In 1875 Fairwoode was one of nine small
hamlets of Cranborne the population of the nine was 2,562.
The principal landowners of the whole were the Marquis of Salisbury, also Lord of the Manor, the Earl of Shaftesbury,
Normanton, H. F. Brouncker, esq., W. Fryer esq. and G.
Churchill, esq.The occupations
of people in Verwood recorded in 1875 were:-
one coal merchant at Heath
one farmer and miller;
one bricklayer and
the proprietor of the Albion
Hotel adjoining Verwood Station
The 1886 record shows a slightly
different picture of occupations. There was a station
master, and an omnibus ran twice daily from Verwood station
to Cross Keys Inn (on Holt Common) where there was an agency
for the London
and South Western Railway Company. Other occupations
one brick manufacturer,
one rate collector,
one proprietor of the Albion
one postmaster-shop keeper -
In 1890 there were:-
two blacksmiths and
In 1891 the village was recorded as
having a population of 1,191.
1894 was the year in which Verwood became a
Civic Parish; the Local
Government Board transferring it from Cranborne. It included
then and still does, Three
The 1895 records show that :-
"The parish is in the Eastern
Division of the county hundred of Cranborne, the petty
sessional division and county court district of Wimborne,
Wimborne and Cranborne Union, the Rural deanery of
Pimperne, Archdeaconryy of Dorset and diocese of
The principal landowners at that
the Earl of Normanton of
Sir Frederick W. Rolls Fryer
K.C.S.J. of Government House Rangoon, J.P. Lord of the
The occupations recorded in 1895
two earthenware dealers,
one general dealer,
one coal merchant,
one game keeper,
one shopkeeper-beer retailer
"There was a conveyance from Verwood
Station to the Victoria
in Cranborne twice daily."In
1895 the sub-post master was permitted to deal with Money
Orders It is supposed that until then the villagers had to
go to Cranborne when they needed money orders.
The occupations recorded in 1915
show an increase in craftsmen, they are:-
two earthenware dealers;
two brick makers,
two besom makers,
one saddler and
one higgler (hawker).
Gotham Brick and Tile. Company
is mentioned for the first time in this record, as is the St. Gabriel's Home
for waifs and strays.
The population of Verwood in 1921 had risen
to 1,217 and in the following year West Moors
became a separate ecclesiastical parish.
Kelly's directory of 1927 shows the
first record of a County Police Constable in Verwood,
Constabulary Register of Bad Characters dates back to 1862,
and contains signatures of a Verwood Constable.
There was one pottery at the
crossroads (Now the Verwood Heathlands Heritage Centre).
The principal products of the
village during these years were bricks, earthenware and
besom brooms. Some higglers or hawkers took their garden
produce to Ringwood or Wimborne markets or into Bournemouth.
higgler made the journey to until 1952.Other higglers
travelled with horses and waggons containing earthenware and
besoms over various routes.Some travelled to Mere and Portland
and others to
Basingstoke, to which a railway van had been
sent from Verwood Station with fresh supplies for the return
journey across country.One gentleman in Verwood remembers travelling with
his grandfather, leaving the village at
and travelling through the higgler made the journey
The earliest record of an
earthenware dealer Is to be found in the
accounts of 1731/2 "half load of earthenware Mr.
Lawrence of Verwood.....6d". This entry refers to
cartage of earthenware from Verwood to
Until 1910 Verwood bricks were taken to the
surrounding villages by horse and waggon, the number of
bricks per load depending on the size and capability of the
horse. Some horses could pull 350-400 bricks. After 1910 the
bricks, tiles and pipes were transported by Foden's steam lorries and could be distributed farther afield.
Apart from one, the potteries
closed as the result of galvanised zinc pans being produced
and because of the village men being called up to serve in
the 1914--1918 war.
