Following the Boer War the quality of marksmanship by British soldiers came in for a lot of criticism and many “ miniature rifle ranges ” were built to get more people interested in target shooting.
Bournemouth Borough Council joined in and in 1907 an old clay pit in Queens Park was excavated and a range created for public use.
Queens Park Rifle Range was opened by Lord Montague of Beaulieu on 5th October 1908, and the ceremony was followed by a shooting competition, and a bun fight at the Pavilion.
But any open air project needs constant attention so the range suffered mixed fortunes in interest until 1927 when a Captain Vernon proposed forming a club to take over running the range with support from the Council. That club was our club that still shoots there with support from the council.
However shooting outdoors has its drawbacks and over the years BSBRPC has had a number of indoor ranges around the area, always rented properties until the last one was burnt down and a local builder and his friends – all club members – persuaded Bournemouth Sports Club at Hurn to lease us a piece of ground so that we could build our own range – hence the Vernon Heygate range which we use today.
But the joy of that range is that while it was built for prone rifle shooting and pistol shooters, today we have 6 different disciplines carrying on 7 days a week.