Did you know, Scaplen's Court has origins dating all the way back to Medieval times?
Can you see the metal antelope standing watch over the inn?
Poole's trade was more than cod and fishmongers!
More than a printers, this site sold lottery tickets!
Meet the marine biologist who helped invent the aquarium!
Built in 1704, Barfoot Mansion was originally double the size!
How long did it take to travel to Bristol from the London Hotel by coach? Find out here!
From apprentice to Master shoe-maker, Hawkes made a legacy for his family...
When was Poole's first moving picture screened?
Uncover more about one of the most recognisable buildings along the High Street...
Pick up an activity sheet to complete along our Discovery Trail & enter into our free prize draw!
Sarum St, Poole, BH15 1JW
Scaplen’s Court dates from late 15th or 16th century and is thought to be on the site of an L-shaped medieval quayside merchant’s house and was extended early in the Tudor period into the quadrangle shape with new doorways, fireplaces and ceilings, many of which still survive today. By the 17thcentury, the Purbeck and Bath stone building housed an alehouse, the George Inn, having ‘two stables, gardens, outhouses, cellars, courts, edifices and buildings’.
Did you know..?
In the 1640’s, Scaplen’s Court was occupied by the Parliamentarian Roundheads during the English Civil War against Charles I. It is believed that some of these soldiers left their mark on the building by graffitiing the stonework around the fireplace upstairs with their initials!
By the mid-18th century, the building was divided into three tenements in, involving the conversion of the roof space into attic rooms and the remaining beam holes can still be seen today. One of the residents was John Scaplen, a joiner and cabinet maker and whose name is associated with the building today! The property was still owned by the Skutt family and had been updated with red brick, sash windows, smaller fireplaces and Georgian wooden panelled doors and surrounds.
The house was badly damaged by a storm in 1923 with a large chimney stack falling through the roof. The year after, local historian H.P. Smith was given access to the building and discovered the original building: ‘When the partitions which had divided one room from another had been removed…we found ourselves in a hall forty feet long and twenty four feet wide…and when we had removed a brick chimney piece we found ourselves looking at a fairly well preserved Gothic doorway, seven feet high and 3 feet six inches wide’.
For more info and sources, read our blog post 'The History of Scaplen's Court’
Salisbury Street (formerly Sarum Street). Old Town House, now Scaplens Court (Coney photograph)
The Antelope, currently at No. 8, has been apart of the High Street for centuries. It is unknown whether the building was built first as a home or an inn, but it was erected in the 1500s following Henry VI’s decision to turn Poole into a designated staple port in 1433.
From 1620, the Melledge family were heavily associated with The Antelope when John Melledge – a prosperous grocer from Dorchester – bought the property. He owned the building for another decade or so before his death in the 1630s, after which the ownership of the Antelope is contended, but it was likely his youngest son – Johnson – who acquired the property; however, it was probably his wife, Alice Melledge, who tended to the property in the 1640s due to the families difficulties during the Civil War years. The Melledges likely harboured royalist sympathies, for which Johnson paid for by being arrested in March 1643 for suspected disloyalty to Parliament. Before vanishing from the records for six years, he was ‘kept prisoner aboard the ship that lies in the Harbour of Poole’ and striped of his title of Innkeeper and Collector of Customs.
By 1690, the property had been sold, but within the three or so decades prior, the Antelope saw its fair share of landladies. For a short while in the 1660s, for instance, the property was owned by an Elizabeth Melledge, likely the widow of Johnson’s brother – Micha. By 1678, Alice Melledge was back, running the Antelope and acquiring her own wealth and income doing so. Just a couple decades later, however, an Elizabeth Stanley acted as landlady from the early-to-mid 18th century after the death of her husband, once again returning the Antelope to a widowed woman.
After the death of their husbands, independence for widows was more achievable; Alice Melledge, for instance, prospered in her position without the help of her husband, and the same could be said for Elizabeth Stanley, who kept her position as landlady until her death in 1764. This was true for numerous women in Poole – not just innkeepers – who took over the family business once their husbands had died.
Did you know…?
The entourage of deposed French king, Charles X, stayed at the Antelope and the London Tavern in 1830, and just over two decades later, the Prince of Wales stopped at the Antelope whilst tutoring in Poole!
For more info and sources, read our blog post ‘Acquaint yourself with the Antelope’.
Sketch of The Antelope reading' Family and Yachting Hotel'
38 - 52 High Street, Poole, BH15 1BT
In Corn Market, there are clues of past trades all around you, whether it be the light installation under the trees representing the outline of past shops, the empty metal hanging sign brackets that still align the walls, sun-faded advertising signs and the names of streets and houses provide hints of past occupants too like Cornmarket House, Cinnamon House, and Old Orchard.
In the 17th century, this area had a pitched corn-market in the open space with sheds erected for traders to weigh their goods for taxes. The tax was three quarters of a wine pint on every bushel of grain or meal and much haggling would have taken place.
