Ensbury Park takes its name from the Saxon hamlet of Ensbury, a separate area altogether which lay a mile or so to the north. This hamlet, just east of Kinson, has now been more or less subsumed into the postwar suburb of Northbourne but in the first half of the twentieth century, Ensbury Manor and Ensbury Farm constituted the borders of what later became the Ensbury Park district. In the 1920s Ensbury Park boasted a racecourse, which also served as an aerodrome. For several years it was known as “Bournemouth Aerodrome” and was the venue for Air Race Meetings, though a series of fatal crashes at the Whitsun meet in 1927 led to its decline and eventual sale for housing development. Much of the land associated with Ensbury Farm was sold off for housebuilding in the 1930s: the vending agents were A. J. Abbott & Sons, who coined the name 'Ensbury Park' for their new development.
The district was incorporated into the County Borough of Bournemouth in 1931, having theretofore been part of the Poole Rural District. The main road through the area at that time was Columbia Road which remains the principal route through the district, also nowadays connecting the Boundary Lane one-way system to Kinson Road.
Slade's Farm and Slade's Farm Road
A renewed spate of housebuilding took place in the 1970s when Bournemouth Borough Council purchased Slade's Farm, south of Columbia Road, following an increased demand for low-cost housing in the borough. This was one of the last areas of agricultural land within the Bournemouth boundary. The farm dated back to about 1850 and was originally known as Talbot Farm, taking its name from Talbot Village, the model settlement further east; Slade was a later tenant. There had been some modernization of the farm over the years - in 1945 the trustees of the Talbot estate, who owned the freehold, applied for planning permission for a 'milk cooling shed' there - but by the 1960s the entire site had fallen out of use.
When Bournemouth Council eventually purchased the land, proposals were drawn up for around 400 new dwellings ranging from bedsits for the elderly to three-bedroomed houses, the nucleus of which would be the newly-cut Slade's Farm Road. An additional development around this time was Slade's Farm Secondary School, catering for children with special educational needs: this opened in September 1975.
As for Slade's Farmhouse, this was given Grade II listed status when the abovementioned developments began, but having failed to find a use for the building - and in view of its condition, after many years of non-occupation - the council applied to the Department of the Environment to have it demolished in November 1975. Demolition followed two years later, along with further development of the Columbia Road frontage. Some idea of the property may be had from the neighbouring Lollipop Farm House, also listed, which survives in Columbia Road as a result of a comprehensive repair programme in the 1980s, where the original materials of the property were put to fresh use.
Facilities municipal and temporal
Ensbury Park has three churches which serve the local residents:
- St. Thomas' Parish Church
- St. Bernadette's Catholic Church (this was the first church in the world to be dedicated to the French visionary saint)
- Ensbury Park Methodist Church
There are four schools in the area:
- Winton Arts & Media College (formerly Winton Boys' School), Winton Way
- Glenmoor School, Beswick Avenue (girls)
- Kingsleigh Primary School, Hadow Road (mixed)
- Hillview Primary School (mixed)
There is a community centre in Ensbury Avenue that is part of a complex which also comprises an adult aducation/teachers’ centre. There is also a small library in Columbia Road which is in fact the smallest in the borough. The area is covered by Redhill Fire Station in Redhill Avenue, approximately 100 yards from The Ensbury Park.
Bournemouth Transport operate a bus service through the area which runs along the main Columbia Road. There is a new service operated by Wilts and Dorset, that is routed through Ensbury Park, to Poole.
Landmarks and buildings
One of the most conspicuous buildings in the district is The Ensbury Park public house which is on the corner of Columbia Road and Boundary Road. This started life as The Ensbury Park Hotel, planning permission for which was granted by Poole Rural District Council on 15 December 1924.
The building, with its neo-Georgian design elements, echoes 'Ensbury Manor' which included a genuine Georgian wing, and which dominated Ensbury Village for several centuries until being demolished in 1936.
In October 2015 the ground floor of building was taken over by the Co-Op and the rest became flats, However, the iconic Ensbury Park Hotel sign remains on the building.
Ensbury Park had in the past a selection of shops, mainly along Columbia Road, though these have predominantly become private dwellings. A small selection of local convenience stores remains around the main junction of Columbia Road.
This area remains a popular choice for home buyers due to its being a relatively quiet locale. There are recreational facilities nearby such as Redhill Park which has tennis courts, bowling green, outdoor paddling pool, cafe and a playground. Facilities for football, cricket, skateboarding etc., are also available at Slade's Farm Recreation Ground.
On 10 September 2010 Bournemouth Borough Council announced that work would start on a new Olympic size community cycle track at Slade's Farm. The track opened as the Bournemouth Cycling Centre in June 2011, allowing the entire community to enjoy activities including competitive cycle training and racing, learning to ride a bike, cycling for exercise, in-line skating and running.
- S. J. Lands, Old Kinson (Bournemouth Local Studies Publications, 1972).
- Ensbury Park at hurnairport.co.uk; retrieved 10 April 2017
- M. Stead, The Leybourne Estate (Bournemouth Local Studies Publications, 1989).
- 'School Built 10 Months Ahead of Schedule', Evening Echo, Bournemouth, 4 March 1975.
- M. Gillett, Talbot Village: A Unique Village in Dorset, 1850-1989 (Bournemouth Local Studies Publications, 1989), p. 33.
- Town Planning and Buildings Committee meeting, 22 March 1945; in Bournemouth Council minute-book (1 November 1944 - 1 May 1945), p. 494.
- 'Focus on a New Community', Evening Echo, Bournemouth, 13 January 1976.
- '£106,000 School Finished Ahead of Schedule', The Bournemouth Times, 27 September 1975.
- 'This is Last View of Slade's Farm', The Bournemouth Times, 19 March 1976.
- Gillett (op. cit., p. 34).
- Listed Building Book, Volume A-G, Planning Department, Bournemouth Borough Council, 1991
- Deposit no. 27034, Bournemouth Borough Council planning office.
- "Construction starts on Slades Farm cycle track". Bournemouth Borough Council. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2010.