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History

The First 100 Years 1903-2003

Part 1: An old Road to London

The parish is located adjacent to the old toll road from the West Country through Dorchester, Poole and Christchurch towards London. Bournemouth was a Victorian creation. The land to the sea south of the road was heathland until well into the 19th Century.

Development

Ashley Cross emerged between 1830 and 1850 as the middle class families “escaped” from Poole. The first St Peter’s Church was built in 1833, demolished and rebuilt 1870-83.

The railway to Bournemouth came later – prior to the 1860s the line from London to Poole ran from Brockenhurst to Ringwood, Wimborne and through Broadstone. The growth of Poole and Bournemouth and the railway brought development to Ashley Road and Bournemouth Road. South of the railway, the land was sold to special land companies for residential development.

Most land was owned by Lord Wimborne(of Canford) – the family summer home was at Branksome Dene until the early 1900s. The growth of Poole and Bournemouth and the railway brought development to Ashley Road and Bournemouth Road. South of the railway, the land was sold to special land companies for residential development. The 1904 Ordnance Survey shows the details of the area around St. Luke’s.

Role of Lord & Lady Wimborne
The Canford Estate owned all the land or was working with development companies.
Lady Wimborne in the 1860s is shown in the photograph below.

Born 1847

Eldest Daughter 7th Duke of Marlborough

Sister to Randolph Churchill
Married 1st Lord Wimborne in 1868
Widowed 1914
Died 1927
Lady Wimborne was interested in the education of young girls – and in 1900 she bought Sandecoates School for the Church Education Corporation

The school needed a Chapel. First plans were to build in the school grounds.

Role of St Peter’s
However, Canon Dugmore at St Peter’s suggested a church open to the public as well to serve the growing local population. On December 4th 1900, a prefabricated “tin church” was dedicated for public and school use. The “tin church” was later rebuilt and used as the Church Hall until 1966. It was a chapel of ease within St Peter’s parish (Curate in Charge, Rev Cornford, acting School Chaplin).

 

Canon Dugmore of St Peter’s and Lady Wimborne had an uneasy working relationship. The early 1900s witnessed a religious revival based on less formal, more evangelical styles of worship – and Lady Wimborne was a supporter. By 1903 the Wimborne’s supported a review of local parish boundaries – and in March 1903 the parish of St Luke emerged.

A New Church for a New Parish
Rev Herbert Price arrived in January 1904 as the first Vicar. The parish was growing rapidly in size through building work and by 1905 plans were underway for a new church. Lord Wimborne gave £4,250 to endow the benefice and (by 1914) £8,400 towards a building fund. The foundation stone was laid in 1907.

Starting the Construction 1907
The photographs show Cornelia, Lady Wimborne laying the foundation stone. Construction was completed in the Spring of 1908 at a total cost of £9,000, however building debts prevented full consecration until 1914

Part 3: Rapid Growth 1903 to 1921

In the 1901 census, the new parish only had 10 houses, the school and 70 people. However, even by 1905 development work in the local area was significant. This continued, despite World War One, especially in the North of the parish (Spur Hill – Sandecoates Road). In the 1921 census, the population had risen to 1,293.

Continued Growth 1920s/1930s

Kings Ave and Parkstone Ave were laid out as roads between 1921 and 1927. In the same period, the old wagon track from Penn Hill to Haven Road in Canford Cliffs was made up to form Canford Cliffs Road – allowing the full development of the south eastern segment of the parish.

Population of Parish, 1901-1931

The steady increase in the parish population can be seem in the bar chart below.

Development Phases

1939 Onwards Development

This has mainly been concentrated in the East and South East portion of the parish. The final part to be developed was the southern boundary of Links Road from the Golf Club up to Canford Cliffs Road. From the 1970s, the number of dwellings has risen further through demolition/re-build to flats and “in-filling”.

Part 4: St Luke’s Church since 1903

Completing the Church 1908-1927

Building debts prevented full consecration of the new church from 1908 until 1914. World War One halted other major work, with the exception of electric lighting, which was re -installed in 1916. The 1907 lighting regularly electrocuted the verger!
Even at the end of 1918 the Church was still only sparsely fitted out inside. Money was then raised to complete the choir stalls, the low chancel wall, the oak panels and the organ loft at a total cost of £1,291.

The East Window
A special fund to design and install the East Window of the church marked the end of the initial building phase. The fund was supported by ninety-nine parishioners, often in memory of those who died in World War One. The design was approved in 1926 and £900 raised to fund completion for Easter 1927, just after Lady Wimborne’s death.

Parish Activities 1920s -1950s

In running through events in St Luke’s in the years after the major building phase works until more modern times, we do know that the Choir, which consisted of only men and boys only at first, was very active from the 1920/30s. The Parish Magazine started in 1906 but expanded to be a large publication in the 1930s and was sold at all the local shops.

Easter services regularly consisted of over 600 at communion. Throughout the 1930s and into the 1950s large numbers of people attended confirmation classes. These were mainly girls from Sandecotes School. The Church was actively involved with the CPAS, the Church Misson to the Jews and CMS from the 1920 and continues today. Sunday School classes were very active. A Young People’s Society organised classical recitals in the Church on a regular basis. The church was central to the local community and as it grew, so did baptisms and marriages.

More Modern Times – By the 1960s, little exterior change since the 1920s. However a new church hall was built in 1966 and pace of change quickened with arrival of Rev John Blyth in 1970. Further developments included building additional rooms behind the church (1960s and 1980s), new heating (1980s) and replacing the 1907 chairs in the 1990s. Also, in the mid 1970s the Fellowship Area was created at the back of the church.

The regular Summer Holiday club has now been running for nearly 30 years. Congregations declined, reflecting trends in society at large, but still remained higher than for many churches in the area. The Church has remained an active supporter of Missions and other charitable work as well as developing a reputation for its children’s work.

Parish Activities 1920s -1950s
In running through events in St Luke’s in the years after the major building phase works until more modern times, we do know that the Choir, which consisted of only men and boys only at first, was very active from the 1920/30s. The Parish Magazine started in 1906 but expanded to be a large publication in the 1930s and was sold at all the local shops.

A Community Church
As the 100th birthday of the parish approaches, St Luke’s remains at the heart of the local community. Our key role remains to promote and strengthen the Christian message in this part of Poole, in partnership with other local churches.

Our Church Aim… “Together as the Family of God we aim – To Know and Love the Lord, To Grow his Church and Kingdom, To Go and Make Disciples”