Charminster, Bournemouth

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Charminster Bournemouth.jpg
Grid reference: SZ096932
Location: 50°44’18"N, 1°51’51"W
Post town: Bournemouth
Postcode: BH1
Dialling code: 01202
Local Government
Council: Bournemouth, Christchurch
and Poole
Bournemouth East

Charminster is a residential and commercial suburb of Bournemouth in Hampshire, in the north of the outgrowth of that town, between Springbourne (to the south-east) and Winton (to the north-west). The history of the village is largely unknown, and it was swallowed within Bournemouth's municipal authority in 1901.


There are no known references to Charminster before 1805, but the name and settlement predate the nearby districts of Springbourne and Winton by several decades. The first known reference to the district comes in the Christchurch Inclosure Award of 1805, in which a 'Charminster Lane' is cited, along with two plots of land called 'Charminster' in the possession of Matthew Aldridge, the owner of Muscliff Farm.[1] The earliest reference to any inhabitants comes in the 1841 census, in which three families are listed at Charminster: Paul Fletcher, a tinker (with his wife and seven children); John Burridge, a bricklayer (with his wife and four children); and Richard Watton, a labourer (with his wife and ten children).[2] By this stage much of the land in the district was owned by James Harris, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, who had received 150 acres here under the Christchurch Inclosure Award; he is commemorated in the Malmesbury Park Estate, south-east of the present Charminster Road.[3]

It is not known why the name 'Charminster' was applied to this district. A. D. Mills suggests it was a straightforward appropriation from Charminster near Dorchester in Dorset, whose name has been known since the Anglo-Saxon period, but why the same name should appear in this part of Hampshire is unclear.


In the 1860s the Earl of Malmesbury, working with the architect and designer Christopher Crabb Creeke, drew up plans to build over Charminster. These plans were suspended in 1866, however, when the Tories returned to power, Malmesbury taking up the position of Lord Privy Seal in the 14th Earl of Derby's third administration.[4] Consequently, the 1870 Ordnance Survey map shows little more than tumuli and brickfields at Charminster, while the suburb of Springbourne was developing independently to the south.[5]

The first modern dwellings in Charminster were built around 1880 after Malmesbury's retirement from politics. His nephew and legatee, Edward Harris, 4th Earl of Malmesbury, continued to develop the area, opening up what became known as the Lansdowne Park Estate between Heron Court Road and Fortescue Road.[6]

A fresh spate of housebuilding took place north of Alma Road and Richmond Park Road in the 1920s, resulting (amongst other things) in the provision of Charminster Library, designed by F. P. Dolamore and opened in 1932.[7] A further development in this area was the relocation in 1939-40 of the town grammar school, Bournemouth School, from its original premises in Portchester Road to a larger site along the newly-cut East Way. Another school, a secondary modern called Summerbee School, was added on the south side of East Way after the War as the population expanded.[8] The school was later renamed 'The Bishop of Winchester School' and was reopened in 2010 as The Bishop of Winchester Academy.[9]


  1. M. Stead, Charminster (Bournemouth Library, 2008), p. 1.
  2. M. Stead, Charminster, p. 2.
  3. M. Stead, Charminster, p. 3.
  4. M. Stead, Charminster, pp. 3-4.
  5. 'M. Stead, Charminster, p. 4.
  6. M. Stead, Charminster, p. 5.
  7. The Bournemouth Daily Echo, 8 January 1932.
  8. The Bournemouth Times & Directory, 11 September 1953.
  9. "IPTV Omni-Server". Retrieved 2013-11-29.