Winton a Victorian vision

The building of Winton

Like Bournemouth, the Winton we know today is a relatively young settlement. It dates back around one hundred and fifty years and was partly constructed over clay and gravel pits. The local white clay was used to make bricks. You can still see it in some of the older cottages. Some of the claypits and kilns were located on Shorthorn and Claypit Commons – areas now rougly bounded by Alma and Acland Roads.

Key figures in the area’s development were the landowning sisters Georgina and Marianne Talbot. Good examples of the Victorian moral conscience, heir name lives on in place and street names.

Landed and wealthy, they were moved by the desperate plight of poverty-stricken local agricultural workers and their families, and determined to do what they could to give them a better life.

Around 1850 they set about the development of Talbot Village as a model of working class accommodation. Looking a short distance to the East, they also purchased land along the edge of what is now Wimborne Road. On it they sank wells and constructed cottages. This was to become the original Winton.

The name Winton is thought to have been chosen to reflect their Scottish ancestry and connections – and specifically the Earl of Winton. whose Scottish Winton estate is on the banks of the River Tyne about fifteen miles east of Edinburgh. The Scottish influence was continued by the Earl of Leven and Melville who inherited land from the Talbot sisters and developed West and South West Winton. His name and background is reflected in various roads and avenues – his home at Glenferness, Nairn, being an example.

By 1891 the Winton population was 4,000. Eight years later it had risen to 7,200. In the 1880’s Winton was described as being in the parish of Moordown but by 1899 there had been so much development that Moordown was viewed as a hamlet in the parish of Winton. In 1898 the civil parish of Winton was constituted an urban district. Three years later this were dissolved and the area absorbed into the county borough of Bournemouth.

Maps

Winton in 1880

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Winton in 1894

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Winton in about 1895

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Winton in 1903

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Winton in about 1923

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Winton now

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Late Victorian Winton

Here is a description of Winton in 1890, as it appeared in the Parish Magazine:

“Perhaps there is no other such place in the world as Winton, in all events it would be difficult to find one. Some of its characteristics it may no longer retain. We mean the beauty of its golden flowers in May and its purple heather in August. Much of this wild natural beauty has already succumbed.

But picturesque as are the gorse and heather and beautiful as are the glimpses of the Stour Valley, with St Catherine’s Hill in the distance and grateful is the shade of the Winton pines in the summer and their shelter in the winter, it must be confessed that Winton’s unique attraction consists not in these natural beauties which have their counterparts elsewhere, but in the affable style, disposition and arrangements of the working people’s houses, such as in the newer parts of the settlement.

It would be difficult to find any other place where so much care has been taken to study from a business point of view the precise wants and wishes of our working people as regards their homes. The houses of the great majority of our working people are not usually very attractive. In other districts they are no doubt externally picturesque thatch and timber, irregularity of line and a growth of ivy or jasmine combined to make the rustic cottage a favoured subject for the artist. But the interior is generally suggestive of diminutive stature and rheumatism.

Winton is neither country nor town but seems to take practical hints from both. Trees are not favourable to the growth of vegetables and so far the picturesque is a sacrifice to the useful, but the houses themselves are certainly not without their attractiveness not is the general view of St Peter’s Hill looking south otherwise than picturesque.

In the way of improvement there is of course a great deal to be done. The high road requires to be levelled, there is no public form of any kind of entertainment, no proper cricket ground, the supply of drinking water terminates as though St Peters Hill was too much for it. The drainage is still primitive, the lighting though admirable depends on voluntary enterprise – a local committee supplies oil lamps etc. The fire engine like the water cart is conspicuous by its absence. Lastly we are, it is to be supposed, so orderly that we only require, or at least only get, the services of one resident policeman.”

In 1900 there were still three farms in Winton.

  • Winton Farm was on Wimborne Road opposite the end of Castle Lane. It closed around 1920,
  • Malmesbury Farm covered the area now occupied by the Hop and Kilderkin and the end of Alma Road. The road actually curved round through Crimea Road to avoid the farm buildings. It was demolished around 1906 when the new Talbot Parade was built on the other side of Wimborne Road.
  • Burt’s Farm was on Wimborne Road opposite the end of what is now Ensbury Park Road. It was still operating in the 1920’s but finally succumbed to development in the early 1930’s.

Beginnings of modern Winton

Horse drawn carriages were replaced by trams in 1902. A single tramline ran the length of Wimborne Road down into Bournemouth and a tram depot was established at Moordown in 1911. The tram service ran until the mid 1930’s when it in turn was replaced by trolley buses which lasted until 1969.

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Traffic problems are nothing new. The picture on the right was taken at the junction of Bryanston and Wimborne Roads in the early 1960’s. A trolley bus is even caught up in the jam. As ever, the cyclists make the fastest progress. Some of the drivers are probably looking across to their right to see what is showing tonight at the Continental cinema.