A Short History of Highcliffe
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Many many thanks to Sheila Herringshaw for providing this. Sheila's work includes comprehensive histories of the village, and of the Methodist Church.
Her work is available in local shops.



THE VILLAGE OF HIGHCLIFFE (and contemporary events)

1773 Lord Bute commissioned the mansion, High Cliff to be built
1773 Boston Tea Party.
Captain James Cook became first to cross Antarctic Circle, and circumnavigate the continent (although he never saw land).
1776 American Declaration of Independence
1786 Smuggling was rife at this time. A letter from the Customs House in London, dated May 30th 1786 gives details of a landing by John Streeter of goods from the 'Civil Usage' lugger:
  • 100 small flasks of spirits marked 'F'
  • 8 tons of tea
  • 2-3,000 casks of spirits
1786 Davy Crockett born
Earliest County Hospital opened in Winchester
1794 Lord Butes mansion, High Cliff had to be demolished because of erosion by the cliffs. Only the two lodges remain
1794 Robespierre guillotined after Reign of Terror
1800 Mr James Penleaze purchased part of the High Cliff estate and built a modest house
1800 Britain becomes first nation to introduce national income tax
1830 Charles Stuart, Lord Stuart de Rothesay, bought back part of his grandfather's original Highcliffe estate and whilst in France purchased some beautiful ancient stonework and stained glass windows and shipped them across the Channel to build his retirement home on the Highcliffe estate. He employed the architect William Donthorne to design the house which is now known as Highcliffe Castle.

Captain Hopkins of Hoburne bought a field at Slop Pond on which he built about twenty houses (extending from the present Stanley Road westwards). The residents objected to the name Slop Pond so the name of the village was changed from Slop Pond to Newtown
1830 Employment Law limits 12-18 year olds to working only 12 hours a day
1837 John Spicer of Somerford Grange gave a field called Nundy Cole to the village, and a small lecture room was built there for the Newtown mission church. Written into the deeds was the clause that if the building was not used for divine worship for twelve months it was to be used as a school for the poor of the village
1837 Coronation of Queen Victoria
1838 A large ship the 'Herman Julius' 336 tons, was wrecked at Chuton (Chewton) Bunny.
Crew of 11 were saved, one was lost overboard before she struck. Bemister and Holloway purchased the wreck
1838 Final abolition of slavery in Britain and its colonies
1842 Miner's Act stopped women working down the mines
1843 The ecclesiastical parish of Highcliffe was formed out of those from Christchurch and Milton but the civil parish remained the same.
Lord Stuart de Rothesay gave the field, Lodge Close, which was close to the Castle gates on which to build a church for the villagers. St Mark's was consecrated in 1843 by Bishop Dr Sumner and cost 1,464.4s.3d
1843 Britain annexed Natal
1868 Mudeford sandbank extended along the coast beyond Highcliffe Castle creating a 'run' between it and the cliffs which sometimes froze during the winter making a natural ice rink for skaters
1868 Ulysses S Grant became President of USA
1869 An evening school for boys only between the ages of 13 years and 21 years was started by the schoolmaster. It was open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and the fee was 2d. a week
1869 Suez Canel opened
1873 School Log: Many children are unable to attend school for want of boots
1873 The typewriter introduced by Remington
1876 School Log: December 8th. At 11.30 the girls were marched from the school to Highcliffe Castle to each receive a red winter cloak
1876 Telephone invented by Graham Alexander Bell
1878 School Log: Several children are tapping for Sir George Meyrick
1878 Manchester United founded (as Newton Heath)
1880 School Log: Children absent at Bournemouth for the opening of the new pier
1880 The Eastman Kodak company was founded
1882 Lady Waterford established a milk shop 'a Temperance Lodge' in the village to encourage the inhabitants to drink milk instead of spirits. She painted the shop sign herself, a brown cow on an olive green grass background
1882 The mythical Ashes were created after England were beaten on home soil for the first time - by Australia.
1887 Queen Victoria's Jubilee was celebrated with nearly 320 parishioners sitting down to a substantial tea of bread, mutton, ham and shrimps, followed by races, swings and dancing, concluding with a firework display given by Mrs Stuart. Lady Waterford threw open the Castle grounds; over the gate was an evergreen arch with the words, 'God save the Queen'.

