Bournemouth's growth truly accelerated with the arrival of the railway and it became a recognised town in 1870.
The town is also a regional centre of business, home of the Bournemouth International Centre or BIC, and a financial sector that is worth more than £1,000 million in gross value added.
The first mention of Bournemouth comes in the Christchurch cartulary of 1406, where a monk describes how a large fish ("uni magno piscis"), 18 feet (5.5 metres) long, was washed up at "La Bournemowthe" in October of that year and taken to the Manor of Wick; six days later, a portion of the fish was collected by a canon from Christchurch Priory and taken away as tithe.
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According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 183,491 making it the largest settlement in Dorset.