Friday, June 24, 2011

Bournemouth Culture

I am slightly surprised (am I really?  No, I'm not actually) that Bournemouth makes so little of its culture as a way of attracting visitors and as a way of intriguing residents.  Bournemouth has long been trying to free itslf of the drunken stag and hen night image, why not put some energy into promoting its culture.  Here for example (reprinted from Wikipaedia so take it as you like) is a short list of literary associations.

Bournemouth appears as Sandbourne in Thomas Hardy's novels. Tess lived in Sandbourne with Alec d'Urberville, and the town also features in The Well-Beloved and Jude the Obscure. It is also mentioned in So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish, the fourth book of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. In James Herbert's horror novel The Fog, the entire population of Bournemouth runs into the sea and drowns in a mass suicide. In Andy McDermott's thriller The Secret of Excalibur, a car chase through the town centre and beach front leads to the destruction of the IMAX Cinema. It is also mentioned in Roald Dahl's The Witches as the setting for the Hotel Magnificent.

The Grave of writer Mary Shelley and her parents including Mary Wollstonecraft in St. Peter's Church, Bournemouth.
J.R.R. Tolkien, the writer, spent 30 years taking holidays in Bournemouth, staying in the same room at the Hotel Miramar, with a second room to write in. He eventually retired to the area in the 1960s with his wife Edith.[13] Tolkien died in September 1973 at his home in Bournemouth and was buried in Oxfordshire.[14]
Mary Shelley, the writer and novelist is buried in St. Peter's Church, her son Sir Percy having settled at Boscombe Manor. Also buried at St Peter's is the heart of Mary's husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, brought back from Italy, and her parents William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, their remains having been moved there from St Pancras Old Church.[15]
The town was especially rich in literary associations during the late nineteenth century and earlier years of the twentieth century. Oscar Wilde and Paul Verlaine both taught at Bournemouth preparatory schools. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and most of his novel Kidnapped from his house "Skerryvore" on the west cliff. Count Vladimir Chertkov established a Tolstoyan publishing house with other Russian exiles in Iford Waterworks at Southbourne, and under the 'Free Age Press' imprint, published the first edition of several works by Tolstoy, however the author himself never visited the town.
In Peter Weir's highly acclaimed 1975 film adaptation of Joan Lindsay's enigmatic 1968 novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, bygone holidays at Bournemouth are wistfully recalled by Mrs. Appleyard (played by Rachel Roberts), headmistress of Mrs. Appleyard's College for Girls, in Australia.