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Perhaps currently best known for its captivating Harbour, access to water sports and much publicized property prices on the Sandbanks peninsular, Poole has a varied and fascinating past that includes Pirates, the rise and fall of a port town and u-bends.
It has many suburbs that are close to the town and the prices of properties for sale in Poole range from affordable to eye-watering. In short, there is something in Poole for everyone.
Located directly on the south coast, in the world’s second largest natural harbour, Poole is west of Southampton and Bournemouth and east of more rural Dorset such as Dorchester and Blandford Forum.
Poole has been inhabited for at least 2500 years and “Old Town” Poole was part of the medieval town. Some of those buildings still survive, however, the overall build style is Georgian.
Due to its proximity to London and the natural harbour, Poole has always been a fishing and maritime trading town.
In the 13th Century Poole obtained the right to appoint a mayor and was granted exemptions from certain tolls and customs duties from the port. This set the scene for more growth and development and it soon became the biggest port in Dorset.
Piracy was an unfortunate bi-product of Poole’s success as a trading port and many Pirates became associated with Poole, the most noteable being Harry Paye (it is said “old Harry’s Rocks” is named after Harry Paye as he hid his ship behind the rocks awaiting passing merchantmen).
When trade with North America increased in the 18th Century, vast wealth came to Poole, this supported re-development of the buildings to accommodate the wealthier middle classes such as sea captains & tradesmen. Many of the towns’ medieval buildings were replaced by the extravagant Georgian Houses which characterise much of Poole Old Town today. Many of them are listed buildings examples include Sir Peter Thompson’s 1746 mansion designed by John Bastard and Beech Hurst on Poole High Street built in 1789.
During the rapid growth during the industrial revolution, Poole went through many changes. Ships became too large to use the shallow harbour and Poole lost that business to deeper water ports such as Liverpool, Southampton & Plymouth.
Poole’s first railway station was opened in Hamworthy in 1847 and was extended to Poole in 1872. The introduction of the railway to the area enabled George Jennings’ South Western Pottery to distribute his products. He was an entrepreneur leading a revolution in sanitation and drainage by inventing the first public flushing loo. His company, South Western Pottery, which was based in Lower Parkstone, produced clay piping that served as a u-bend for many a toilet.
During the early 20th century, tourism became more popular and villages to the east of Poole began to merge with the seaside resort of Bournemouth. Poole continued to grow and expand as a working, trading town.
As well as being an excellent area for all sorts of outdoor pursuits and activities, and therefore tourism, Poole is also an excellent hub for business.
The RNLI has been based in Poole since 1882 and their headquarters is still here, going from strength to strength.
Major financial institutions such as Barclays, marine manufacturers Sunseeker International, LUSH and Animal to name a few, have set up home in the area.
Property developing has been a big part of the economy recently, providing work and new homes for many residents.
Poole’s magnificent harbour is probably at the centre of many people’s day out in the town, a beautiful place to spend time either on it or taking a waterside stroll around it.
Poole Quay has a variety of old pubs that give away its Georgian heritage, many restaurants and historic buildings, line the quayside whilst, at the same time, offering a great view of multi-million pound super yachts taking shape on the other side. There is always something going on in this working port, we have fireworks throughout the summer and special occasions, Classic Car and Bike nights, Festivals and fetes all held on the Quay.
Poole park, with its boating lake, ice rink, tennis courts and Cafes, is also a destination where events are held throughout the spring and summer - perfect for those lazy family weekends.
Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the Arts, is an attraction well worth visiting as it hosts a variety of productions and is also home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Sports fans will be well aware that the town is famous for its speedway team, the Pirates. Football lovers can get their fix by supporting and watching Poole Town FC.
Poole Quay has a number of trendy bars and eateries along the waterfront - it even has those traditional sweet and gifts shops you expect to find at a classic harbour or seaside location.
At the top of the historic high street is the more modern Dolphin Centre, with plans to expand to include a luxury cinema, it has many high street chain stores, local boutique outlets and coffee shops.
For the “out of town” shopper, Tower Park is the place to go. With chain restaurants, cinema, bowling complex, gym kids play parks & supermarket, you could literally spend the whole day there!
Are you looking to buy a home in the Poole or Bournemouth area? Or perhaps you're looking to sell a property instead and need some advice? Our team of property specialists have the knowledge and expertise to make your transition as smooth as possible. Find out how much your home is worth with our FREE online property valuation tool, and for any other questions, please contact us today on 01202 612626.