Lady Waterford gave the village the new hall, The Jubilee Reading Room, to commemorate the Queen's Jubilee. This later became the
Sports and Social Club
1887 Barnes Wallis born (later to develop the Bouncing Bomb)
1888 Typhoid Fever hits the village.
School Log: Several children away to see the opening of the new railway line at Hinton Station.

Class worked on paper instead of slates
1888 Jack the Ripper murdered 5 prostitutes in 3 months in the Whitechapel area
1889 The Prime Minister, Mr and Mrs Gladstone, stayed at Highcliffe Castle for the weekend
1889 The Eiffel Tower, designed by Gustave Eiffel, was opened for the Paris Exhibition
1890 Lady Waterford donated the money for the building of a house for the attendant to the Jubilee Reading Room
1890 First moving pictures created by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson
1891 School Log: September. The Free Education Act of 1891 came into force and the parents in our parish will no longer have to supply their children with pence when they send them to school on Monday mornings
1891 Free Education Act passed
1892 A petition was organised to change the name of the village as so many letters were going astray. The Post Office agreed that the name of the village should be changed to Highcliffe
1892 Liverpool Football Club founded
1897 The Civil Parish of Highcliffe was formed from part of Christchurch and part of Milton stretching along the shores of Christchurch Bay.

It contained 2,615 acres, of which 120 acres were covered by the tide
4 acres by inland waterways
141 acres were foreshore
896¾ acres of arable land
539¼ acres permanent grass
150 acres woodland and plantations
1897 Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
1899 Gordon Road became a public highway
1899 Vacuum cleaner patented by John S Thurman. It was petrol driven.
1900 February 17th. The supply of water to Highcliffe was completed, the water let into the mains on Wednesday
1900 Second olympic games held in Paris
Labour Party founded
Relief of Mafeking
First hamburger sold in Conneticut
1901 Queen Victoria dies, Edward VII becomes King
First Nobel prizes
1906 Highcliffe Parish Council discussed the intolerable nuisance of dust caused by motor cars passing at high speed through the village.

It was proposed to build a Parish Hall by public subscription and house-to-house collections were organised. The Hall, consisting of one room, a gas ring and a stand pipe, was built at a cost of 1,147.11.7d (This Hall was later to be used as a Public Library)
1906 Mrs Emily Pankhurst leads a delegation of suffragettes to meet the Prime Minister
Huge eathquake destroys much of San Francisco
Zulu revolt crushed
First transatlantic wireless signal sent by Marconi
1907 The German Emperor, The Kaiser, stayed at Highcliffe Castle for three weeks. It was well known that The Kaiser loved children. Before he left he gave a tea party for all the children of the village
1907 Boy Scouts movement established by Lord Baden Powell - on Brownsea Island
Plastic invented
1908 John Frampton gave a piece of land on which to build a Methodist Chapel (on the same site as the present church). The chapel was opened on Whit Monday by Miss Lassells of Winkton Lodge.
The total cost of the building was 683 14s 8d
1908 First Model T Ford was built
Electric washing machine invented
1913 Landslip at Chewton Bunny, about 40 yards of footpath disappeared.

Six garden seats were given by Mr Nethercliff to commemorate the King's Coronation and placed on the cliffs.

General Stuart Wortley invited a Mr Green to lay out a nine hole golf course on the Castle estate
1913 Louis Bleriot flies the English Channel
Henry Ford introduced first assembly line
1917 Highcliffe Parish Council became the Rat and Sparrow Destruction Committee offering
1/- for a rat head: 1d. for a sparrow's egg: 3d. for a fully fledged sparrow's head and 2d. for an unfledged sparrow's head
1917 Bolsheviks storm Winter palace to start Russian Revolution
The film Birth Of A Nation released
Balfour Declaration supports a Jewish homeland
USA finally declares war on Germany
1921 Lady Curzon Howe complained of charabancs using Hoburne Lane
1921 Irish Free State (Eire) founded
Communist Party formed in China
1922 Dowling Woodman of Gordon Road offered to collect old tins and such like, and dump them at a cost of 15/- a day. All rubbish to be left in a basket and placed in the road opposite the residence.

