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The Blackwater Stream

This pub was originally named The Stepping Stones, after the broad stones which are said to have given the area its name.

180 Lower Blandford Road, Broadstone, Poole, Dorset, BH18 8DP

At the lower end of Broadstone’s main shopping street, these premises were built as a pub in 1979. In 2011, it was named by Wetherspoon after the stream which originally flowed across West Heath. In 1840, several large stones were laid across the Blackwater Stream to enable people to cross without getting wet. These broad stones are said to have given the area its name.

Photographs and text about The Blackwater Stream. 

The text reads: The Blackwater Stream is situated at the lower end of Broadstone’s main shopping street, on a corner plot with Ridgeway. The public house was opened in 1979 and named The Stepping Stones after the broad stones which are said to have given the area its name. In 1840 several large stones were laid across the Blackwater stream, near Brookdale Farm, to enable people to cross without getting their feet wet. One of the stones, said to be original, was displayed outside The Stepping Stones, but was stolen some time ago and had been replaced by a replica.

Brookdale Farm, built in the 1840s, was probably the second building to be built in the area, after the Albion Inn a little further up the road.

Settlement in the Broadstone area dates back to around 2000BC. At that time Broadstone was on the eastern edge of an Iron Age trackway that was the forerunner of a Roman Road. An ancient east west track passed through the Broadstone area, where it is recalled by Ridgeway, the thoroughfare alongside The Blackwater Stream. A map of the Broadstone area drawn in 1805 shows that it was sparsely populated – only a handful of cottages and smallholdings. The area was crossed by the toll (or privatised) road to Blandford, which ran along the line of the present day Lower and Higher Blandford Road. It was not called Broadstone at this time, but recorded on the map as ‘West Heath’. The old name survives in West Heath Road, a residential street off Ridgeway.

Top: Brookdale Farm, c1900
Above: Brookdale Farm, Broadstone’s oldest building.

A sonnet entitled The Stepping Stones, by William Wordsworth.

The text reads: From a series of sonnets to the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth, 1820.

The struggling rill insensibly is grown
Into a brook of loud and stately march,
Crossed ever and anon by plank or arch;
And, for like use, lo! what might seem a zone
Chosen for ornament,—stone matched with stone
In studied symmetry, with interspace
For the clear waters to pursue their race
Without restraint. How swiftly have they flown, Succeeding,—still succeeding! Here the child
Puts, when the high-swollen flood runs fierce and wild,
His budding courage to the proof; and here
Declining manhood learns to note the sly
And sure encroachments of infirmity,
Thinking how fast time runs, life’s end how near!

A painting and text about Augustus John.

The text reads: Augustus John, the leading British portrait painter of the early twentieth century, lived at nearby Alderney Manor, from 1910 until 1927. During his years at Alderney Manor he produced many of his best works. He painted the two great men of Dorset at this time, Thomas Hardy and TE Lawrence (of Arabia). He also drew inspiration from the Quay, at Poole harbour, where he is commemorated by a blue plaque.

He moved to Alderney with his model and second wife, Dorelia, where he dressed like a gypsy, with gold earrings, floppy hat and bushy beard, and created a gypsy style caravan encampment. He presided over a commune of like-minded friends in spacious grounds. He would come down from London at weekends with parties of friends, mostly drawn from the Bloomsbury set, including Lytton Strachey, Bertrand Russell and Wyndham Lewis. The Bloomsbury Group went on to design work at Poole Pottery.

Dorelia helped organise the children’s education and even designed and made their clothes which were strongly influenced by the gypsy culture they all admired.

Above: The Mumper’s Child – Augustus wrote that she belonged to a family of travellers who camped near Alderney Manor.

A painting entitled The Blue Pool.

Painted soon after moving to Alderney Manor, the Blue Pool of the title is the largest of several small lakes in the old clay-pits on Wareham Heath.

Photographs, illustrations and text about Poole Pottery.

The text reads: Over the years, Poole Pottery has produced and nurtured some of the UK’s outstanding ceramic visionaries and designers. The pottery has had an important role in the art and design movements of the 20th century and continues to be influential in the twenty first. Poole Pottery’s proud history of design and innovation includes many distinctive contributions to such periods and movements as the late Victorian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism.

