A small parliamentary borough, and the capital of Dorsetshire, in a pretty part of the South Downs, at the termination of the South Western railway, 141 miles from London.
A Dorsetshire borough and port, on the South-Western Railway, 122 miles from London, by a small branch out of the main line. The neighbourhood is a dreary plain of sand and furze. Population 9,759, who return two members. Having been founded since the Conquest, it is a comparatively modern town, but has always preserved a respectable position as a third or fourth class port.
The harbour, though six or seven miles long, and nearly as broad (when the tide is up) is choked with sand, but there is a good deep-water channel inside the bar. Salt fish and American timber are imported; and one of the chief exports is potters’ clay from Purbeck, of so good a quality that it is proposed to establish potteries on a great scale here – especially as the transit for coal is now easy and direct. There are two miles of quay room. Here Charles X. landed 1830, after his flight from Paris.
The town is pretty well built, on a point of land between the harbour and Holes Bay, (the entrance to which is crossed by a bridge at the bottom of High Street), but offers nothing remarkable in its public structures, except an old disused town hall, built 1572, and the large modern church, in which is an altar-piece of carved work One piece of antiquity is an old gate built in the reign of Richard III. In the middle of the harbour (or pool, which gives name to the town), is Brownsea Island, the seat of Sir S. Foster, Bart. Near the mouth of the harbour is an oyster bank, from which vast quantities are earned to the creeks of Essex and the Thames.
North of Poole, towards Wimborne Minster are Upton, the seat of Sir E. Doughty, Bart. Candford Lodge, occupied by the late Dowager Queen Adelaide, in 1844, now belongs to Lady Guest, the great iron proprietress; for a few years it was a convent (when in possession of Lord de Mauley), and is near an ancient house called John of Gaunt’s.
Kitchen Heath, with patches of woodland about here. Lytchett Minster, Sir S. Scott, Bart. Bloxworth is near a camp – there is another at Henburgh (G. Harris, Esq.) Charborough, among woods, the seat of J. Drax, Esq., M.P., deserves notice for a small building in the grounds, with an inscription stating that “under this roof, in the year 1686, a set of patriotic gentlemen of this place, concocted the plan of the Glorious Revolution, &c,” Kingston Lacy is the seat of W. Bankes, Esq., a descendant of Bankes the traveller, where there is a good picture gallery, and an Egyptian obelisk from Phïloë, on the Nile, of the base of which the late Duke of Wellington laid the first stone in 1827.
About seven miles east of Poole, in Hampshire, is Bournemouth, a quiet bathing place in the chine of the low cliffs, among much woodland. About ten miles south-east, the Needles, rocks, and cliffs at the west end of the Isle of Wight are visible, especially in the bright gleam of a setting sun.
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Nothing can be more striking and picturesque than the situation of this delightful watering-place.
Remains of the church, chapter-house, refectory, &c., exist, all picturesquely wound with ivy or overshadowed with ash and other trees.