Victorian Bournemouth (71)

Victorian Bournemouth (71): cricket (3)

Global game. Imperial society.


Victorian Bournemouth (71) explores the global commercial, social network found within the Reverend J. H. Wanklyn’s school, Exeter House, and its cricket team. He belonged to a family which owned and ran an international trading company. Some of his pupils, born overseas, may have come to his school in part because of these global connections. A few proved strong players for his school’s team.

Victorian Bournemouth (71): South America

Wilson and Frederick

The two Jacobs brothers represented Exeter House at cricket at the end of the 1850s. They may have formed part of his earliest student body. The eldest, Wilson, scored more runs than his brother, but his two-year age superiority may have contributed to this. The 1861 census recorded Frederick as a student at Exeter House, but not Wilson. Both Jacobs brothers came from Montevideo, an important trading town lying across the River Plate from Buenos Aires. Their parents may have had US citizenship, their father working as a broker (corredor de bolsa). By 1869, both brothers had returned to the Plate area. Frederick, a merchant, lived with his parents, while Wilson, following his father into brokerage, now had a wife and children. A census showed Frederick, an insurance agent, still in Buenos Aires. Wilson may have died in the USA, Frederick, outliving his brother, in England.

Global citizens

Henry James’s novels featured such wealthy, international people as the Jacobs. Apparent Americans, the parents lived in Montevideo and, later, Buenos Aires, the father working as a broker.  When their mother took them by boat to New York in 1846, the documentation described them as ‘belonging to America’. Nevertheless, in 1883, Wilson Jacobs applied for an American passport, while the 1895 Buenos Aires census listed Frederick and his wife as English. Wanklyn’s school would have restored or applied Englishness to their culture, along with cricket. That link remained, for one of Frederick’s sons, also a local broker, married there. The Jacobs no doubt knew the Zimmermans, another family involved in Argentinian brokerage. John Zimmerman also attended Wanklyn’s school in 1861. He returned, married a local, but North Atlantic woman, at some time becoming chairman of the stock-exchange. Aged 78 he appears to have visited Europe again.

Victorian Bournemouth (71): Australia and West Indies


Arthur Jeffreys, born in New South Wales, played often for the Exeter House team during the 1860s. Other boys of this surname also played. His mother’s family, the Campbells, of Scottish origin, had grown a substantial Australian business. The 1871 census listed Arthur staying in Bournemouth with his aunt, Sophia Campbell. Her income derived from Australian property. Arthur became a leading Conservative politician in England but retained his Australian connections. The archives of NSW contain a copy of his will. A distant cousin, Florence Campbell, part of a sensational case concerning the poisoning of her second husband, had earlier married Captain Ricardo. In 1866, a cricket match between Bournemouth and Christchurch featured players called Ricardo and Jeffreys. Whereas Wanklyn may have had no personal Australian connections, he may have known Arthur’s aunt, Sophia Campbell, at Bournemouth. Perhaps she recommended Exeter School for her Australian nephew and his siblings. 

West Indies

George Barrow, another contemporary of Exeter House’s South American and Australian pupils, came from Barbados, West Indies. Genealogical exploration suggests that both his father, a clergyman, and his mother had their origins on the island. His mother came from planters, so perhaps the family money grew from sugar. They couple married on the island in 1835. Once again, their names suggest an English heritage, but this time part of the colonial exploitation of Barbados. In pattern, also, the family sustained a homeland connection, for George and his parents had come to England by 1851, settling in Yatton, Somerset. The census for 1881 shows George, now also a clergyman, living with his widowed mother in London. The listing refers to his mother’s land and stocks, so perhaps, like Arthur Jeffreys’s aunt, she also obtained a revenue from abroad while living in England. Her probate record shows a modest but respectable estate.

Victorian Bournemouth (71): other connections


Another participant in this global, imperial society perhaps lead to the cricketing connection between Wanklyn’s school and Wimborne Grammar. According to surviving press reports, Wanklyn’s school played several cricket fixtures with Wimborne Grammar school, home and away. No reports of similar games have survived against schools from other towns in the area. It seems, therefore, that J. H. Wanklyn may have had a personal connection with somebody there. Richard Augustus Long Phillips seems a possible candidate. He taught at Wimborne during 1854-1864. Phillips came from Bengal, born there, his parents perhaps indigenous also, a relationship to Lord Clive possible. His son would become an international hunter, travelling in the imperial tradition. A man having this background would perhaps have had many commonalities with J. H. Wanklyn. Bournemouth and Wimborne had many ties, a meeting between the two men quite possible. The linkage became the imperial game: cricket. 

Paradise of adventurers

An earlier article has explored how Bournemouth’s mobile, borderless population attracted adventurers. They ranged between petty tricksters and grand fraudsters. The upper level operated at the international level in comfort. This analysis of Wanklyn’s cricket team during the 1860s shows how his school also acted as a magnet for global citizens. The families that sent their boys to his school, however, moved in different circles to the adventurers. They all seemed to have belonged to the group that swarmed abroad in search of commercial prosperity. South American brokerage. West Indian sugar. Australian enterprises. Nabobs’ wealth. The constant movement between South America, the United States, and England as practised by the Jacobs family suggests they belonged to no country but the world. Some of Wanklyn’s students perhaps came via his kinship connections, but this has not emerged for all. Thus, by the mid-Victorian period Bournemouth had perhaps become a global settlement.


Victorian Bournemouth (71) has shown, through the filter of Wanklyn’s school, how the resort had developed an appeal that ran around the globe. Wealthy families of British origin, nourished by commerce outside their native country, sought English instruction for their sons. Bournemouth’s reputation as a fashionable hub for affluent people perhaps attracted their interest. Wanklyn’s school could educate their boys, but its society might help them expand their own international connections.


For references and engagement, please get in touch. Main primary sources: here and here (subscriptions needed). Also about cricket at Bournemouth.


Leave a Reply