|We travel back in time to the year 1884. Queen Victoria was on the throne, still three years away from the golden jubilee of her reign.
Bournemouth as a town was beginning to develop with a population in 1884 of about 17,000. Winton was described in 1878 as “a hamlet in the parish of Holdenhurst” and in 1880 as “a small village situated on the Richmond Hill Road, with a population of about 1,400”
Cottages built at Winton in the late 1800’s cost £240 and were rented at about 5/-(25p) per week. In 1875 the village grew sufficiently to have its own branch Post Office at the corner of Castle Road and Wimborne Road. There was Winton farm situated at the junction of Jameson Road and Victoria Park Road, and what is now Withermoor Road was once a moorland track. In the 1800’s the village of Winton had a reputation for bad behaviour “heaving sods and throwing brickbats at passing strangers”, so it was said.
In an extract from a parish magazine, Winton was described thus: “Perhaps there is no other place in the world as Winton. So much care has been taken to study from a business point of view the precise wants and wishes of the working people as regards their houses. In the way of improvements there is a great deal to be done. The highroad needs to be leveled, the supply of drinking water terminates as through Peter’s Hill was too much for it. The drainage is still primitive and a local committee supplies oil lamps etc. The fire engine, like the water cart, is conspicuous by its absence”.
Towards the end of the 1890’s Winton had a selection of non-conformist meeting places such as the Christadelphian Hall in Crammer Road, and the Wesleyan Church opposite Calvin Road, to which places I shall refer later. In 1891 Winton was separated from Bournemouth by rough undeveloped land. It became an urban district in 1898 and part of Bournemouth in 1901. Public transport in the form of trams came to Winton some two years later. Children finished school around the age of 12.
It is difficult for us to visualise the conditions that existed over 100 years ago – no cars, no modern household appliances like fridges, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, microwave ovens, radio or T.V., hardly a telephone and lighting was mainly by candle or gas. There was no welfare state.
It was in these conditions that the Winton Ecclesia commenced.