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The history of Pelhams Park

Kinson predates the Domesday Book and was part of the old parish of Great Canford, or Cheneford. Originally, the settlement was known as Cynestan’s Tun, and was later recorded in the Domesday Book as Chinestanestone. Its name developed and by 1800 it was known as Kinson.

The first building at Pelhams was built around 1788 on land that was part of Manor Farm, previously Kinson Farm. The farm was owned by a well-known local smuggler called Isaac Gulliver. Today, you can walk the Gulliver Trail.

During the early part of the 20th century the house and gardens became used more often by the local community. Children were invited by the owner to gather chestnuts and the Kinson Horticultural Society began to hold annual flower shows from 1907.

The 1930s and 40s

In 1930 the house and gardens were sold to us on the condition that we used the land for the benefit of the local people. In the spirit of this the grounds were used to grow fruit and vegetables, with apples being sent to the local hospital.

In the 1930s lots of changes had happened. The house was used as a child welfare clinic and a rugby pitch was set up on land at the back of the house. The Kinson Friendly Society (now the Kinson Community Association) started using the grounds to rehearse plays.

During World War 2 the house was used as a wardens’ post and headquarters for the National Fire Service.

The 1950s and 60s

In 1952 Pelhams became a community centre for the Kinson Social Club and Institute. During demolition of the old buildings a George III halfpenny coin was found, which is now on display in the community centre.

During the mid-fifties, the park became the first national accessible meeting place for people in wheelchairs, or ‘invalid tricycles’ as they were known.
A new hall and outdoor tennis courts were built and the bowling green and putting green were opened in 1958.


The park became more child friendly later and a paddling pool and playground were added. The pool was renovated in 1993 to include a pump house and new play area. The playground is still extremely popular with younger members of the community.

Today the park and community centre take up about 3.4ha of land. Pelhams is a Grade II Listed building and remains one of the oldest buildings in Bournemouth.

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