Hello! Our parish was established in 1969. Before that, the area was served from Sacred Heart, Richmond Hill, Bournemouth. Because it is such a young Parish there have been just six Parish Priests, namely:
1969 –1977 (8 yrs) Rev. Fr. B Vella S.J.
1977 (1 yr) Rev. Fr. M Eady
1977-1987 (10 yrs) Rev. Fr. W J MacDonald
1987-1992 (5 yrs) Rev. Fr. Spencer
1992-2010 (18 yrs) Rev. Fr. James McAuliffe
2010- Rev. Fr. Bill Wilson
1886: ASSEMBLY ROOMS
Our church building itself, however, has been in existence far longer. It was built as Assembly Rooms, later named ‘Victoria Hall’ in 1886, by Henry Joy. Earlier that year, Henry had also built the arcades in Westbourne and Bournemouth.
1889: ANGLICAN CHURCH
In 1889, the building was acquired by a Rev. George Morris to hold services for members of the Church of England. Rev. Morris had hoped to rename the building ‘The Church of The Holy Spirit’ but, not able to obtain a licence from the Bishop of Winchester, had to settle for ‘St Nathaniel’.
In 1907 a license was finally granted and it was renamed ‘Christ Church’. Then in 1913 the growing C of E congregation moved to a newly built church in Alumhurst Road and the building took on a new life as ‘Andrews’ Fruit Market’.
1928: ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Meanwhile, local Roman Catholics had been gathering for Mass in a small chapel–of–ease in nearby Middle Road. In 1928, they bought the market and had it converted back into a church. Since then, it has been known as ‘The Church of Our Lady Immaculate’. The distinctive arched entrance, and semi circular gates of the church were added in 1955, to the design of Alan Stewart & Gordon Sutcliffe Architects.
The arrival of Fr. Bill Wilson in 2010 has seen many radical changes to our church infrastructure. In particular, new organ, sound system, heating and lighting, and the total refurbishment of our previously derelict church hall, (including a lift and catering facilities). The Hall is now named ‘Fr. Vella Hall‘ in memory of our first Parish Priest. Additionally, we have become home to the beautiful stone and marble font that previously lived in Westbourne Methodist Church (now Tesco Express!).