The Council accepted the gift of the Coronation Clock which was to be erected outside
Misselbrook and Weston's (now G&T)
1922 Insulin first used for diabetes treatment
1923 Re-formation of the Highcliffe Volunteer Fire Brigade - General Stuart Wortley offered to hand over the Fire engine which had been housed at Highcliffe Castle
1923 Unsuccessful Nazi uprising in Germany
The Great Gatsby released
Traffic signals introduced
1924 Street lighting was installed. It was to be extinguished by 10.30pm
1924 South Africa adopts Africaans as official language
1926 The cliff top was leased from General Stuart Wortley including the Tea House for 400 for the first 7 years with an option to purchase for 8,500
1926 Hirohito ascends throne of Japan
General Strike
Baird demonstrates the first television
1927 Freehold of the cliff top purchased

Wharncliffe Road made up.

The Golf Course was extended to 18 holes
1927 The Jazz Singer released with Al Jolson - the first talking movie
Lindberg flew The Atlantic
1929 Referendum held concerning the revision of local government areas showed:-
Highcliffe to amalgamate with Christchurch...........450
Highcliffe to amalgamate with New Milton................6
Highcliffe to remain a Rural Parish........................80
1929 The Wall Street Crash starts the Great Depression
Motorola
introduce the car radio
1930 The Enterprise Hall was built to cater for a variety of leisure time activities.
After World War ll the British Legion bought the Hall for their headquarters. The Hall was then demolished and Homecliffe House was built
1930 Frozen peas go on sale for the first time (from Clarence Birdseye)
Pluto discovered
1932 The present Recreation Ground purchased from General Stuart Wortley for 1,750

***** Brief items from the Parish Council Records.
The first Parish councillors were: Chairman: Rev Algenon Ryder: Ernest Bellairs, High
Castle estate manager: Horatio Ellwood, School Master: Albert Nugent, leased Beacon
Lodge: and William Surgon
1932 Sydney harbour Bridge opened
Broadcasting House opened
Three main Methodist groups in Britain came together to form present Church
Infamous Bodyline cricket tour to Australia
1934 School Log: October 21. Magic lantern show given by the headmaster, with the assistance of Mr Toms who provided electrical current from the engine in the school house
1934 Rearmament in Japan
Nylon invented
1937 School Log: November. Free milk scheme started for all children of school age
1937 Guernica in Spain destroyed by German bombs
Invented by Frank Whittle, the jet engine is first tested
1939 HIGHCLIFFE DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

The Highcliffe residents were very active during the War ably led by Mrs Violet Stuart Wortley of Highcliffe Castle. She encouraged everyone to work for The Cause, as she called the War. Whether it was knitting comforts for the troops, caring for the wounded or ensuring the safety of the people of Highcliffe.

A corps of the Local Defence Volunteers or Long Dentured Veterans, as Mrs Stuart Wortley called them, was formed.

First Aid Posts were set up at The Ridings School, Bure Lane, Wood Lea, Shelly Hill, Whitbury, Seaview Road, Friars Cliff, Woodmanton, Avenue Road, and St Mark's Hall (which was also to be used as a Gas Cleansing Post).
There were Rest Centres at Highcliffe Men's Club, Highcliffe Hall, and Cranemoor Chapel.

Extracts from the 'Air Raid Precaution Log'
9.9.40
6 bombs dropped on Chewton Common. 3 bombs on Hoburne
16.1.41
Unexploded bomb at Steamer Cottage
19.6.41
LDV reported two small boats making for Steamer Point
8.7.41
Incendiary bombs dropped at Hoburne, Verno and Saulfland
24.4.42
Machine gun fire from enemy plane over Highcliffe Golf Course
8.5.43
Bomb dropped at Woolhayes, 300 yards from the House, crater 15ft
wide and 4ft deep
30.4.44
Reported parachute landing at Hoburne House
Thunderbolt aircraft crash landed in the school playground.
12.8.44
Unexploded AA shell on Highcliffe beach

