Over the years Bournemouth has been home to some world-famous people, from sports stars to Hollywood actors, scientists, writers, poets and more. As a fairly well-known British town in itself, with a reputation for good weather and historic appeal, its no wonder that many of the rich and famous have been tempted to move to the area. Some of the stars on this list were even born here – true local heroes then.
Kicking off the list is this legendary tennis champion of the 1940s and 50s, who was born in Bournemouth in 1945. However, at the age of one the Wade family moved to Durban in South Africa – and Bournemouth could have forever been just a footnote in her career. However, 15 years later the family moved back home, and it is here that she launched her professional tennis career in spectacular fashion. When the West Hants Tennis Club hosted the British Hard Court Open in 1968, it was young Virginia Wade that would take the star turn in the women’s tournament.
Wade went on to four Grand Slam singles titles and three doubles titles in an illustrious career that would only finish in 1986. To this day she remains the last English woman to win a Grand Slam title.
Dame Jane Goodall
This internationally renowned zoologist and primate researcher was actually born in London in 1934 – but moved to Bournemouth at a very young age, where she has lived almost ever since. That is, when she’s not travelling the world as one of the foremost experts on chimpanzees and general primate behaviour.
Jane’s career began, by many accounts, at age one – when she was given a toy chimpanzee from London Zoo by her father. That started a lifelong passion for the unique creatures, which has led her to star in award-winning documentaries, write books and even spend years living near and with chimps in sanctuaries in Kenya and Tanzania. Now a Dame of the British Empire at age 85, Jane still only lives for a few months a year in her childhood home in the Westbourne area of town.
Although he was born in South Africa and spent most of his life living and working in Oxford, Tolkien and Bournemouth do have many strong connections. The iconic Lord of the Rings and Hobbit author spent many summers vacationing here, where he and his wife would take the same room at the Hotel Miramar. By all accounts, he may have even got a lot of his writing done in Bournemouth too – seeing as the hotel provided him with a separate writing room.
During the late 60s, when JR’s literary fame had caught up with him in Oxford, the Tolkiens moved to Bournemouth permanently. It was here that Edith would pass away, in 1971. A distraught JR moved back to Oxford for a while – but while visiting friends in Bournemouth less than a year later, he would also fall ill and die himself. Who knows what influence the town had on the works of this absolutely legendary author, who is beloved by millions across the world even today?