The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

New sign for Pokesdown

By Gerald Gilbert
Pokesdown Green was packed to capacity on Saturday afternoon when local MP Tobias Elwood unveiled a new sign for the area. The event was staged to highlight the long and intriguing history of the Pokesdown neighbourhood.

The occasion was organised by the five year old ‘Pokesdown Community Forum’ (PFC) and was a great success. There was a wide variety of stalls from the local community, a steam train, singers and some vintage cars.

Pam, vice chair of the PCF explained why the event took place. She said they had been trying for 2 years to get lottery funding and it finally came through. So the idea was to regenerate the green with new plants, and there was even a new seating area built by local youths from the local youth centre in Pokesdown.

When asked how it went she said: “Absolutely brilliant! Everybody thoroughly enjoyed it. Just like a village green. Standing room only, absolutely packed.”

Emma, a local resident of seven years said: “I thought it was really good. Lots of people came.”

Pam stated that Pokesdown is a lot older than Bournemouth and was around even before Boscombe.

Of Pokesdown itself Pam said: “It’s lovely. It is an excellent area to live.”

Emma was equally enthusiastic, she said: “I love Pokesdown. I think Pokesdown is brilliant. It is great because it is close to Boscombe and close to Southbourne.”

Local history boards were on display giving information such as old council meeting minutes from 1899 along with old photographs of local scenes. Some information went back as far as the 1700s.

The very name itself of Pokesdown has an out of the ordinary history. It was claimed that it came from the old English word Puca meaning mischievous sprite.

Neolithic remains were once found on Pokesdown Hill and an original document from the 1841 census showed that there were 14 houses and 72 inhabitants in the vicinity.

The actual village with the name of Pokesdown can be traced back to 1663. Then the name Henry Mantle of Poxdowne was written on a shopping receipt.

Notable memories from Pokesdown’s history include a minor rebellion with local residents protesting to the then Pokesdown council that there was a lack of good roads in the area. They won their case. Also after much lobbying of parliament the area finally got its own railway station on the 1st of July 1886.

However the region finally lost its independence in 1900 when it was incorporated into the count y borough. Prophetically one member of the council was noted as saying:

“If it is incorporated with Bournemouth, it would simply be blotted out and in future no one would know that Pokesdown ever existed.”

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