Poole Merchant Venturers

Between 1580 and 1730 Poole grew: from a small town, the size of a large secondary school today (around 1400 people), by nearly three times.

By the end of the period Poole had reached something of a ‘hey-day’; a time when the local economy had transformed. The built form of much of what we know today as Old Town had been transformed too. Georgian times saw many fine buildings being built in the town, many still here and celebrated today. These changes, in large part, derived from the creation of businesses to do with the Cod fishing/ processing and trade, the Clay and Stone resources of the area and many other related activities. Trade with the Channel Islands was present throughout the period and coastal shipping activity grew significantly. International trade had also developed as the opening up of colonies in north America and the Caribbean had begun.

Wealthy families and dynasties resulted from these developments reflecting all of these activities. People who began as fishermen and ordinary seamen progressed to become captains and Masters of vessels and traders in their own right. Some early ones are covered in parts of our work. Others came later, as such businesses became more profuse and profitable in the C18th.

Poole’s Merchant Venturers
Author: Eddie Newcomb From small beginnings as a trading centre in pre-Christian times, Poole survived the fluctuations of history as a somewhat poor fishing and trading port, exporting produce such as wool to France and the Low Countries. When he visited the town in the early C16th John Leland, the Tudor topographer, noted that: ‘Poole (is) a poor fisher village. There be men alyve that saw almost all the town of Poole kyvered with segge …