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The Waterfront Museum, Local History Centre

A Grade I Listed Building in Poole Town, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

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Latitude: 50.7125 / 50°42'44"N

Longitude: -1.9892 / 1°59'20"W

OS Eastings: 400861

OS Northings: 90313

OS Grid: SZ008903

Mapcode National: GBR XQ1.M0

Mapcode Global: FRA 67Q6.8VR

Plus Code: 9C2WP266+X8

Entry Name: The Waterfront Museum, Local History Centre

Listing Date: 14 June 1954

Last Amended: 1 June 2010

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1217514

English Heritage Legacy ID: 412572

ID on this website: 101217514

Location: Old Town, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Dorset, BH15

County: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Poole

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Poole St James with St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Tagged with: Local museum History museum

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958-1/17/135 (North side)
14/06/54 The Waterfront Museum, Local History


Woolhouse, public house, now local history centre. Constructed in the first half of the C15, on C14 foundations. It was altered in the late C20 and refurbished in the early C21.

PLAN: A single storey, rectangular building with a parallel open plan. It was originally some 36m long and of ten or eleven bays, but was divided into two unequal parts (separate buildings) by the southward extension of Thames Street in circa 1788. In 1820 a lock-up was built against the north side of the woolhouse.

MATERIALS: Coursed limestone rubble walls and ashlar dressings with English bond brickwork to the west end. It has a tiled roof.

EXTERIOR: The south elevation faces onto Paradise Street and is six-bay range that is articulated by two-stage buttresses with a large stepped corbel at the east end. It has a depressed two-centre archway with double C20 doors and chamfered flush surrounds to the far left, which was the central entrance to the original building. The third bay has paired cinquefoil-arched narrow lights, and the right-hand bay has a two-centre-arched doorway with a chamfered surround which has a moulded corbel beneath the eaves for a now-lost arch. The left return is built of brick laid to English bond. At the right-hand end is a stepped corbel of three courses. The rear (north) elevation onto Sarum Street is partly obscured by the C19 lock-up, but has two two-stage buttresses and paired cinquefoil-headed lights.

INTERIOR: (not inspected 2010). Partly divided into two floors. Six bays survive of late medieval braced collar beam roof with two rows of purlins and arched wind braces below the lower purlin.

HISTORY: Poole developed as a port in the C13. A Royal Charter of 1433 established Poole as a staple port which gave it the authority to collect customs duties on behalf of the King and enabled it to begin exporting wool. From the late C17 until its decline in the mid-C19, Poole was considered one of the busiest ports in England, establishing strong trade links with Europe, the Baltic and North America. The former warehouse or woolhouse is situated in what was the commercial nucleus of the medieval town and was located immediately behind the former Great Quay. It was built in the C15 as a storehouse for wool and cloth prior to export. An excavation during the 1970s provided evidence for the foundations of an earlier building on the site with a construction date of circa 1300. During the early C18 a lock-up was built against the north side of building.

SOURCES: Royal Commission on Historic Buildings and Monuments of England (RCHME), County of Dorset - South East (1970), 204, 213, 233
Pevsner N & Newman J, Buildings of England- Dorset (1972), 321

REASON FOR DESIGNATION: This former warehouse or woolhouse, now the Local History Centre, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Architecture: it displays architectural quality in the fa├žade detailing and in its late medieval roof carpentry
* Historic: although truncated, this remains a very rare and historically important example of a wool house which reflects the significance of warehousing and trade to Poole's prosperity during the medieval and later periods
* Group value: it forms part of a large group of listed buildings clustered together in the old town of Poole

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