Heritage & Culture

Poole has a fascinating maritime past and trade links with Newfoundland and the Baltics.  This helped establish local industries such as potteries, boat building, foundries, rope makers, brewers and bakeries. As the transformation of Poole continues into the future, we plan to safeguard and celebrate our culture and rich heritage.

Town character

Poole’s town centre peninsula projects into Back Water Channel separating Holes Bay from the harbour. Canford Manor and the Stour River Valley also lie to the north.  This, along with its rich history, has resulted in the town’s smaller distinctive areas, each with their differing architectural styles including: an ancient quay, a Georgian old town, formal parks and gardens, historic suburbs and the grounds of three country houses.

Photo credit : Image courtesy of Poole Tourism, photographer – Sue Sieger

Poole Museum

The Historic Quay and Old Town regeneration area is home to Poole Museum, the most visited museum/ free attraction in Dorset.  It is set in a Victorian warehouse and has a series of galleries telling the story of Poole’s maritime past to the present day. Poole’s History Centre, part of the museum, houses the Town Cellars, a medieval wool warehouse dating from the 1300s, one of the most important surviving medieval port buildings in northern Europe. Scaplen’s Court, adjacent to the museum, is a courtyard inn built in the 1500s and 1600s, thriving today as a learning centre offering unique hands-on experiences.

Lighthouse Poole

Lighthouse is the town’s nationally important cultural centre for the arts.  It first opened in 1978 and celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2018. In the last few years it has undergone an extensive and carefully considered refurbishment programme including new education and rehearsal space as well as improvements to the Concert Hall, Theatre and backstage. Environmental improvements included a new glass frontage, digital displays and LED lighting.

Photo credit : Lighthouse Poole

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Lighthouse Poole is home to the renowned Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.  Although performing in the South/South West of England, the Orchestra has developed a reputation as one of the UK’s major orchestras working with many of the world’s leading composers, conductors and performers in great halls around the world.  It is also a regular performer in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. The orchestra was based in Bournemouth before it moved to Poole in 1979.

Photo credit : Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Speedway / Greyhound racing

The Poole Pirates motorcycle speedway team are based at the 5,500 seat Poole Stadium in the Town Centre North regeneration area.  Since 2001 the club has won 11 major trophies including the Elite League Championship six times.  The Stadium is also home to greyhound racing with its own purpose built track.

Photo credit : Poole Pirates

Poole Town Football Club

Poole Town was formed when two local teams merged in 1890. In recent years the club has made significant progress through the lower leagues and has aspirations to reach league status again in the future.  Poole Town Ladies also have two senior teams.  As a community based club, it provides junior football for the U6s through to U18s, providing excellent pathways to the senior teams.

Photo credit : C Corbin