After the War, Mrs Stuart Wortley felt that the inhabitants of Highcliffe should be officially thanked for their patriotic devotion. She invited to the Castle representatives of those who had shown the 'Highcliffe spirit'. Her son-in-law, Lord Abingdon officially thanked the people of Highcliffe for their efforts.
Amongst the celebrations the 24 men and one nursing sister who died on active service were not forgotten
1939 Germany invade Poland and start WW II
Gone With The Wind released
Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany
1940 The western part of the Castle estate was bought by the Ministry of Defence. The Signals Research and Development Establishment (SRDE) arrived, and Steamer Point became the centre for research topics in communications
1940 Liner QE II completes secret maiden voyage, and anchors off New York's Staten Island
Battle of Britain
Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls published
Colour television introduced
1941 School Log: February. First treatment of diphtheria was given to 47 children by
Dr Parker Williams
1941 Pearl Harbour bombed and USA finally joins the war
Orsen Wells' Citizen Kane released
First aerosol can introduced (used for insecticide)
1945 The school was fitted with electricity and two dances were held in the Parish Hall to raise money to purchase a master wireless with loudspeakers for each classroom.
After the war there was a need for quickly available housing. In Highcliffe this need was met by the Pre-Fab village which sprang up at the end of Gordon Road
1945 USA drops atomic bombs on Japan
Constitution for United Nations established
Microwave oven introduced
1949 Before Highcliffe Castle was sold outside the Stuart family, the Golf Club members purchased the course from the Castle estate
1949 Peace alliance known as NATO formed
Lego invented
1950 The first Highcliffe resident to be elected to the office of Mayor of Christchurch was Mrs Wallis-Power
1950 Stone of Scone stolen from Westminster Abbey by Scottish Nationalists
Diners Club introduce first credit card
1952 A second Highcliffe resident, Mr Kenneth Ashcroft, was elected Mayor of Christchurch
1952 BOAC starts first jet passenger services
Polio vaccine introduced
First hydrogen bomb detonated
1953 Highcliffe celebrated the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth with dancing, torchlight procession and fireworks
1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
Everest conquered by Hillary and Tensing
1958 The Ministry of Education decided upon a major building programme. A new two-form entry Junior School to be built on part of the Woolhayes estate
1958 Sir Christopher Cockeral introduces the hovercraft
NASA founded
The first modem introduced by Bell
1962 For many years the Selfridge graves in St Mark's graveyard had been unattended and become unkempt. As a result of an approach made by the Vicar, Messrs Selfridge agreed to make an annual payment for the maintenance of the graves
1962 Cuban missile crisis
1963 The new Methodist Church was dedicated on June 19th by the Chairman of the Southampton District of the Methodist Church, Rev R.G.Stonham.

The new Highcliffe County Primary School was formally opened by Mr J.H.Cordle M.P.
1963 Martin Luther King gives his "I have a dream... " speech to civil rights workers
President Kennedy assasinated in Dallas
First Beatles album - Please Please Me
1965 In May, Highcliffe resident Councillor Mrs I.A.Stevenson was elected Mayor of Christchurch.

The new building of Highcliffe Men's Club was opened by the Mayor, Councillor Mrs Stevenson
1965 Mods and Rockers converge on seaside resorts
First spacewalk - Alexel Leonov
Many new inventions, including portable video camera, BASIC (computer language), telephone calls via satellite, soft contact lenses
1969 The Roman Catholic Church, the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Kilmington Way was opened and dedicated by the Bishop of Portsmouth.

The Scout Hut in Chewton Common Road was opened , the land being leased from the Meyrick estate for a peppercorn rent
1969 First Moon landing
Concord's first flight
Woodstock rock festival in New York State
Arpanet lauched - it became the Internet
1973 Highcliffe Friends in Need was started with volunteer telephone co-ordinators on
duty each morning to take requests for help and then arrange for volunteers to help
1973 Government gave go-ahead for Channel Tunnel
OPEC countries triple oil prices
Military takeover in Greece
1975 Highcliffe Bowling Club was formed and the Club house opened by the Mayor of Christchurch, Councillor John Morgan
1975 Russians and Americans shook hands in space
Laser printing introduced
1977 Christchurch Borough Council purchased the Grade l listed building, Highcliffe Castle for 65,000. The grounds to be preserved as an open space with access to the beach
1977 Red Rum won Grand national for record third time
First democratic elections in Spain for over 40 years
First neutron bomb developed
First deisel cars introduced
1981 Councillor Mrs I. Stevenson was honoured by the award of honorary freeman of the Borough of Christchurch.

