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Trivia Guide


For more in depth historical information please contact the Local History Centre at Poole Museum

This list has been created not so much as a formal reference work but as a source of inspiration and fun!

Sea Music
The sculpture on Poole Quay, ‘Sea Music’ was designed by the world famous sculptor Sir Anthony Caro .

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World?
Out of all five Miss Worlds from Great Britain, Poole had two winners – Anne Sidney in 1964 and Sarah-Jane Hutt in 1983.

I Spy an Author
Born in Poole in 1931, and famous for his spy novels, David John Moore Cornwell is his real name but he is better known by his pen name John le Carre.

Poole’s Theory of Evolution
Co-Author with Charles Darwin of the ‘Theory of Evolution’ was Alfred Russel Wallace of Broadstone, Poole.

Beverly Hills II !
Poole has been home to: Professor J R R Tolkein, author of ‘Lord of the Rings’ & ‘The Hobbit’, the composer Mantovani, ‘Wakey, Wakey’ band leader the late Billy Cotton, entertainer Roy Castle and John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi. Augustus John, the artist, lived at Alderney Manor in Poole.
Current residents include Football Manager Harry Redknapp. 


Made in Poole - Poole is famous for the companies it keeps, including:

Sunseeker International – building boats in Poole for over 40 years. One of the best known names for luxury motor yachts in the world today. 

Strike it Lucky!
Under Poole Harbour is Western Europe’s largest onshore oilfield, Wytch Farm , operated by Perenco. It has produced well over 150 million barrels and currently holds the world record for the largest land based drilling rig and the longest horizontal well at 8km.

Poole at War



British Overseas Aircraft Corporation

On 3 August 1940 the first BOAC flying boat passenger flight across the Atlantic by a British Commercial Airline took off from Poole Harbour. Poole was home to the southern headquarters of BOAC until the D-Day evacuations.

Radio Fame
Marconi broadcast the first ever radio signals from the Haven Hotel at Sandbanks to the Isle of Wight in 1896.

Tony Blackburn, who began his career with  Radio Caroline and became a well known Radio DJ was born in Lilliput, Poole. 

RNLI Lifeboat Saving Lives
Poole is home to the RNLI Headquarters and trains crews from all over the world. It also has the busiest lifeboat station – hardly surprising as Poole Harbour is one of the UK’s leading water activity areas.

Capital Town
Poole was regarded as the commercial capital of Newfoundland (Britain’s oldest colony) at the height of the cod trade in the 18th century. The salt cod trade brought vast wealth to a group of Poole merchants, which they lavished on the fine Georgian Mansions still to be seen in the Old  Town.

Silver Screen

Natural History

Poole is reputed to be the largest natural harbour in Europe. Some of the world’s finest oysters and mussels are bred in Poole Harbour. Over 20,000 birds winter every year including the Black Headed Gull, Bartailed Goodwit and Brent Geese. There are over 18 sites of special scientific interest and nature conservation and Poole Habour’s Brownsea Island is home for one of the few colonies of red squirrels in England.

Bourne in Poole

Bournemouth University is actually situated in Poole and the home for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is now the Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the arts.

Smuggling tales

One of the most famous and daring smuggling incidents The Custom House Raid took place in Poole in 1747. 60 armed smugglers broke in to regain a contraband cargo of tea that had been seized. Even earlier, in 1405, the quay was attacked by Spanish raiders, seeking vengeance for the spoils of Harry Paye , the infamous Poole Pirate. His memory is kept alive every year with charity fun day by the Pirates of Poole, supported by Poole Tourism.

The first scout camp was on Brownsea Island in 1907.  Scouts from across the world came to celebrate the centenary of the Scouting movement with a special camp on the island in 2007.

History of Poole

The Chines
Branksome Chine: in the 18th century, Branksome Chine is said to have been a regular route for smugglers as they headed inland to the Kinson Area. It also has a link with a great literary character: John Betjeman, former Poet Laureate, once wrote:

 ‘walk the asphalt path of Branksome Chine/In resin scented air like strong Greek wine’

In 1932 a solarium opened in one of the buildings where the restaurant is situated. It was the only one of its kind in Britain at the time and offered ‘sunshine’ all year round. The sunbathing took place under ultra-violet lamps and drinks were served by waitresses!

Branksome Solarium


They came from Poole.....

Blue Plaques in Poole
Marconi – Haven Hotel, Sandbanks
Augustus John – Lord Nelson, Poole Quay
Henry Lamb – Hill Street Car Park, Poole
WW2 and D-Day - Alcatraz Restaurant, Poole High Street
Flying Boats and WW2 - Salterns Hotel
Flying Boats - Harbour Heights Hotel
Mantovani - Burton Road, Canford Cliffs
Victor Watkins The First Kings Scout - Indian Restaurant, York Road, Broadstone
Sir Peter Thomspon, Native of Poole - Market Close, Poole

Edgar Wright was born in :Poole and after attending Bournemouth University went on to direct Spaced and co wrote and directed Shaun of the Dead with Simon Pegg.

David Croft, one of the writers of 'Dad's Army' was a member of Poole's Civil Defence Corps when he was 17!

On 21 June 1988 a dramatic fire ripped through the BDH factory in West Quay Road, setting off a series of explosions blowing forty-five gallon chemical drums hundreds of feet into the air.   Nearby traffic lights melted in the heat and more than 100 fireman tackled the blaze.   In the largest peacetime evacuation in the UK up to 5,000 people and their pets were removed to safety overnight.

Poole Sports

Poole Pirates (Poole Speedway )

Speedway racing has taken place at the Poole Stadium every year since April 1948 and the club is one of the best supported sides in the world. Indeed we are the current Elite League champions. The Pirates have won 12 league titles since 1948 and the Knockout Cup, speedway’s equivalent of the FA Cup on two occasions. Tony Rickardsson ( 2001 and 2002 ) and Mark Loram ( 2000) won the World Individual title while riding for Poole, and four riders have won the World Under 21 crown during their time at the club. They were American, Ronnie Preston in 1979, Jason Crump ( Australia ) in 1995, Lee Richardson ( England ) in 1999 and Krzysztof Kasprzak ( Poland ) in 2005.

Poole made speedway history in October 1948 by becoming the first club side in the world to tour Sweden. They flew from Northolt to Stockholm for a three match tour, at a time when even the English football side rarely played outside of the British Isles. The Pirates made return tours to Sweden in 1953 and 1955, and also rode in Denmark in 1955. The Pirates even ventured behind the Iron Curtain in 1959 when they made a five match tour of Poland, making a host of friends, and returned there again for another 5 match tour in 1969.

Apart from the triumphs, Poole Speedway has also had its share of tragedy, with four riders paying the ultimate price for racing highly powered motor cycles around a tight dirt track.   Reg Craven riding for Yarmouth, died of injuries sustained in the very first race of the very first match at Poole in 1948, since when Malcolm Flood of Norwich and two Poole riders, Johnny Thomson and Kevin Holden, have also died from injuries received while racing at Wimborne Road.

If you have any comments/additions to make to this page please email: tourism@pooletourism.com