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Southbourne Literary Society is a lively, friendly book-lovers’ group which meets each month from September to April in the Trinity Methodist Church Hall, Southbourne (in Bournemouth, BH6 5AQ), and is open to all. Visitors and new members are always welcome.


The Society began soon after the Second World War, in 1946, with the stated aim ‘to promote an interest in English Literature and develop Social Fellowship among its members.’Our Founder was William Edward Palser (1883-1956) a retired headmaster who had retired to Bournemouth in 1942. In 1912 William Palser had previously founded The Dickens Fellowship in Cheltenham and in 1921 he had been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. It was inevitable that he would want to found a new society in Bournemouth when he retired there. He had been invited to start a Dickens group, but he wanted a society with a broader scope. Hence, 55 people were invited to an inaugural meeting, which was followed by the first proper meeting held on 23rd May 1946. Since then the Society has gone from strength to strength and in September 2020 it will begin its 75th season. Early speakers included Lord Tennyson, the poet’s son – aged 92 when he addressed the Society in 1954! And in 1968 Tennyson’s grandson Sir Charles Tennyson also came.  Many well-known writers, authors and poets have given talks on literature over the following years.

The Society meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7.30 pm. Each meeting consists of two parts with a coffee break in the middle.