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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Dorset

by Peter Kessler, 30 May 2010. Updated 29 April 2020

Dorset Urban (Poole) Part 1: Churches of Poole

Poole Wesleyan Methodist Church, Poole, Dorset

Poole Wesleyan Methodist Church sits at the very top of the High Street, where it meets North Street. A chapel was erected on the site in 1793, but the present building was constructed in 1878, leaving the old chapel at its rear to serve as a hall. The buildings became badly deteriorated, and the church closed for worship in summer 2009 after a large section of plaster fell from a high wall. Radical changes were proposed to convert it into a lively centre for the community.

Poole Christian Fellowship, Poole, Dorset

Poole Christian Fellowship is at the north-east corner of the Lagland Street and North Street junction. Its began in 1989 with a small meeting in a private house. The first public meetings took place in 1990 in Garland Road, before switching to Hamworthy Middle School in the mid-1990s. In early 1996 it merged with Poole Evangelical Church, a Brethren Assembly that had occupied Lagland Street for over a century. Prior to that, the building had been Lagland Street Mission Hall.

Poole Baptist Church, Poole, Dorset

Poole Baptist Church is crammed into the north end of Hill Street, twenty-five metres or so south of the High Street junction from where it is almost invisible. This Grade II listed building was put up about 1815, replacing a previous chapel of 1735 which is marked by a plaque. It was altered around 1879. Construction of the rectangular building was in brick with terracotta dressings and a slate roof. The original three-door entrance was replaced, perhaps in 1879.

Salvation Army Church, Poole, Dorset

The Salvation Army Church in Poole is on the north side of New Orchard, with Hill Street to the east. The building is comparatively recent, probably dating to the 1970s or 1980s. This area was once the market place, with a police station partially on the church's footprint. The church received some publicity in February 2009 when sixteen year-old Young Salvationist Bethany Greenwood was recognised in Poole's 'Young Star' scheme, for her work among the homeless.

Church of Scientology Mission of Bournemouth, Poole, Dorset

The Church of Scientology Mission of Bournemouth (High Street Poole) appears as little more than the doorway shown here, between the public house and Latimer House at 44-46 High Street. The 'churches' of this controversial cult are open every day of the week, not only on Sundays, and members come and go at different times during the week, apparently participating in religious services or community activities. The church uses the first floor of the building.

St James, Parish Church of Poole, Poole, Dorset

St James, Parish Church of Poole, lies between Church Street and West Street at the south-western end of the town centre. The original Norman church was built in 1142, but amazingly little detail is available to describe it. The present church was a complete rebuild of the original construction which took place between 1819-1821, creating a Georgian-style building. Thanks to its associations with the harbour, it is also known as 'the fisherman's church'.

St James, Parish Church of Poole, Poole, Dorset

Along with many relics from the Norman church, the building also contains highly unusual wooden pillars like the masts of the sailing ships that formerly docked at the nearby harbour. These pillars were transported from Newfoundland, with which Poole has centuries of close association. A local story has it that during the reign of Edward VI, the duke of Somerset ordered eight bells to be sold in aid of Poole's fortification, but the bells were lost during passage to Holland.

Skinner Street United Reformed Church, Poole, Dorset

Skinner Street United Reformed Church is a Grade II listed chapel on the northern side of Skinner Street, at the junction with Lagland Street. It was built about 1777 as Skinner Street Congregational Church, and a vestry was added in 1814 when the interior was refitted. Further interior alterations took place in 1880 and 1886. According to the Paranormal Database, box pews and brass lamps that were removed in the 1800s can sometimes be seen within the church.

St Mary's Church, Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset

St Mary's Church, Brownsea Island, sits towards the eastern end of the island around three hundred metres from Brownsea Island Cafe. William Waugh paid for the construction of this church, just off the coast of Poole. It was built in the Gothic Revival style, and named after Waugh's wife rather than in dedication to any Biblical Mary. The foundation stone was laid by Sir Harry Smith in 1853 and construction was completed a year later, followed by consecration.

St Mary's Church, Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset

It was built primarily to serve the small group of people who lived and worked on the island's pottery works, which made clay sewerage pipes and chimney pots. Inside is a monument to Waugh as well as the tomb of the late owner, Charles van Raalte. Part of the church is dedicated to the Scouting movement and the flags of the Scout and Girl Guide movements line either side of the main altar - 'Branksea Island', as it was, served as the experimental scouting camp in 1907.

Eight photos on this page kindly contributed by M Kessler, with one each by Douglas Law and Karen White via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information by Karen White and Douglas Law.



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