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Poole experienced two large-scale Viking invasions during this era: in 876, Guthrum sailed his fleet through the harbour to attack Wareham, and in 1015, Canute began his conquest of England in Poole Harbour, using it as a base to raid and pillage Wessex.

In Anglo-Saxon times, Poole was included in the Kingdom of Wessex.

The settlement was used as a base for fishing and the harbour a place for ships to anchor on their way to the River Frome and the important Anglo-Saxon town of Wareham.

Consequently, a 6-hectare (15-acre) Conservation Area was created in the town centre in 1975 to preserve Poole's most notable buildings.

The borough reverted to its previous title of the Borough and County of the Town of Poole, which recalled its status as a county corporate before the implementation of the Local Government Act 1888.

The trade followed a three-cornered route; ships sailed to Newfoundland with salt and provisions, then carried dried and salted fish to Europe before returning to Poole with wine, olive oil, and salt.

The end of the Napoleonic Wars and the conclusion of the War of 1812 ended Britain's monopoly over the Newfoundland fisheries and other nations took over services provided by Poole's merchants at a lower cost.

At the turn of the 19th century, nine out of ten workers were engaged in harbour activities, but as the century progressed ships became too large for the shallow harbour and the port lost business to the deep water ports at Liverpool, Southampton and Plymouth.

The beaches and landscape of southern Dorset and south-west Hampshire began to attract tourists during the 19th century and the villages to the east of Poole began to grow and merge until the seaside resort of Bournemouth emerged.

Although Poole did not become a resort like many of its neighbours, it continued to prosper as the rapid expansion of Bournemouth created a large demand for goods manufactured in Poole.

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