Blue Plaques detailing Christchurch’s key landmarks and historical figures have been lovingly restored.
Founded by the Christchurch History Society and community members in 2000, the Blue Plaque Millennium Trail was designed to help visitors and residents discover more about the market town’s fascinating history and the people who helped shape the town. These include 19th Century MPs, former Mayors, Victorian artists, Georgian watch chain makers, church wardens, mercers and Lords of the Manor.
Over the last few months BCP Council, working with signage experts and the Christchurch History Society, has been renovating and refurbishing the nineteen distinctive blue plaques which are located throughout Christchurch from the Quay to the High Street to the Saxon Shopping Centre.
The restoration work was carried out by specialist company Complete Signs. Each plaque was carefully removed from its site, often a listed building, and then expertly restored and repainted to its original striking condition. They are now all back in place on the original Blue Plaque Millennium Trail.
Christchurch’s origins can be traced back to Saxon times and The Blue Plaques detail the town’s rich history.
On the wall of the current Waitrose building the discovery of a Saxon Cemetery is noted while the original Town Hall was constructed at Saxon Square in 1860.
Ye Olde George Inn (previously known as The George Inn and The George and Dragon) has its own plaque, noting its existence since 1630 while Number 11 Castle Street is the site of The Old Court House dating back to the 13th Century. It was owned by the medieval borough and is now managed by the modern day BCP Council.
The newly revived Blue Plaques can also be found on the ancient Place Mill at Christchurch Quay, on the grounds of the 11th Century Priory and at The Red House Museum (formerly the parish workhouse) and on iconic building, The Regent.
Councillor Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Culture and Vibrant Places at BCP Council says, “The Millennium Trail blue plaques give us a fascinating insight into Christchurch’s long and varied history and I am delighted that they have been cleaned up and refreshed! Thank you very much to everyone involved.”
The trail can be enjoyed in its entirety or in shorter walks. A popular route takes in sites around the historic quarter of The Priory including Church and Castle Streets and down Convent Walk, opened in June 1911 to commemorate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary.
The plaques are a great asset to the town of Christchurch depicting the incredible history we have and the need to preserve the information in as many ways we can for future generations.
Janet Burn, Archivist at The Christchurch History Society says, “The Blue Plaques are a great asset to the town of Christchurch depicting the incredible history we have while underlining the need to preserve this valuable information in as many ways we can for future generations.”
Other interesting Walking Trails in Christchurch include the Step back in Time photographic trail and the Christchurch BID managed trails on the Loyal Free App, which also includes great deals at local businesses.
More cultural trails are currently in the planning and are due to be released later this year. These will showcase the Blue Plaque Millennium Trail and other cultural gems that are waiting to be discovered around Christchurch.