SALTERNS HOTEL is a 3-star hotel in Lilliput, Poole, Dorset on the south coast of England.
Salterns Hotel was built in 1938 on a strip of reclaimed land formerly called Salterns Pier on the eastern side of Poole Harbour. It was originally named “The Harbour Club and Hotel”. Salterns Hotel and Salterns Pier takes its name from the area’s long history of salt production in various sites around the harbour stretching as far back as the Iron Age to the early 19th century.
The Romans built the various salt works which have been found all the harbour, and in particular in the area now known as Salterns. The area known as the Blue Lagoon, in Lilliput which is adjacent to the “pier” which is now Salterns Way, is where salt was commercially extracted from the sea water in the early 1730s. According to Poole and Purbeck Portal, the Salt Works belonged to Sir Thomas Webb,baronet Lord of the Manor of Canford and the use of the lagoon as salt pans, and of the surrounding higher areas of Lilliput for the manufacturing processes continued into the 19th century. At the time, Poole was heavily engaged in the cod fisheries of Newfoundland and although the salt that they used to preserve the cod came from various sources a significant amount was used that was taken from the local industry.
After nearly a century of the area being commercially used for salt works, in 1856 the pier and the surrounding area came to be used for a new type of industry. George Jennings built George Jennings South Western Pottery which was of major importance, producing bricks, stoneware drainage pipes and terracotta facing blocks. George Jennings had a steam locomotive and a railway line built which connected Salterns Pier with Parkstone Station which survived until the mid 1960s.
For more than sixty years the pier was a major industrial wharf and coal yard with the surrounding area being marshland and farmland. The pier’s contribution to the war effort of World War One was significant as the coal yard was developed with several substantial industrial buildings which comprised of an engineering works and a sawmill and Railway wagons were made and repaired here. There was also a large woodworking plant for making aircraft hangers.
Ambitious plans by Salterns Ltd to develop the area further to either a shipbuilding company or an engineering and woodworking company failed and by 1931 the area ceased to be the industrial complex that it had been for so many years and became a quiet backwater.
The Salterns area, played its part again in the War effort, this time for the Second World War. In 1940 BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) transferred its flying boat operations from Southampton to the relative safety of Poole Harbour and based their terminal at the hotel which had been built two years earlier. BOAC had a fleet of 32 Empire boats and passengers and mail were flown across the world from the harbour. Salterns Hotel provided the departure lounge for the passengers before boarding launches to take them to their flying boat.
*Further reading and information about the history and development of the area surrounding Salterns Marina can be found on Dorset Life Magazine’s page entitled Lilliput’s Industrial Past