The Eventide Homes (Registered Charity no. 202516) was founded as an almshouse charity in 1935 by the then Mayor of Bournemouth, Alderman J R Edgecombe. Cllr. Edgecombe became increasingly aware of the growing number of cases of extreme hardship in the area. This was particularly so amongst ladies, who through no fault of their own were left homeless and without adequate means of support. In 1933 he was elected as Mayor, an office which he held for three years and it was during this time that Cllr. Edgecombe envisaged a community of small villas where the needy could find security in the latter part of their lives.
Cllr Edgecombe made an appeal though the local press seeking support for his venture which was met with generous support. At this time another local appeal was to be launched for an extension to the Royal Victoria and West Hants hospital, Shelley Road, Boscombe and the Governors were persuaded to make a joint appeal. This also commemorated the Silver Jubilee of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary. The appeal was launched at a public Mayoral Dinner at Bournemouth's Pavilion on the 7th November, 1934.
A suitable location was provided by the generosity of the Cooper Dean family on Castle Lane and included payment for three homes. By the 15 July 1936 the first two blocks had been completed and were ready for occupation. In 1952 plots in Hastings Road were purchased for two further blocks of homes and an upper-storey was added to a single storey block. Finally a two-storey building on the end of a block was built in 2000. This provided one more home and a guest room for visitors, the Edgecombe Room.
The Homes are a striking testimony to the Architect, Philip Hardy, whose work is a testimony of skill. Philip Hardy was married to Ethel Mary Bright. Ethel was the daughter of Percy Bright, of Bright’s Stores, which today is ‘House of Fraser’ in Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth. Percy Bright was Mayor of Bournemouth immediately before Alderman Edgecombe. Philip Hardy entered into a partnership with architect A. J. Seal to form ‘Seal and Hardy’, whose work included the Echo offices on Richmond Hill in Bournemouth and the Westover Road Ice Rink.
In September 1960 Alderman Edgecombe passed away at the age of 90 and was succeeded as Chairman by his third son, Kenneth, who had been Secretary since 1946. Upon his death in October 1986, Cllr. Mrs Hollies-Smith became Chairman until 1996, when Miss Janet Edgecombe, grand-daughter of the Founder, who had been a Trustee since 1970, succeeded her.
To celebrate the Charity’s 80th year in 2016, the Trustees renamed the site to Edgecombe Gardens, whilst retaining Eventide Homes as the Charity name. Three more almshouse homes were built as a result of converting one of the blocks.
In 2017, to acknowledge her service and devotion to the Eventide Homes, Janet was made President of Eventide Homes. Janet still continued as a Trustee until November 2020, when she sadly passed away. Janet was succeeded by Ken Mantock as Chairman and Sarah Roots as Vice Chairman. Sarah was the great-granddaughter of the founder. It is with great sadness that Sarah also passed away, in July 2018 after a short illness.
Ken was previously the Vice-Chairman. He works in the property maintenance industry, served as a local Councillor for many years, is Chairman of the Bournemouth Civic Society and the St Peter’s Church Development Group, as well as being involved in a number of other local charities and good causes. Dennis Roots, already a Trustee, was elected as Vice-Chair in 2018 and had operated a Human Resources and Learning & Development business before retiring.
The Trustees converted an old, under used guest flat, into another much needed almhouse home in 2019. As part of the project the roof was renewed and the insulation serving five existing homes was improved. The opening ceremony took place before the annual carol service.