders for the building of the pier were issued and in September 1888 the contract was awarded for 3813, and for making the pier approach 938. The pier was 600feet long, and built in spans of 40 feet each with a continuous wrought iron girder frame, which carried timber decking 32 feet wide. The pier head was 120 feet long and 38 feet wide, with a landing stage on each side, at which excursion steamers could call. At the entrance were two toll houses with turnstiles. It was opened with considerable ceremony on 29th July 1889 by the Duke of Argyll.

As far back as 1871 the Bournemouth Improvement Commissioners had leased the lower part of the Boscombe Chine Gardens from Sir Henry Wolff at a nominal rent. In 1884 the upper part of the Gardens up to the main road as also leased, and the former brickfield site became lawns and tennis courts, with a pavilion adjoining.

The next extensive development of the Shelly Estate was outlined in 1888, when a plan was drawn up for the whole area from the boundary of the Boscombe Land Society's land to Crabton Close Road, and southwards from Christchurch Road to Florence Road, with a separate section between Glen Road and the cliffs. The plan envisaged a possible 163 building plots.

At the very end of the decade, on 7th December 1889, Sir Percy Shelly died at the age of 70. On his death the baronetcy was inherited by a cousin, Edward Shelly, of Avington Park in Hampshire, who himself died on 27th September 1890, afterwhich the title went to his brother, Col. G. Shelly. The Shelly Estate was inherited by lady Shelly.

St Clements.

The new parish of St Clements was established by an Order in Council dated 19th August 1871: the area of the parish was stated to extend from a boundary with St James, Pokesdown, running along Holdenhurst Road to St Swithun's Road then along Christchurch Road to Boscombe Chine, down to the sea, thus including Springbourne and the whole of the future Boscombe.

St Clement's parish was fortunate in that a generous benefactor provided a sum of money for the building of the church and an endowment for its future maintenance. This was Mr Edmund Christy, who had recently had built for himself the house called Knole, not very far from the church site. The architect for Knole was John Sedding, a pupil of George Edmund Street, a formost Victorian architect, and the architect for St Peter's Church in Bournemouth. John Sedding had made a deep study of the later gothic architecture of the Middle Ages, and in the circumstances was the obvious choice to be the architect of St. Clement's Church. The foundation stone was laid by the Rev. Morden Bennett on 25th November 1871, and the completed church was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 15th April 1873. The tower was completed some 20 years later, being dedicated on 7th November 1893.

St Clements Vicarage and Church 22Kb

A small day school was opened on land adjacent to the church in 1871 by Miss Emma Mordaunt, and next to it she also established a small orphanage, called St Clements Home. In 1872 the Sisters of Bethany, an Anglican Order, purchased six acres of land, also close to the church, and three of the Sisters took over the School and the Orphanage. Building was commenced in 1874 of a new orphanage to accommodate about a hundred girls, and a convent for the community of the Sisters. The solemn dedication of the premises took place on 2nd October 1875.

The school was continued until about 1927. When it was closed, the girls attended St Clement's School. The convent was extended by a further wing in the 1880's, and an infirmary added in 1897. The orphanage was run down in 1939, and the convent was closed in the 1970,s. Most of the site has been redeveloped for housing.

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