Friends of Boscombe Chine Gardens
Registered Charity Number 1112345
HistoryBoscombe Chine Gardens are located in a steep-sided valley known locally as a 'Chine'. The Chine runs roughly north west to south east where it reaches the coast at Boscombe Pier; a side valley joins the Chine from the west, about half way along its length.
Prior to the development of the site, the sides of the Chine formed part of the once extensive Dorset heathland, although vegetation was sparse towards the sea with exposed soft sandstone banks and cliffs.
The Christchurch Road has existed for some considerable time and would have linked the coastal settlements (harbours) of Christchurch and Poole. Prior to the introduction and rapid development of the railway, there were very few dwellings in the vicinity of what is now known as Boscombe.
In 1860 records indicate that the Shelley and Tyler families lived in the area, as well as families from a few other cottages. There was also an Inn on the Christchurch Road called the Ragged Cat, which later became the Palmerston Arms. This building is still there but is no longer a public house.
The upper section of Boscombe Chine Gardens were first laid out between 1868-71 by Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, the local landowning MP, as 'pleasure grounds' for the adjoining properties.
Wolff's original design included:
In the 1860's there was a building boom that transformed the picturesque village of Boscombe Spa into a fashionable coastal resort, famed for its aromatic pines, public promenades, and Italian and Elizabethan style villas.
The key period of Gardens' development occurred during the 1880's, when they were transformed into a public park under the direction of the Borough of Bournemouth Pleasure Grounds Committee.
In 1883, the western arm of the Chine was leased to the Bournemouth Improvement Commissioners by Sir George Meyrick, this included the area designed by Sir Henry Drummond Wolf back in 1868. Over several years the development of the gardens continued and included:
Boscombe Chine Gardens were developed originally from a ‘chine’ of heath and mire into a splendid Victorian garden, a central part of the then thriving Boscombe resort.