The town of Poole, on the South Coast of England, has its history dating back to the 12th century, when merchants from nearby Wareham founded it. It became an important port town for merchants as a result of growing wool trade.
Over 2000 years ago, the area around modern day Poole had settlers. The Celts were settled in the area as early as the 3rd century. The Romans settled in the 1st century, during their conquest of Britain and took over an area just west of the town centre.
Poole is not entered as an identifiable entry in the Doomsday Book and its earliest written mention exists in an 1196 document describing the newly built St James’s Chapel in “La Pole”. The town formed part of the manor of Canford, and gained some prestige in 1433 when it was awarded staple port status, with a population of less than 1500. This enabled it to begin exporting wool. However, this was not before the town was invaded by the French in 1377. The year 1405 saw the town being attacked by joint French and Spanish armies.
In 1568, the town was granted legal independence from Dorset and made a corporate county. Just before the English Civil war, the town’s people opposed a ship money tax imposed by King Charles I, leading them to declare for Parliament. The move helped, as the town managed to escape large scale attacks during the war.
In the 18th century, Poole boasted close trade partnership with North American colonies, including the important fisheries of Newfoundland. Ships carrying salt and provisions sailed to Newfoundland. They’d return to Europe with dried and salted fish and then deliver wine, olive oil and salt to Poole. The prosperity of trading with North America spurred economic growth in Poole and saw the development of many buildings and medieval structures.
In 1813, a customs house was built, followed by a harbour office and St James Church in 1820. In 1859, a private company was founded to supply the town with water, although council took over this function in 1906.
In the 19th century, trade with Newfoundland came to an end, as a result of competition from other nations. At the time Poole boasted a population of just about 22 000. The completion of a railway line to the Hamworthy side of the bridge also meant a death knell for the port, as businesses could now transport goods by rail.
The 20th century brought further progress to Poole, with a cinema opening up in 1910. Today, Poole is a tourist resort with Blue Flag beaches attracting visitors from all over the world. Tourism remains the mainstay of the economy. Think of the stress being on holiday brings. You relax in your mind, but not in your body with the extra walking and activities, you do. Go home and sink into a memory foam mattress.
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