Sun out for Greens at Bournemouth

Tim Farron walked down the coast path to deliver his leader’s speech to the Liberal Democrat Conference at Bournemouth’s BIC last Wednesday.

Now the Green Party has taken over the BIC for its conference and new delegates will be out on the West Cliff mingling with walkers as the warm sunshine continues.

Many Greens are likely to be critical of the recent decision to block the wind farm in the sea. However, the view remains beautiful and a rival to any resort abroad which is reached by air rather than electric train.

This morning a marquee on the beach was being prepared for serving vegetarian food to the Greens who are in town for four days.

It’s good to see the Green Conference organisers recommending Marlins Hotel and The Pinedale for accommodation as well as the Royal Bath Hotel which is offering rooms for £70. These are the handy hotels for walkers too.

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Arthur Bell’s Delft tiles

News in the Bournemouth Daily Echo and national papers that Delft tiles have been found during a house demolition in Southbourne is  a surprise.

If you are walking the coast path today you might just catch the last of the late Victorian house on the north-west corner of Twynham Road and Foxholes Road.

The tiles were part of a fireplace hidden by later owners.

The corner residence was built for artist Arthur Bell (1849-1916) and his author wife Nancy R E Meugens. His work survives and her books are still in print.

The house had a large window at the back overlooking a big garden. Paintings produced here include one of sheep on the meadow leading to nearby Hengistbury Head.

Living nearby at the time  and fascinated by the countryside was James Elroy Flecker who featured it in his poem Brumana.

A little further down Foxholes Road, towards Tuckton, was Foxholes, home of Edinburgh Review Henry Reeve editor who enjoyed the view.


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Bournemouth coast on TV

Look out for lots of lovely shots of the Bournemouth cliffs and sea on TV news during the Liberal Democrat conference this week.

The correct name for the bay is Poole Bay which is interesting considering that young Bournemouth and ancient Poole are considering amalgamating their councils into a super authority also embracing Christchurch to the east.

The view from the West Cliff slope where delegates will walk has been admired by many including Disraeli (who likened it to the Corniche), Henry James and Bill Bryson (who worked on the Bournemouth Daily Echo.)

The conference hall might be ugly but it is already historic. Here in 1985 Neil Kinnock saw off Militant.

The Highcliff Hotel, the main conference hotel, is where in May 1940 Labour’s eve of conference NEC meeting signalled that Churchill should become coalition war leader. That night Chamberlain resigned.

In 1994 John Major came out to the steps and announced a ceasefire in Northern Ireland.

Over the next four days the Lib Dems are having an important post General Election conference which might also prove to be a political landmark.





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Bournemouth Air Festival

The Bournemouth Air Festival is this week from Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 August.

The Bournemouth Daily Echo says the best places to watch the displays include the West Cliff and Hengistbury Head on the coast path.

The Red Arrows start each day’s programme by flying across the coast at 2.15pm on Thursday; 3pm on Friday; 1.45pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday.



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Milford-on-Sea beach hut consultation in August

It’s a year and a half since the St Valentine’s Night storm damaged the Milford-on-Sea promenade and beach huts.

The delay in replacing the huts had become a controversial issue.

Now New Forest District Council has appointed engineers and architects to oversee the construction of 119 replacement beach huts.

Suddenly a number of consultations with beach hut owners and villagers are being held this month by New Forest District Council although many residents are likely to be away on holiday.

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Rick Stein opening Sandbanks restaurant

Rick Stein launches his new TV series From Venice to Istanbul on BBC2 tonight at 9.30pm. In the autumn he launches his new restaurant in Sandbanks.

The Rick Stein restaurant, on the former Cafe Shore site in Banks Road, will have 200 seats and offer classic seafood dishes including a casual inexpensive lunch menu. It could become a tempting stop on the coast path which passes the door.

“I have fond memories of visiting Sandbanks with my aunt and uncle as a child and playing on the beach,” says Jill Stein who is working with her son Ed and daughter in law Kate on the interior design.

“It’s a beautiful place to be so I’m thrilled we’re opening a restaurant here. We’re taking inspiration from the local surroundings and coast for the interiors. Ed is making a trip to Carrara to pick the marble for the bar where you will be able to eat shellfish and drink cocktails.”

2015 is the 40th anniversary of the opening of The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow.

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War defences exposed at Hordle

Unusually low tides around Thursday 13 August should allow New Forest District Council  to be able to remove war defences from Hordle Beach.

The deeply buried ‘scaffolding’ poles were placed below the tide line in 1940 to deter German invaders. Shifting sands buried them for many years but now recent erosion has exposed them again.

New Forest District Council is advising visitors not to swim. Once the beach was regularly used for swimming by boys from Hordle House School. Much earlier the 18th-century house was the home of Lord Justice Thesiger who in 1880 allegedly died at an early age due to too much swimming.

The concrete ‘dragons teeth’ at nearby Taddiford Gap were part of Hordle’s World War Two defences.

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Coast views in Leslie Ward book

Those who missed the recent Leslie Ward exhibition at the St Barbe Museum in Lymington will enjoy the catalogue which has been published as stand alone book.

An English Idyll: Leslie Moffat Ward: Paintings and Prints (Sansom £15) has many views of Bournemouth and Poole.

The artist, always known in life as Leslie Ward, was a student in 1903 at Drummond Road art school and in 1913 was a member of teaching staff when the Bournemouth Municipal College of Art opened at The Lansdown.

Fascinating drawings reproduced in the book include Boscombe Beach in summer 1911 showing the old pier and tents where there is now a promenade. Another shows the sandy Boscombe cliff top in 1913.

Best of all maybe is a watercolour of the bay from Durley Chine. The print can be purchased for £10 at the new Tourist Information Centre at the Pier Approach.

In addition there are drawings of Purbeck farms and London’s River Thames.

Not in the book, but often reproduced, is the drawing of Robert Louis Stevenson’s house at the top of Alum Chine before it was hit by wartime bombing. Leslie Ward knew Bournemouth and coast very well.

He lived in Grants Avenue and was often seen around the town in the post war years until his death in 1978. He never drove a car so used the Bournemouth trolley buses and green Hants & Dorset buses.

Although he exhibited at the Royal Academy, where he had also trained, he has only been really recognised beyond his home area after death. Indeed the South Bank’s Hayward Gallery was unaware of the date of his death when his was displayed there in an Arts Council exhibition.


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New Bournemouth Tourist Information on coast path

Bournemouth’s tourist information centre opened today at the Pier Approach.

It is on the coast path and open daily including Sunday with longer hours from next month.

This is now the handy point for finding advice on an overnight stay including where to eat.

Souvenirs on sale include three superb prints of Bournemouth scenes by the acclaimed artist Leslie Ward who lived in the town.

The old Tourist Information Centre, once called the ‘Information Bureau’, in Westover Road has now closed.


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Dredging at Mudeford

Excavation machines are being seen dredging just at Mudeford to replenish the sandy beaches.

This follows concerns about the plan which has been slightly changed.


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