The Story of Poole (Page 5)

9. World War II

The first bomb to fall on Poole was in Upper Parkstone outside a rank of shops. One of the shopkeepers was a Mr Shepherd a keen cinematographer who recorded the damage to his shop and also his family preparing for war. Poole harbour was thought to be a prime area for invasion and was heavily fortified.

When peace was in sight, BOAC returned with a flying boat service that was to serve many parts of the world. flying boat


Peace finally came in May 1945 and there were flags and bunting everywhere with celebrations and street parties. street party 1945

Poole Speedway reopened, and the fans flocked back and it was not unusual to have a crowd of seven or eight thousand at a typical meeting.

The Old Town of Poole was in a sorry state. Much of the housing had been condemned before the war. Now the process of reconstruction had to begin in earnest.

10. The post-war re-vitalisation of Poole

As the town climbed out of the austerity of the war years it became apparent that if Poole was to recover radical action would have to be taken. Housing, schools, roads and just about all the services needed to run a modern town were lacking or sadly run down, not least here in the Old Town of Poole, which was in a sorry state.

derelict housesMany of the houses were derelict or unfit for occupation, some inhabited by vagrants or left to rot. Consequently the people who were left gradually moved out.

In 1960 despite pressures to demolish large areas of slum properties a "Special Precinct" was created to preserve a 15-acre area which included some of the most notable buildings in the historic centre of Poole. From these plans a policy of preservation was developed which over the next ten years or so expanded into a full-scale rejuvenation of the town.

Outside the Old Town one of the first new buildings to be erected was Poole General Hospital built as a replacement for the old Cornelia hospital at Longfleet. It was fitted with all the latest in medical care and was a blueprint for the future. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth the Second on 11th July 1969.

redevelopmentThrough the 1960's and 1970's the pace of change accelerated with an abundance of new projects. The largest of these was the plan to revitalise shopping in the town with a massive re-development. A huge area at the end of the High Street through to the Ladies Walking Field was cleared and a modern shopping centre built.



11. Present day links with France and Newfoundland

Today Poole has a strong identity. No longer a little backwater of a coastal port, but a thriving town with a good industrial and commercial base that has an ever increasing importance as a holiday destination.

The town's links with earlier times and trading partners is as strong as ever and the ties with Newfoundland are not forgotten. On June 25th 1997 a landmark was reached when a ruined merchants house which had been rebuilt from funds raised by the Trinity Trust was opened in Trinity, Newfoundland.

Links with our nearer neighbours too, are better than they have ever been. In 1998 the Poole - Cherbourg twinning association celebrated 21years of partnership with civic events on both sides of channel. The Mayor of Poole and the Mayor of Cherbourg renewed the pledges of friendship and co-operation. Never before has the town been in such a stable and prosperous position. We can look back proudly on 2000 years of history and over 750 years of Government. The prospects in the 21st Century for the people of Poole can only be positive.

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