Top left: Carter & Company catalogue, 1908
Top centre: The Goat, designed by Harold Stabler, 1927
Top right: Pattern book page showing designs by Truda Carter
Left: Wares with patterns designed by Truda Carter, c1918
Right: Tile mural, 1955, showing aspects of pottery making at Poole
Above: A selection from Poole Pottery’s Delphis range, c1968.

Illustrations and text about the stage coach route.

The text reads: Around 1800 the Broadstone area was called West Heath. It was sparsely populated with a handful of cottages and smallholdings in those days and crossed by the stage coach route, which had to beware of highwaymen in the deserted spaces.

Above: A stage coach at full pelt, c1815
Left: Passengers taking breakfast
Right: Passengers stranded by night taking shelter in a cottage.

A photograph, illustration and text about the Manor of Canford.

The text reads: The Broadstone area was part of the ancient Manor of Canford, inherited by Sir Ivor Guest, who was raised to the peerage in 1880 as Baron (Lord) Wimborne.

Canford Manor House was the home of Sir Ivor and Lady Cornelia. Sir Ivor inherited from his father Sir John Josiah Guest, owner of the world’s largest iron foundry, Dowlias Ironworks near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, which supplied the rail lines for the rapidly expanding railways in Great Britain, Russia, USA and Australia.

Lady Cornelia was the daughter of John Spencer Churchill and the aunt of Sir Winston Churchill. She and Sir Ivor were great benefactors to the Poole area. They were responsible for the erection of a village school in Broadstone (now Broadstone First School) and a church opposite. Sir Ivor also founded Broadstone and Parkstone golf courses and gifted 40 acres of land for a ‘People’s Park’. In Poole town centre he donated the land for the First Free Library and Mechanics Institute in Mount Street, which is now Wetherspoon’s Lord Wimborne freehouse.

Above: The Guest Family, outside Canford Manor. Seated on the right is Sir Ivor with his wife Lady Cornelia, and their children Henry, Frederick, Lionel and sisters Frances, Corisande, Elaine and Rosamond.
Right: A print dated to 1786 showing John of Gaunt’s kitchen which stood apart from the original manor house erected by the Earl of Salisbury. Food had to be carried to the main house. The Manor of Great Cranford is the only part of Poole mentioned in the Domesday Book Cheneford held by Edward of Sarisburie.

Photographs, an illustration and text about Cyril Carter.

The text reads: Cyril Carter of Poole Pottery lived at Yaffle Hill, Broadstone. The home, designed by Edward Maufe and completed in 1930, was built on the shoulder of the hill overlooking Broadstone giving views over Poole, its harbour and the Purbeck Hills.

Poole Pottery was founded by Cyril’s grandfather Jesse Carter. In 1873 Jesse, a builder’s merchant and ironmonger, bought a near derelict pottery in Poole. The pottery is still there today. There was a large deposit of clay just to the north of the town, and the harbour provided a means of transporting his goods out, and his fuel in. By the 1800s the factory was well known for its tiling products, mosaic flooring and advertising panels.

In 1901 Jesse Carter retired and handed over control of the potteries to two of his sons, Charles and Owen. In 1920, Charles Carter introduced Cyril, his son, to Harold Stabler, and Stabler introduced John Adams. In 1923 the company of Carter, Stabler and Adams was set up to produce ornamental and domestic pottery. With a lot of input from Truda Adams the new company introduced a range of hand decorated, bright and vivid designs.

After World War II, Cyril Carter had to re-build the company. He convinced the board of directors to invest in a new type of kiln in 1946, and by 1948 the factory was in almost full production again.

In c1964 Carter, Stabler and Adams became part of the Pilkington Group, and changed its name to Poole Pottery Limited. In 1992, after a management buy-out, Poole Pottery became an independent company again.

Top: Poole Pottery on East Quay, c1890
Above: Yaffle Hill, Broadstone
Left: 1896 Carter & Company advert in The Brickbuilder.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: