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Verwood then and now

The ever-changing face of Verwood is shown by these contrasting photographs of the town as it was in the past and as it is today

1.    Much is still recognisable in the contemporary view of the crossroads, even though the Edmondsham Road exit has been closed to traffic. The two buildings at the centre of the old photograph are Congregational chapels, and next to them is the old pottery.
2.    The view in the opposite direction at the crossroads. The only building visible in the old photograph is the Unionist Hall. In the right foreground is the land which used to be the claypit for the pottery. It is now Ferrett Green.
3.    Looking north from the junction of Manor Road and Dewlands Way up Manor Road to the crossroads. There was once a manor house in Verwood; it was built in the 19th century by William Fryer, who owned the first car in Verwood.
4.    Verwood has always been a stronghold of Methodist worship. The Primitive Methodist chapel on the left of the old photograph was built in 1876 but was replaced in 1909 by the present Methodist church. The houses on the right of the old view of Vicarage Road are notable for their banding in the local Ebblake brick.
5.    Verwood’s first official post office was established in 1895. Vicarage Road was its third location, and the contemporary photograph shows how it has been incorporated into a modern building.
6.    Margards Lane, looking north towards Church Hill. It remained a rough track onto the Common until houses and bungalows were built on either side in the 1970s. The house on the right, now called Tennyson Cottage, was where Miss Violet Tennyson, a niece of the poet, lived after her retirement as superintendant of St Gabriel’s Orphanage for girls.
7.    The buildings on the left of the old photograph of Ringwood Road were once the Verwood Stores, a bakery and grocery run by the Barrow family. The same buildings now house an off-licence and a convenience store.
8.    Verwood Station opened in 1866. With the Albion Hotel conveniently close, it soon became the hub of the village. It was even used by royalty, as it was the nearest station for the great houses at Cranborne, Wimborne St Giles and Crichel. However, it was closed in 1964, a victim of the Beeching Axe. The bridge which once carried the road over the railway can still be seen, but today the road runs in front of the pub, now called the Albion Inn.

[Archive photographs from Jill Coulthard and the Verwood Historical Society]

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