Poole Plaques – How Unfortunate was Monmouth?

alcatraz-plaqueThe number of information plaques in Poole has multiplied recently, giving our next speaker, Steve Roberts, quite a challenge in tackling the subject at his talk on 15th February. The latest crop of bright blue discs adds to the many types and styles of plaques already in existence. In fact the more you look, the more you find. They are mounted on walls and buildings, set into the pavement, on posts and plinths, indoors and outdoors. Some are made of stone, some of metal, ceramic tiles, wood or plastic. A purist might wish that they were all of one style but I think that would be a shame because the style of the plaque says as much about the time they were put up as the subject they are commemorating.

welcome-signSome are consciously antique in style, like the one recording the visit of Charles II in 1665 or the one on the old library. Others are contemporary like the tiled ‘Welcome to Poole’ signs and the decorative plaques round the walls of the Civic Centre which evoke the 1930s. The oldest one I could find is the one on the Guildhall which presumably dates from 1761 and is very much of its period which we are told was during ‘the mayoralty of George Wefton Efquire’. One or two are hard to read like the Sea Music sign which I believe is due to be splendidly restored.  The Overlord plaque on the Custom House is classic and restrained while the 1994 plaque further down the Quay also commemorating D-Day is abstract and artistic.

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Wording on the signs is also diverse and interesting. Some are technical ‘. . note the eye-bolt terminals’ or rather convoluted ‘. . . which formerly ran through this point in a direction slightly north of west to the shore.’ There are unexpected nuggets of information: ‘. . . these 83 foot boats, made entirely of wood . .’ or ‘. . . the crew was taken by horse brake to their station at Sandbanks, which is now the site of the Royal Motor Yacht Club’. One plaque is in Latin and another quotes from a document dating from 1579. Some are poetical: ‘. . . a time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace’ or religious ‘. . . suffered six months’ imprisonment for conscience sake’. Some express themselves in a way we would not choose today: ‘. . . devoted to the use of the poor for 500 years’ and some allow a little partisan feeling to creep in: ‘King Charles II and unfortunate Duke of Monmouth . . .’.

Mixed bag or not, the streets of Poole are richer for their plaques and I am looking forward to finding out more about them.

Jenny

 

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8 thoughts on “Poole Plaques – How Unfortunate was Monmouth?

  1. Great work Jenny!

    Not sure if the ceramic Poole pottery plaque depicting yachts etc in Poole Harbour is still in place on the side wall of the Quay Cafe….

    Methinks sumfink has appened to it….

      • Great – but there used to be Two!

        ll check again this evening….

      • There used to be 3 in total. One large and one small inset into the wall about 13 feet from the ground commemorating the DDay landings; they are still there.

        A medium sized plaque of Poole Pottery ceramic tiles ” Welcome to Poole “used to hang beneath them at a lower level- that has gone, it’s 3 picture hooks are still in place and the wall is stained from lack of sunlight where it used to hang.

        I have seen a medium sized plaque of Poole Pottery ceramic tiles ” Welcome to Poole” near the Sandbanks ferry opposite the Haven Hotel – is this the same plaque mysteriously moved?

      • There are several more tile plaques that have been resited in that concrete cavern but they are so badly lit that people often don’t notice them. One is a beautiful panel of lustre tiles in the Art Nouveau style from 1904. A real hidden gem!

  2. If I remember rightly there used to be several of these welcome plaques on the Poole boundaries, one at Hamworthy and perhaps one at Wallisdown as well as Sandbanks. Perhaps someone can fill me in on this. Maybe they got damaged but the only two I know of now are the one at Sandbanks and the one in the Museum entrance.
    Jenny

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