Celebrate a step back in time with The Society For Poole
10 March 2021
Celebrate a step back in time with The Society For Poole
Being involved and supporting the local groups near our Renaissance communities is important to us as it enables us to share the good work that is happening in our local areas.
We recently caught up with Mike Pearce, Chairman of The Society for Poole to learn a bit more about the amazing history of Poole and how the group is keeping the history alive through their community and preservation work in the wider Poole neighbourhood.
Could you tell us a little bit about your role with the Poole Society?
I am the Chairman of the Society for Poole and I support the Executive Committee alongside the President of the group, Andrew Hawkes. We recently set ourselves up as a limited company as our old structure may have been fine when the Society was established but not in the 21st century!
What type of work is the Society doing within Poole?
We are predominately a Society which helps to highlight and preserve the history and culture of the town of Poole. Poole has a wonderful history and as such we are keen to raise awareness of its past glory and to retain both its buildings and traditions.
The Society was originally established to save an old building in Poole, which turned out to be one of the oldest in the town with Tudor beams discovered – this was in 1924!
More recently, the Society has participated in a number of activities from erecting blue plaques on buildings to showcasing key buildings with history in the town and also supported Dorset Architectural Week by holding talks and tours of Poole Guildhall. We also work closely with Poole Historical Trust, Poole Maritime Trust and Poole Flying Boat Society where we also in the past helped set up Upton Country Park as a public space.
We have similarly supported organisations such as the Poole Flag Trust to promote the flying of the Poole Flag – a coat of arms established even before the Heraldry was established in England.
We also support the old tradition of “beating the bounds”. An ancient tradition where the Mayor of Poole ‘checks’ both the sea and land “bounds” (mark posts) to confirm that the adjoining districts had not moved them and claimed more land than they were entitled to. This was resurrected by the Society in 1926 but with budget cuts, this has been stopped. However, we hope to resume this activity when politics (Poole has now joined with Bournemouth and Christchurch into the BCP Authority) and budgets allow.
Meanwhile we also work with local “forums” to help discuss the Strategic Plans for the future development of the town and to comment on local planning issues of note.
How was The Society for Poole established?
The Society for Poole was established as the Society of Poole Men in 1924, by the great and good of the town at the time. Many of our members and former members were Mayors, Councillors or senior businessmen and influencers of their day. I changed the name when I became Chairman as the society is now inclusive and we need to work in an open society and being labelled a Society of Men is, I consider, incorrect.
I have endeavoured to refresh the organisation and are always looking for new members to join us. We hold monthly talks about Poole, events, buildings of note and local people. With such a rich history there is a lot to talk about, from smugglers, to fishing, to romans to past potteries and trainlines.
We also sit on Heritage Committees for the town and support and engage with the Local Authority for Poole Park.
For our members we organise an annual lunch and various talks and communicate via our newsletter “View from Poole” which is a 20-page glossy magazine including articles of culture and history.
We are presently leading the commemoration of Poole at War. We were contacted by many local residents who were upset that Poole’s role had not been marked when the 75th anniversary of D Day came round (Poole was the 3rd largest embarkation point for US forces and an HQ for operation Overlord) last year. As such to ensure the great history of Poole was celebrated, The Society stepped up and organised the closure of the Quay by liaising with the Royal British Legion and other interested societies. Unfortunately, Covid came along just before the event and everything was called off.
We have nevertheless reorganised to move the event from VE day 2020 to VJ day 2021. The event will include 14 information boards along the High Street (May – September) with music and military vehicles as well as further information boards along the Quay on 15th August. We also hope to have the Poole Dunkirk flotilla tied up along the Quay.
Unfortunately, we have decided not to have a parade of veterans this year due to Covid but hope to include a 40’s big band and to create a 40’s feeling. As this is not a Council event, we have reached out for sponsors to gather more support for the event.
How have the lockdowns affected your services?
Besides the postponement of the Poole at War event, we have had to suspend all activities including our talks and get togethers. Our planning committee still liaises on planning and development strategies and we maintain the publication of our quarterly magazine – which has been very well received. Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, we really are really looking forward to starting all our events again and be able to bring the community together like before.
What is your favourite thing about the Poole area?
Poole is one of the best places to be! It is the perfect balance of beautiful beaches and countryside with access to the Purbecks and Dorset, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with plenty of country pubs and landscapes which adorn many chocolate box villages. It is also home to one of the most beautiful harbours in the world with all its water sports and activities as well as being connected to the New Forest, Southampton and indeed London.
The town is steeped in old and modern history and one of the best and most well used Parks in the area is next to your Sandbanks Road development!
For more information and to support Society for Poole, visit https://societyforpoole.org/
To enjoy all that Poole has to offer, Renaissance Sandbanks Road is an exclusive collection of 32 one- and two-bedroom homes. For those looking for an independent, later-living lifestyle your next chapter awaits you on the coast.
To arrange a one to one viewing, call our team on 01202 6018 564 or email [email protected]