Bournemouth (bôrnˈməth) [key], borough and unitary authority (1991 pop. 142,849), S central England, on Poole Bay. It has grown since the middle of the 19th cent. from a small fishing village in the sheltered, pine-wooded valley of the Bourne to a popular resort and fine-arts center. It has an excellent sandy beach, a temperate climate, and numerous parks. The writer Mary Shelley is buried in the city's parish churchyard.