History in Structure

Custom House

A Grade II* Listed Building in Poole Town, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 50.7123 / 50°42'44"N

Longitude: -1.989 / 1°59'20"W

OS Eastings: 400872

OS Northings: 90296

OS Grid: SZ008902

Mapcode National: GBR XQ2.9M

Mapcode Global: FRA 67Q6.8Y0

Plus Code: 9C2WP266+W9

Entry Name: Custom House

Listing Date: 14 June 1954

Last Amended: 13 April 2023

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1275358

English Heritage Legacy ID: 412625

ID on this website: 101275358

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: Custom house

Find accommodation in


Custom House, built in 1781 and rebuilt in replica in 1814; now a commercial premises.


Custom house, built in 1781 and rebuilt in replica in 1814; now a commercial premises.

MATERIALS: Flemish bond brickwork with dressings of stone and rubbed brick, under a hipped slate roof with brick ridge and rear, lateral stacks.

PLAN: double-depth plan with a principal rear first-floor room.

EXTERIOR: the Custom House has two upper storeys and a semi-basement. Its front, to the west, is three bays wide, with four-bay side returns to the north and south. The principal façade has a basement impost band, moulded timber eaves, and the central pedimented bay set forward. The central porch has Tuscan columns and an entablature which carries a cast-iron Royal Coat of Arms, restored in around 1990. The double entrance doors are panelled. The porch is approached by symmetrical segmental curved stairs with wrought-iron railings, which copy those of Poole’s mid-C18 Guildhall (Grade II*-listed). Six-over-six-pane sash windows flank the entrance porch, while the central top-floor window is blank, with three-over-three-pane sash windows to either side. Below the entrance, the semi-basement floor has a keyed, segmental-arched doorway with a half-glazed door. The window openings to the semi-basement are round-arched, whilst those to the upper two storeys are flat-arched.

On the side returns the semi-basement forms a lower ground floor, and the fenestration matches that to the front elevation. There is an impost band, doorway and three windows; four sash windows to the floor above and four shorter sashes to the upper floor; and two blocked openings on the return facing Paradise Street.

INTERIOR: the ground floor is understood to be altered, but is reported to contain a rear axial stair, and a roof with four paired king-post trusses, two on each tie beam.


The original Custom House was destroyed by fire in 1813 and replaced in replica; this original structure was itself a rebuilding of the late C18 Red Lion Coffee House. The Custom House forms a strong group with the Town Cellar (Grade I-listed) and Harbour Office (Grade II-listed) on the old quay, illustrative of the old quayside, and forming the entrance to Thames Street.

Reasons for Listing

The Custom House in Poole is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* this well-designed Georgian building is a handsome presence in this important location in Poole;
* for the reflection of the architecture of the Grade II*-listed mid-C18 Guildhall in its main elevation.

Historic interest:

* as a significant building within the development of the harbour and trade in Poole.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.