Do you live in Pokesdown or Southbourne?pokesdown poster

Do you live in Pokesdown or Southbourne? You may well say Southbourne but you could be wrong. Southbourne has spread from its original roots where Southbourne Cliffs Pub used to be, but where Pokesdown ends and Southbourne starts has been a very grey area.

When I moved from Boscombe I was a little confused as to where I was really going, as the Estate Agent insisted the house we wanted to buy was in Southbourne. However, maps seemed to show it was in Pokesdown. Always trusting an Estate Agent I thought nothing of it.

Anyway not long after moving in I searched for some nice old pics of the area to hang on the wall. How strange that a quick search on ebay returned pictures of Fisherman’s Walk in Pokesdown rather than in Southbourne. Apparently there was a beach in Pokesdown as well. Had Southbourne been nicking the best bits of Pokesdown? Had the Estate Agent been telling porkies? Well, they had, but not intentionally.

map of pokesdown

Old maps show the boundary of Pokesdown going to the crossroads on what is now Southbourne Grove and the centre of Pokesdown was originally off Sunnyhill Road, very much in an area some mistakingly claim is Southbourne now. So it is clear that pretty much any street west of the Grove was/is really in Pokesdown.

If you live in anywhere between Southbourne Grove and Christchurch Rd it is likely an estate agent will give your house the more 'well to do' Southbourne tag than the traditional working class Pokesdown name. It isn’t really a big surprise when houses have always sold for more in Southbourne, but the reasons actually go back much further.

To explain we need to explore what happened when The Grove was built in the 1800s. Built between the two districts it was in the area known as Stourcliff or Stourwood. This area from Fisherman’s Walk all the way towards Southbourne was pretty much heathland. The Grove finally joined up these areas with the grand parade we have today. Strangely, rather than taking the name ‘Stourcliff' it was named 'Southbourne' Grove.

One can only assume it was because it led to Southbourne. Whatever the change of heart for naming reasons this set in place a confusion that means Stourwood has all but disappeared apart from road names, and to this day people have latched onto the name Southbourne.
map of pokesdown

Does this matter? Well, yes and no. A name is just a name after all, and it is just a bit of quirkiness. Like me you probably enjoy the cafes and restaurants of The Grove just as much as the vintage, antiques and cafes of Pokesdown. The two areas essentially should be working together anyway (we all enjoy both).

However, there’s no doubting Pokesdown has struggled in the past so reasserting its traditional boundaries can only be a good thing. I also remember when The Grove was not quite as trendy as it is now so any humility is also a good thing. 

We are planning to include more businesses on our site along Seabourne Road and continue to beat the drum for what was one of the oldest parts of Bournemouth. A place here way before Southbourne Grove came along. 


Ben twitter.com/BenSmith40


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