The Book of Poole Harbour
Editors: Darvill, T. and Dyer, B.
Publisher: Dovecote Press
Place of Publication: Wimborne Minster
Poole Harbour has long been in need of a comprehensive illustrated account of its remarkable history. That this first book on the Harbour ever to be published is the work of 30 authors, all of them authorities on aspects of its story, and that it contains over 400 illustrations, many of them in colour, is a tribute to the richness and diversity of the Harbour itself. It may only be 8650 acres in area, but it is one of the most fascinating and beautiful places in Britain, as well as being of international importance for its landscapes and wildlife.
Here then is Poole Harbour’s story, from its formation following the last Ice Age to the twenty-first century. By the Iron Age the Harbour was a flourishing port. Later, Roman galleys and Viking longships dropped anchor in its waters. Wareham’s decline marked Poole’s rise into a town made wealthy by shipping and fishing, specially the trade in cod between Newfoundland and the Mediterranean. Land was reclaimed, jetties and quays built. The Harbour was charted, its channels dredged and buoyed. There seemed no limit to the Harbour’s bounty: from salt production to chemicals, from the exporting of clay to the founding of potteries,from brewing to shipbuilding.
The Harbour’s islands and secluded backwaters sheltered pirates and smugglers. The threat of invasion saw its defences strengthened. Once flying boats rose into the air where the Royal Marines and the RNLI now exercise and train, where yachts and sailing dinghies race for pleasure. Indeed, it is the many delights the Harbour offers that today are its principal attractions. Yet despite the bustle of a working port and the increasingly built-up eastern shore, Poole Harbour retains a unique and special character.
Preferred by: Timothy Darvill