Can you spot...?
In 1665, King Charles II, on his way to Salisbury, dined with George Skutt and his family at a large manor called the Priory on the southeast side of the area now marked with a decorative tiled plaque. Can you find it?
By Victorian times, many traders in Poole were doing well but instead of merchants associated with the port, there were also many professionals or tradesmen. There were stationer/printers, ironmongers, solicitors, surgeons and chemists. As traders prospered, their premises grew with traders installing larger, modern shop fronts, windows and signage proudly identifying the family name. Examples of these in Cornmarket, were Walter J. Bacon’s ironmonger’s shop (later Bacon & Curtis Ltd.), J. Travers and Co. Beehive Clothing Store and Poole Town and County Bank that had grown rapidly through the eighteenth century as it was the bank used by merchants in the then prospering Newfoundland trade.
Did you know...?
Shop trading hours were long, some reported as being between 70 – 90 hours a week with irregular mealtimes, no time for exercise or recreation and as Poole prospered, shop workers did achieve an ‘early’ closing time of 5 o’clock on Wednesdays. With no alarm clocks, workers were woken up early in the mornings by ‘knocker-uppers’, tapping on their windows with a long pole and one of these was a Poole lady, often referred to as Granny Cousins who continued to work well into older age.
For more info and sources, read our blog post ‘Poole's Trading Area 'Corn Market'’
38 - 52 High Street, Poole, BH15 1BT
Joseph Moore was a stationer, bookseller and printer on the High Street from the late 1700s. He dispensed patent medicines, ran a circulating library and acted as an agent for information about sales and other events.
John Sydenham, originally from Devon, was Moore’s employees and also a relation as he later referred to Moore as his uncle. In 1805, Sydenham married Moore’s daughter, Elizabeth and eventually became his business partner. Besides running the business, John was active in local affairs as a Freemason, a churchwarden and Overseer of the Poor. He was also involved in organising the 1814 peace celebrations after Napoleon’s abdication and was a trustee for the rebuilding of St. James’ church in the 1820s.
Did you know…?
Joseph Moore also sold lottery tickets from Sydenham’s as ‘Moore’s Lucky Lottery Office’!
The Sydenhams had 8 children of whom 4 died quite young. The oldest surviving son, John junior, went to school in Poole and was trained in the business which by now included journalism; Moore’s acted as local correspondents of the Salisbury and Winchester Journal. In 1825, Moore and Sydenham announced their intention of publishing a Poole newspaper to be called ‘The Poole and Dorsetshire Herald’, but this did not materialise. The owners of the Dorset Chronicle probably feared the competition because they seem to have done a deal by which Moore and Sydenham became part owners of the Chronicle instead. John Sydenham junior worked on the Chronicle as a journalist and in 1829 (aged 22), he became editor.
In 1842, John Sydenham senior sold his interest in the Chronicle and his son left to work on the West Kent Guardian for a while before returning to Poole in 1846 to prepare for the launch of the Poole and Dorsetshire Herald. John Sydenham senior was to be the proprietor and his son, the editor. The first edition came out on 9th April 1846, giving Poole at last a truly local voice. It was printed in outbuildings at the rear of the shop. Sadly, John junior died only a few months later at the age of only 39.
For more info and sources, read our blog post ‘News From the High Street’.
Skinner St, Poole, BH15 1RH
Skinner Street was once home to famed 19th century naturalist Philip Henry Gosse, who lived at No. 1 with his mother, Hannah, his siblings, and his often absent artist father.
Gosse’s childhood in Poole helped to cultivated his interest and love for the natural world, especially under the guidance of his aunt, Susan Bell. Gosse recalls: ‘when I found any specimen that appeared to me curious, or beautiful, or strange, I would take it to Aunt Bell, with confidence that I should learn something of its history from her.’
While Poole set the scene for Gosse’s love for the natural world, the mercantile character of the town also provided him with his first line of work as a counting clerk for Garland and Sons, aged 15. Just two years later, Gosse set sail to Newfoundland to continue at Slade, Elson and Co., and began his career away from Poole.
Did you know…?
Gosse built the first successful sea-water aquarium for the long-term housing of marine creatures, as well as coining the word itself; ‘aquarium’!
In The Aquarium, Gosse states that the ‘habits of animals will never be thoroughly known till they are observed in detail…they must be closely watched, their various actions carefully noted’, and his marine aquarium allowed him to do just that. According to Gosse’s son, Edmund, Aunt Bell was actually ‘the first person to suggest the preservation of living animals in aquaria of sea-water’, which she’d mentioned when a young Philip found sea anemones in the springtides of Poole Quay. Either way, it was around the same time as his invention that clear aquarium tanks became fashionable to display in Victorian society, and his cataloguing of marine animals helped to inform even Charles Darwin.
For more info, image credits, and sources, read our blog post on Philip Henry Gosse.