History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Dorset

by Peter Kessler, 18 July 2010. Updated 7 March 2011



Bournemouth Part 2: Churches of Bournemouth

Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart

The Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart is on the eastern side of Richmond Hill, opposite the Norfolk Royale. Bournemouth had by 1861 become well established, particularly as a winter resort for invalids who were attracted by the mild climate and the beauty of the surroundings. During 1870 a site on Richmond Hill was obtained on which a temporary church was built. This was later replaced by the Sacred Heart Church, opened by the bishop of Southwark on 5 February 1875.

Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation

Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation meets at the western end of Wootton Gardens. The congregation was founded in 1905 when meetings in temporary accommodation were held. In 1911, the synagogue was founded in a barrel-vault design, with the Ladies Gallery separated in the Ashkenazi tradition. In 1961, the synagogue was completely rebuilt, with a foundation stone being laid on 5 January. The new building accommodated 900 and reopened in 1964.

St Raphael Liberal Catholic Church

St Raphael Liberal Catholic Church is a modest building on the eastern side of Wootton Gardens, near the connection to Old Christchurch Road. Liberal Catholicism is a distinct Christian movement, separate from both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. The Liberal Catholic Church came into being as a result of the 1916 reorganisation of the Old Catholic Church in Britain, which derived its orders from the Old Catholic archiepiscopal see of Utrecht in Holland.

Mount Zion Baptist Chapel

Mount Zion Baptist Chapel stood on the northern side of Wotton Mount, immediately to the east of the Liberal Catholic Church (which can be seen at the foot of the photo). Probably Victorian or Edwardian in its construction, by 2007 the church had been closed and the building was up for sale. It was demolished in 2009 for private building construction. The work was completed in 2010, and the only photographic evidence of the church's existence is this aerial shot.

Bournemouth Spiritualist Church

Bournemouth Spiritualist Church (Healing Sanctuary) stands on the northern side of Bath Road, near the roundabout at the south-west end of the street. Its beginnings date to Mr John Walker and three friends who, in 1905, began meetings in a small studio now occupied by the Charminster Road Post Office. They moved three times until they discovered the house known as Streate Place, 10 Bath Road, which had been a doctor's house, opening a church there in 1924.

Bournemouth Central Christadelphian Church

Bournemouth Central Christadelphian Church is on the north side of Bath Road, very close to the roundabout, with Old Christchurch Road behind it. The Christadelphians (the name means Brothers in Christ) moved here in the 1970s, by which time the building was already designated a church (even though it was originally a restaurant/dance hall). As it was marked on maps as such, the name remained, despite other Christadelphian buildings usually being termed halls.

Lansdowne Baptist Church

Lansdowne Baptist Church sits on the eastern side of Lansdowne Road, midway between Lansdowne Crescent and Oxford Road. The church was designed by a Mr Creeke and opened for worship on 18 July 1876, the foundation stone having been laid in November of the previous year by Sir Morton Peto. It was built with a stone facing, but this probably covers a brick structure. Also termed an Evangelical church, its first minister was the Reverend H C Leonard.

St Swithun's Church

St Swithun's Church occupies the triangle formed by Manor Road and the two sides of Gervis Road. The Grade B listed church was apparently built in stages, to serve the growing population of central Bournemouth. The chancel was completed in 1876-1878, and the nave in 1891, with the design being supplied by R Norman Shaw. The walls are coursed rubble with stone dressings. The nave is a wide single span, on foundations intended for aisles. The flanks have buttresses.

St Swithun's Church

Falling congregations after the Second World War led to St Swithun's being closed at the end of the twentieth century. The building was taken over by Bournemouth Family Church, which itself temporarily relocated to a former B&Q store nearby while building work was carried out. By 2010 the church was serving as a centre for the Citygate Church, a Newfrontiers evangelical body which had its main office on Palmerston Road (the old B&Q was demolished).

East Cliff United Reformed Church

East Cliff United Reformed Church occupies the south-eastern corner of Holdenhurst Road and St Swithun's Road, opposite the town's main bus station. The Grade II listed building was constructed in 1878-1879 as a Congregational church with a Sunday School attached (now closed). The design was by Kemp Welch and Pinder, with additions made in 1889-1891 by Lawson and Donkin. It is of grey-buff brick with stone dressings and a concrete tile roof.

Six photos on this page contributed by M Kessler, and two photos licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence by Chris Downer at Geograph British Isles. Additional information provided Richard Bayly.

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