Bournemouth Library

L-R: Sam Johnston (County Archivist), Gill Giles (Mayor’s Escort), Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Mrs Valerie Pitt-Rivers, John Wilson (Chairman of Dorset CC), Deputy Mayor of B’mth: Cllr Phil Stanley Watts, Dorcas Williams (VP Communications, JPMorgan), Kristina Broughton (Learning officer for Dorset History Centre), Mike Wood (Head of Geography, St Peters School), David Todd (Head Teacher, St Peters School), Medi Bernard (Head of Libraries), Peter Kazmierczak (Senior Heritage Librarian, B’mth Libraries)

Historical materials documenting Bournemouth’s Cooper-Dean family and the Littledown estate are now on display as part of a special exhibition at Bournemouth Library.

The exhibition, called ‘Our Town’ tells the story of the development of Bournemouth over the years dating back to the 1600s when much of Bournemouth was owned by the Cooper Dean estate right through to the present day and beyond.

A selection of reproductions from the Cooper Dean archive will be showcased along with work by year 8/9 students from St Peter’s School who created their own proposals for future developments in the town centre.

The exhibition is the climax of extensive work by the Dorset History Centre to catalogue around 160 boxes of materials, including maps, plans and financial documents about the Cooper Dean Estate dating back to 1679.

The work to create the archive was made possible thanks to funding of £15,000 from JP Morgan and a grant of £10,000 from the AE Cooper-Dean Charitable Foundation. The project also received £2,700 for the educational element funded by the Bournemouth and Poole Cultural Hub.

Councillor Lawrence Williams, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Leisure & Culture, said, “This is a fantastic resource for the town and I’m delighted that for the first time the town has a full catalogue of important historical information about the Cooper-Dean Estate which the public have never had access to before. It will help to tell the fascinating story of how Bournemouth has grown from a small settlement to the major town that it is today. It will be an extremely valuable resource for anyone who is interested in the history of Bournemouth including historians, researchers, schools and community groups.”

Dorcas Williams, Vice President of JP Morgan, said, “Our technology and operations centre in Bournemouth is located on part of the previous Cooper-Dean estate and includes Littledown House, the former home of the Cooper-Dean family. We are proud to be supporting this exciting archives project to raise awareness and understanding of the history of Bournemouth.”

Alastair Cowen a trustee from the AE Cooper-Dean Charitable Foundation, said, “The history of the family, who owned much of what was then farmland on the edge of Bournemouth, is to be found in these records and is always interesting and often personal and touching.  It will be a welcome source of history and local interest to a wider public.”

The exhibition takes place from 31 July until 11 August 2013 at Bournemouth Library.

Some of the items from the archive will be made available on the Bournemouth’s virtual museum, the ‘Streets of Bournemouth’ website with the full catalogue available on the Dorset For You website.

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