Celebrating the heritage of Christchurch

THE Regent Centre at Christchurch is hosting a special archive photographic exhibition by the town’s History Society, with 40 historic photographs on show until Monday 1st April.

The photographs range from the late 1800s to the early 1960 and some have not been shown before. The subjects include early aviation, Christchurch cycling club, a bathing machine, trams and local characters.

The photos come from the vast collection of data stored at Christchurch History Society’s archive centre, which is currently housed in the Porch Room in Priory House in Quay Road, Christchurch.

At the end of March, Christchurch will enter a new era as the merger with Bournemouth and Poole takes place to form a new local authority. It seemed appropriate to stage the exhibition at this time to highlight the history and heritage of this ancient town and its surrounding area.

It is also an opportunity for the society to highlight the important and historic work that its members carry out on behalf of the town. The society has access to local newspapers dating back to 1855, local trade directories, including Kelley’s, Mates and Marshall’s from 1909 to 1975, and voters lists for the town dating from 1834 to 1915.

There is a vast collection of documents on microfilm including copies of the Christchurch Times from 1855 to 1918 and from 1925 to 1983.  The archive also has some of the Christchurch Union Workhouse records.

One of the unique resources held by the society is a database of surnames from Christchurch and its surrounding villages that have appeared in the local papers from 1855 to 1938, enabling researchers to find information without actually going through all of the newsprint.

Pictured: The Queen visiting Christchurch in 1966; she is shown leaving the Priory with the Mayor, Councillor Eric Spreadbury, with the Duke of Edinburgh walking behind.