Argyll Gardens, origin of the name
A visit to Russell-Cotes at Easter 2019 prompted me to carry out some research into the origin of the name of Argyll Gardens. Possibly from seeing that the Duke of Argyll was a regular guest at the Bath Hotel. Merton Cotes owned the hotel and built East Cliff Hall in the grounds as a gift for his wife Annie.
The Duke may refer to George the 8th Duke 1847-1900 born 1823; John the 9th (S) and 2nd (UK) 1900-1947 born 1845; or John the 7th 1839-1847 born 1777.
The Duke had been recommended to visit Bournemouth in 1846 due to his poor health. This was before the establishment of the Commissioners who first met in July 1856. The combined population of Bournemouth and Boscombe was under 700 in 1851.
The towns memorial of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee was the Royal Victoria Hospital on Poole Road Westbourne on the south west corner of the cross roads with Queens and Clarendon Roads. This was opened on 16 January 1890, which was celebrated as a public holiday, by Prince of Wales his late Majesty, King Edward VII accompanied by HRH Prince George (later King George V).
In 1901-2 construction of the West Overcliff Drive took place from Durley to Alum Chine. This work was carried out by the Corporation, with the co-operation of the ground landlord, Mr. Cooper Dean, who granted them a 999 years’ lease of the Cliff and Chine slopes and all land necessary for the Drive. At the same time, he leased them two acres of land for a recreation ground – now (1910) known as the Argyll Pleasure Garden – at a rental of £50 per annum.
On 16 January 1903 a new Children’s Ward at the Royal Victoria Hospital was formally opened by HRH the Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, who with his Grace the Duke of Argyll was at that time on a visit to the Earl and Countess of Malmesbury at Heron Court. A reception was held at the Winter Gardens formerly known as Cranborne Gardens and which the Princess had visited in 1863 when she had steamed down from the Isle of Wight in the yacht Elfin. The Princess was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and had married John Campbell in 1871. He was known before 1900 as Marquess of Lorne and was Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. He opened Boscombe pier in 1889.
There would have been few buildings between the hospital and the Pleasure Garden at that time. It seems likely to me that this would have been the origin of the name Argyll for the Pleasure Gardens.
I subsequently found a librarian’s note in the Heritage Zone at Bournemouth Central Library under Argyll Gardens:-
“Opened on 15th June 1901, as “Alum Chine Public Pleasure Gardens”. The Parks Committee of Bournemouth Council, at their meeting of 15th January 1903, recommended that the Pleasure Grounds on the West Cliff be named “The Argyll Pleasure Grounds. West Cliff”. This was confirmed by the Council on 3rd February 1903.
The reason for the renaming is not given but was likely in honour of the visit, on 16th January 1903, of the 9th Duke and Duchess of Argyll, when the Duchess opened the new children’s ward at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Poole Road”.
A History of Bournemouth, Elizabeth Edwards (1981)
Bournemouth 1810-1910 The History of a Modern Health and Pleasure Resort, Chas. Mate & Chas. Riddle (1910)
W Mate & Son Ltd Bournemouth Business Directory 1904
(County) Borough of Bournemouth Corporation Year Books, Nos. 7,8,9,10,11 &12 (1901-1906) & No.21 (1915)
Local History ring binder in Heritage Zone compiled by Bournemouth Librarian. (Likely Barry or Peter)
GM 24 April 2019