11 things you might not know about Bournemouth…
Sunny Bournemouth is the first place journalists go to get photographs on the hottest day of the year and is often associated with that classic British postcard scene – a long stretch of sand littered with bikini-clad bodies, ruddy-faced children in rubber rings and a whole lot of sun cream disasters. But there’s more to Bournemouth than summertime memories and we’ve got the facts to prove it…
1. It Only Had One House For 27 Years
A mysterious and wealthy businessman called Lewis Tregonwell visited the beach at Bournemouth with his wife in 1810. She loved it so much that she wanted to live there, so Tregonwell built a house on the 8-and-a-half acres he purchased. It was the only house in Bournemouth for the next 27 years, until a settlement began in 1837.
2. It Was Considered Safe From Harm During WW2
Throughout the Second World War, many children were sent to Bournemouth from other southern towns and cities as it was believed to be a safe haven. Sadly, the town did not entirely escape German bombs and 219 lives were lost.
3. Winston Churchill Nearly Died There
Long before he was our greatest Prime Minister, an 18-year-old Winston Churchill fell 29 feet from a bridge in Bournemouth in 1892. He was in a coma for three days and should he not have awoken, our history may have been quite different…
4. It’s Not Helping With The Obesity Epidemic
Bournemouth serves around 750,000 delicious, cold ice creams to scorched punters on its seafront every year. That’s a lot of sugar.
5. It Has A Rather Morbid And Monstrous Burial Site
Mary Shelley, writer of classic gothic horror novel Frankenstein, is buried in Bournemouth – along with the heart of her husband Percy. We can’t comment on the whereabouts of the monster, but keep your eyes peeled.
6. The Fab Four Were Big Fans
The Beatles played more gigs in Bournemouth than any other UK town. There’s even a book you can buy celebrating John, Paul, George and Ringo’s exploits there called “Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles and Bournemouth” by Nick Churchill, if you fancy it.
7. Amanda Holden Was Very, Very Publicly Naked There
Britain’s Got Talent judge Holden once rode around Bournemouth stark naked on a motorbike for a dare. After zooming past a startled security guard yelling “SAY NO TO CRACK!” her friends were forced to pay up the £20 they pledged.
8. It All Started With A Really Big Fish
The first mention of the town was in 1406, when a monk described how an 18-foot-long fish washed up on the beach at “La Bournemowthe.” It’s hard to say if this was exaggerated or what kind of fish it might have been, but there are rare accounts of Oarfish being caught around the UK over the years.
9. Death Isn’t Winning Anymore
Often jokingly referred to as a place people go to die, Bournemouth has historically been such a popular retirement town that births didn’t exceed deaths until 2007. It’s still where people in their twilight years are headed though, with 3.3% of the population over 85 years old, compared to 2.2% nationally.
10. It’s The Happiest Place In The UK
82% of people questioned in a 2007 survey by First Direct reported that they were living their best lives in Bournemouth. Must be all that fresh sea air!
11. Hobbits Were Dreamt Of There
Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien took 30 years of holidays in Bournemouth, always staying in the same room at the Hotel Miramar. He later retired there in the 1960s and died in the town, but was later buried in Oxfordshire.