Bournemouth /ˈbɔːrnməθ/ is a large coastal resort town on the south coast of England directly to the east of the Jurassic Coast, a 96-mile World Heritage Site. According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 183,491 making it the largest settlement in Dorset. With Poole to the west and Christchurch in the east, Bournemouth forms the South East Dorset conurbation, before it was founded in 1810 by Lewis Tregonwell, the area was a deserted heathland occasionally visited by fishermen and smugglers. Initially marketed as a resort, the town received a boost when it appeared in Dr Granvilles book. Bournemouths growth really accelerated with the arrival of the railway and it became a town in 1870. Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset with the reorganisation of government in 1974. Since 1997, the town has been administered by a unitary authority, the local council is Bournemouth Borough Council. The town centre has notable Victorian architecture and the 202-foot spire of St Peters Church, Bournemouths location has made it a popular destination for tourists, attracting over five million visitors annually with its beaches and popular nightlife. The town is also a centre of business, home of the Bournemouth International Centre or BIC. The word bourne, meaning a stream, is a derivative of burna. A travel guide published in 1831 calls the place Bourne Cliffe or Tregonwells Bourne after its founder, the Spas of England, published ten years later, calls it simply Bourne as does an 1838 edition of the Hampshire Advertiser. In the late 19th century Bournemouth became predominant, although its two-word form appears to have remained in use up until at least the early 20th century, in the 12th century the region around the mouth of the River Bourne was part of the Hundred of Holdenhurst. Although the Dorset and Hampshire region surrounding it had been the site of settlement for thousands of years, Westover was largely a remote. In 1574 the Earl of Southampton noted that the area was Devoid of all habitation, on this barren and uncultivated heath there was not a human to direct us. Bronze Age burials near Moordown, and the discovery of Iron Age pottery on the East Cliff in 1969, Hengistbury Head, added to the borough in 1932, was the site of a much older Palaeolithic encampment. No-one lived at the mouth of the Bourne river and the regular visitors to the area before the 19th century were a few fishermen, turf cutters. Prior to the Christchurch Inclosures Act 1802, more than 70% of the Westover area was common land, in 1809 the Tapps Arms public house appeared on the heath. A few years later, in 1812, the first official residents, retired army officer Lewis Tregonwell and his wife, the area was well known to Tregonwell who, during the Napoleonic wars, spent much of his time searching the heath and coastline for French invaders and smugglers
Section of a 1759 map of Hampshire by Isaac Taylor, showing the Manor of Christchurch and the area around the Bourne chine.