I started work in Poole over 40 years ago and I have seen many changes around the town. I saw what was then the
Arndale Centre ( now known as the Dolphin Centre ) being built. The quay is one of the most beautiful places to visit. Poole harbour being one of the largest natural harbours in the world and Brownsea island being within this harbour is now the home of the thriving red Squirrel population and the home of Boy Scout movement in England.
The Poole Harbour area has been inhabited for at least 2,500 years. During the Iron Age, Celtic people known as the Durotriges lived in Dorset, particularly around Wareham, five miles ( eight km ) to the west. In the 3rd century BC, these Celtic people moved from hilltop settlements, such as Maiden Castle and Badbury Rings on the chalk downs to the north, to the lower vales and heathland around the River Frome and Poole Harbour. This marshy area may have lent its name to the Durotriges, which means water dwellers. The Durotriges engaged in cross-channel trading at Poole with the Veneti, a seafaring tribe from Brittany. The earliest significant archaeological find in the harbour is the Poole Longboat, a 10 metres ( 33 ft ) boat made from a single oak tree and dating to 295 BC. During that time, the harbour was shallower than it is today and any settlement would now be under water.
Poole was one of several harbouring sites along the south coast of Britain where the Romans landed during their conquest of Britain the 1st century. The Roman Emperor, Vespasian, brought the Second Augustan Legion to the harbour in 43 AD and founded Hamworthy, an area just west of the modern town centre. The Romans and continued to use the harbour throughout the occupation.
Poole is a large coastal town and seaport in the county of Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is 33 kilometres ( 21 miles ) east of Dorchester, and Bournemouth adjoins Poole to the east. The Borough of Poole was made a unitary authority in 1997, gaining administrative independence from Dorset County Council. The town had a population of 138,288 according to the 2001 census, making it the second largest settlement in Dorset. Together with Bournemouth and Christchurch, the town forms the South East Dorset conurbation with a total population of over 400,000.
Human settlement in the area dates back to before the Iron Age. The earliest recorded use of the town's name was in the 12th century when the town began to emerge as an important port, prospering with the introduction of the wool trade. In later centuries the town had important trade links with North America and at its peak in the 18th century it was one of the busiest ports in Britain. During the Second World War the town was one of the main departing points for the D-Day landings of the Normandy Invasion.
Poole is a tourist resort, attracting visitors with its large natural harbour, history, the Lighthouse arts centre and Blue Flag beaches. The town has a busy commercial port with cross-Channel freight and passenger ferry services. The headquarters of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution ( RNLI ) are located in Poole, and the Royal Marines have a base in the town's harbour. Despite their names, Poole is the home of The Arts University College at Bournemouth, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a significant part of Bournemouth University.
The town's name derives from a corruption of the Celtic word bol and the Old English word pool meaning a place near a pool or creek. Variants include Pool, Pole, Poles, Poll, Polle, Polman, and Poolman. The area around modern Poole has been inhabited for the past 2,500 years. During the 3rd century BC, Celts known as the Durotriges moved from hilltop settlements at Maiden Castle and Badbury Rings to heathland around the River Frome and Poole Harbour. The Romans landed at Poole during their conquest of Britain in the 1st century and took over a Iron Age settlement at Hamworthy, an area just west of the modern town centre. In Anglo-Saxon times, Poole was included in the Kingdom of Wessex. The settlement was used as a base for fishing and the harbour a place for ships to anchor on their way to the River Frome and the important Anglo-Saxon town of Wareham. Poole experienced two large-scale Viking invasions during this era: in 876, Guthrum sailed his fleet through the harbour to attack Wareham, and in 1015, Canute began his conquest of England in Poole Harbour, using it as a base to raid and pillage Wessex.