Greystones to be used by the Highcliffe Community Association
1981 IBM introduced the first personal computer
Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer
Columbia - the first space shuttle - launched
AIDS virus identified
1983 A new club house was opened at Highcliffe Golf Club. The new club house was paid for by the 350 members of the Golf Club.

A purpose built Day Care Centre for the Borough of Christchurch was opened on the site of the old school in Lymington Road
1983 First wheel clamps used - in Kensington, Chelsea, and Westminster
US troops invade Grenada, a Commonwealth country
First computer virus created
1985 The Christchurch Housing Association built a large nursing home in Highcliffe, Silverways, at a cost of one million pounds
1985 Live Aid - the worlds biggest rock concert - raised money for the starving in Africa
DNA fingerprinting introduced
1986 Heila House, a large new medical centre for the Highcliffe Group Practice was
built at 248, Lymington Road
1986 Nuclear disaster at Chernobyl causes radio active clouds over much of Europe
President Marcos flees Philippines
First trans world non stop flight
1987 A disastrous hurricane badly damaged the roofs of the old people's flats at Greystones
1987 USA and USSR agree to eliminate nuclear weapons
World stock markets prices crash
1990 A young man lost control of his car and drove into the Crow's Nest on the cliff top
causing irreparable damage to the café
1990 East and West Germany reunited
Iraq invades Kuwait, triggering the Gulf War
1994 Major restoration of Highcliffe Castle was assured with a grant of 2.6 million from the Lottery Fund
1994 Channel Tunnel opened by the Queen and President Mitterand
Labour leader John Smith died suddenly
Nelson Mandela because first black president of South Africa
1999 The Highcliffe Stables Community Trust tried to save the one hundred year old stable block at The Globe as an exhibition centre for the community but poor construction and lack of funds made it impossible.

Christchurch Council applied and obtained a licence to hold wedding ceremonies at the Castle. In 1999 there were 6 weddings. In 2003 the number was 120 weddings
1999 NATO brokers Kosovo peace talks, and supplies peacekeeping force
Total eclipse of the sun visible from parts of the UK
Many casualties in Paddington train crash
2002 Highcliffe Residents Association submitted an application for Village Green Status for the Highcliffe cliff top so that the general public would continue to have access. This was later turned down by Christchurch Council and Dorset County Council
2002 Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee
Queen Mother dies
2003 Stuart Lodge Hotel in Waterford Road was demolished to be replaced by a block of flats.

The Council fails in it's bid for more lottery money for the next stage of restoration work on Highcliffe Castle.

Highcliffe holds a Christmas Festival. Organised by the Residents Association, it is the first for eleven years. The main street, Lymington Road, is closed for the three hour Festival.
2003 England win Rugby World Cup, beating holders Australia in Australia to become the first Northern hemisphere country to become champions
2004 March - Christchurch Borough Council aquired the woodland (now called Rothesay Wood) between Steamer Point Nature Reserve and Highcliffe Castle. This allowed the creation of a footpath, and the completion and opening of the Christchurch Coastal Path, a continuous path from Mudeford Quay to Chewton Bunney.

Highcliffe Market site closed by the landlord, who was seeking planning permission to develop the land

December - Despite strong objections from the public, and from Highcliffe Residents Association, builders McCarthy & Stone had the rejection of their plans to develop Sea Corner site overturned on appeal. The plans include flats and a Tesco Express store.
2004 April - Israel announces that it will unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
December - Enormous tsunami devastates huge areas of Southern Asia, with at least 225,000 people killed.
2005 March - Travellers were evicted from the cliff top car park, leaving huge amounts of rubbish for the Council to clean up.
July - A Picnic Lunch was held on the school field to commemorate the closure of St Mark's Infant School and Highcliffe Junior School, and the creation of the new Highcliffe St Mark's Primary School.
October - The Mayor, Councillor Josephine Spencer officially opened the new Zig Zag path from The grounds of Highcliffe Castle to the beach below. The wheelchair friendly path replaced an old and dangerous unpaved footpath.
2005 February - British sailor Ellen McCathy completes a circumnavigation of the planet. It took 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes, and 33 seconds.
April - Pope John Paul dies.
July - England's cricket team beat Australia to regain the Ashes in a very exciting and hard fought series.
July - In a coordinated terrorist attack, four bombs were exploded on London's tube trains and buses.