The second world war contributed to
the closure of the brickyards, partly because the men served
in the war and also because the kilns could not have been
fired at night, as there was the danger of their firelight
being seen by enemy aircraft.
the 1920s the village began to take on its present form.In 1921 the village
had its first doctor. Dr. Gerling, who held his surgeries at
the Restyng House. Until then the villagers went to the
Cranborne Doctor at Cranborne, and the Church had a
wheelchair for loan to the villagers. The surgery was then
transferred to a house on which Lloyds bank now stands and
after Dr Pearson it moved to a surgery further down Manor
Road which has since been demolished and replaced by flats.
The surgery then moved to its current site on Station Road.
The Cranborne surgery have also since build an additional
surgery in Lake Road.
In the 1920's there was an
increase of shops, builders and decorators, two banks, a
butcher and a florist. With regard to social activity
it was recorded that there was a Tennis Club, Working Men's
Institute, cricket and football clubs.
The Hants and Dorset Bus Company
was, by this time running a bus service linking Verwood with
Ringwood, Wimborne and
. Until then people had relied on the train service or
horsedrawn vehicles or, when it was necessary to take cattle
to market in Wimborne or Ringwood, it was a case of driving
them on foot. The railway closed under the Beeching axe of
The advent of the motor car really
changed the character of Verwood; the original village
industries gradually died out for reasons previously
mentioned and people could travel out of the village for
The population of Verwood in 1952
was given as 2,296. Many council houses have been built
since then to enable families to remain in the village.
Small industries have been encouraged to the area, several
making use of existing sites.
A paint factory was established in
1945 on the site of an old brickyard (Blackhill - Currently
Bradfords Building Supplies), and a mushroom farm was in
production on the site of the station brickyard in 1946.
This was demolished and a factory making prefabricated
buildings established in its place (Lessors Buildings) has
also been demolished with housing replacing it. A radiator
factory (Stelrads) was in production near the paint factory
but this has now closed, though the social club still
exists. The main industrial centre in Verwood is now mainly
situated on the Ebblake Industrial Estate.
Thorne's sawmills was situated in
Dewlands Road just off
on the edge of Dewlands Common. This began during the
War when a farmer at Romford Farm saw the need for pit
props to be used as trench props during the fighting in
France. So began a thriving business in an area of
woodlands. At the same time the farmer bought two traction
engines, and found a considerable amount of work at the
Blandford army camp. This lead to a successful haulage and
threshing business alongside the sawmill.The threshing
trade has come to an end with the. advent of the
combine-harvester, but the saw mill continued to flourish
until recently with the wood being hauled by road. The Dewlands Road site
has now been closed and is now a housing estate and the
business has now been transferred to Three Legged Cross. In
1968 one hurdle maker remained with the firm, and
stacks of hurdles and faggots could still be seen awaiting
delivery to other parts of the south.
As the soil of Verwood is sandy, it
is not surprising that there are sandpits south of Stephen's
Castle. Sand was dug from here from 1908 taken by horse and
cart to Verwood Station and transported by rail. In latter
years it was hauled be a fleet of lorries.These sandpits
are now closed and recently the public have been forbidden
entry as the site had been illegally occupied by
gypsies with the inevitable fouling of the area.
The population of Verwood in 1968
was 3,480. It would be difficult to record a list of
occupations of the village people as so many go from the
village daily to Ringwood,
Bournemouth, Wimborne and even further afield.
There are also many retired people living in the village.
The following list shows the types
of occupations in Verwood in 1968.
Saw Mill Prefabricated
3 Grocers - 1 with an
1 Post office
2 hardware shops,
1 off licence
2 Public Houses
1 tea rooms
1 cafe and grocer
1 coal merchant
1 electrical shop
1 pet shop
1 shoe shop
1 fish- shop
1 newsagent & toys
1 fencing maker
1 wrought iron smith
1 besom maker
4 painters & decorators
3 electrical contractors
2 driving schools
2 car hire businesses.
In 1968 the village had two
resident doctors and several Ringwood doctors attended
patients in the village. There was also a resident District
Nurse and Welfare Nurse. Currently there are two surgeries
with a number of doctors in each along with physiotherapy
and other services being available.
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