Monday, 14 March 2011

A Walk in Talbot Village Woods, Bournemouth

The Almshouses

Yesterday, on a sunny spring Sunday in March, we joined friends for a walk around Talbot Village and the peaceful pine woods that surround the old and interesting buildings. Coming to a clearing in the woods, we found ourselves on a gravel track beside the Almshouses, which stand next to the school. There may be sympathetic modern additions to the school, and a wonderful new playground, but the past has been lovingly preserved here, and it feels like stepping back in time.

The cottages, school and church that make up old Talbot Village are hidden within woodland on the northern edge of Bournemouth, close to its boundaries with the Borough of Poole. They are the remains of a Victorian philanthropic dream.

Victorian Bournemouth grew and flourished beside the sandy beaches where the Bourne Stream meets the sea. As a seaside resort, it attracted wealthy residents and holiday makers to fine houses and hotels that were built along the cliff tops, and on the edges of the pine covered chines that led down to the sea. Despite the growing prosperity of the town, there were also many people who made up the labouring and agricultural poor.

The concept of Talbot Village was the idea of two wealthy sisters, Georgina and Mary Talbot, who wished to create a model village that could be lived in by the poorer inhabitants of the larger town. Poor people were employed, by the Talbots, to clear land for cottages to be built. The original cottages were built between 1850 and 1862, and were lived in by the families of workers who had built them. Each cottage had an acre of land, a well and fruit trees. Rent was around four to five shillings per week. The pretty Victorian cottages still exist, in their well tended plots, amongst the greenery of Talbot Woods.

Georgina Talbot also built Almshouses as homes for the elderly and widowed poor.
The Village School was built in 1862 and held 68 places for the children of local workers, while St Marks Church was also built as a focal point for life on this northern edge of Bournemouth.

Forsythia and cherry blossom, glimpsed in the rear gardens of the Almshouses.

The way to school.

A well designed playground surrounded by trees.

The School.....

..where original Victorian architecture..... enhanced by sympathetic modern additions.

Tall pines beside the footpath between school and church.

St Mark`s Church, Talbot Village

Through a tall window- beautiful modern stained glass and the reflections of trees.

In the churchyard, nature is encouraged.

Churchyard Yew ........

....and daffodils.

Back in our friend`s garden, we sat in the sun and listened to the cries of seagulls circling overhead. In a border, first violets were in bloom.......

....and shining alone in the grass, a single purple crocus.

( Information on Talbot Village from Wikipedia - Villages in Dorset)


WOL said...

What a lovely visit you had. Must have been beautiful walking about in the woods. The last place I lived had two large forsythia in front. Alas, neither the place nor the forsythia remain. Pulled down to make room for a highway. I love violets, but they're hard to grow here. Too sunny and dry.

Kath said...

I hadn't expected to like a modern stained glass window, but that is gorgeous! Lovely photos as ever, gets me in the mood for exploring the countryside.

Karen said...

I love going on these walks with you. We are not as far along in blooms as you are, but the forsythia has popped out this week, along with the pear and cherry trees.

Bovey Belle said...

When we lived in the area, I am ashamed to say we never explored around here - a shame, as we have missed such beautiful buildings.

Philanthropic building programmes seem to be a bit short on the ground these days . . .