HistoryIn 1766, Edmund Bott had a Georgian mansion built to the east of Pokesdown village, commanding views of Christchurch Harbour and he named it Stourfield House. One of the most celebrated inhabitants of Stourfield House was Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Stourfield House later became a care home, looking after servicemen who had been injured in the Great War. Today only the front steps survive, leading to a block of flats in Douglas Mews, and marked by a Blue Plaque.Southbourne also had a short-lived pier . It was constructed in 1888 at a cost of £4,000 and was 300 feet long. There were regular boat-trips between the pier at Southbourne and the pier at Bournemouth. Unfortunately the pier, promenade and nearby sea wall built by Dr.Compton (to rival the resort at Bournemouth) were heavily damaged by storms in December 1900 and January 1901. A buyer for the pier was unable to be found and it was eventually demolished in 1909 due to concerns about public safety.TodayThe main area of Southbourne is Southbourne Grove, a long shopping street that has some unique and individual shops rather than high street chain shops. Shops include a butcher, a bakery, numerous cafés, hairdressers, convenience stores, homewares, gift shops, the post office, and many estate agents.Further along towards Hengistbury Head is Southbourne Crossroads. At this crossroads are a public house,(now closed) used car dealership,(now a bed shop) a surf shop, a café, hairdressers and news agent.For activity in the local area Seafield Gardens, which has held the prestigious Green Flag Award since 2001, offers bowls, tennis and features a watertower. One tourist feature of Southbourne is the Fisherman's Walk Cliff Railway, a funicular railway between the clifftop coastal road and the promenade and beach. This provides very easy access to Southbourne's Blue Flag beach, from which it is possible to reach the beaches at Boscombe and Bournemouth.Southbourne is still a busy area for tourists keen to escape the busier areas of Bournemouth town centre, the number of guest houses and new build apartment buildings in the area has grown in recent years. Many apartment blocks such as Blue Waters have developed into self catering holiday lets open all year round.The easternmost part of the area is called Hengistbury Head.