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 Ferndown today boasts a large shopping area and excellent community and leisure facilities, but local residents can still remember it as a small village. During the Second World War the peace of the village was shattered when four or five bombs fell on a local nursery, located on the western side of Victoria Road. The town’s zoo (sadly closed in the late 50’s) was a major attraction for visitors holidaying in Bournemouth. Its star attraction was Ajax the lion.

The origin of the name Ferndown is somewhat obscure, but it was probably derived from the Anglo Saxon word `Fiergen` meaning wooded hill. Fiergen later became Fyrne, then Ferne and eventually Fern. This undoubtedly reflected the prolific growth of ferns in the area. Maps as far back as the early 1800`s spelt the name Fern Down as two words, but in 1859 nurserymen William and David Stewart arrived from Dundee in search of a less severe climate to nurture and grow more delicate plants. It was the Stewart family who were largely responsible for establishing early commercial life in Ferndown. By 1865 a seed and plant catalogue had been prepared at Fern Down and sent for comment and approval to William Stewart back in Dundee. He replied in part of the letter `as to the spelling of Fern Down, Thomas and I think Ferndown looks and reads better`. This letter was largely responsible for the birth of `Ferndown` although Ordnance Survey and other maps continued to show the name as two words right up to 1925.
 

Modern Ferndown has retained much of its former friendly village atmosphere and some locals still refer to it as the village.

 At a Civic Service the Minister noted with humour that `BT does not stand for British Telecom in Ferndown, but Before Tesco` Never the less, Ferndown retains its green and clean appearance. The town centre is easy to access with free parking and level walking. A shop mobility service operates on Thursdays for less able-bodied people. A modern shopping precinct and sensitive landscaping and planting has given the centre a light and airy feel. Incorporated in the shopping precinct are the Ferndown Community Centre, Library and Medical Centre.

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