The club was founded as Bournemouth Rovers on 11 September 1875 at a meeting held in Abbotts Auction Mart in Old Christchurch Road. In 1878 on Tuesday 26 November the club participated in one of the first floodlit matches, when they played under experimental electric lights at Dean Park for “a grand exhibition of the new electric light”. In 1888 the club moved to Dean Park, and changed their name to Bournemouth Dean Park. The club changed its name again to Bournemouth F.C. in 1889 when the club amalgamated with local side Bournemouth Arabs, and moved grounds a season later to Victoria Park. In 1896–97 the club became founder members of the Hampshire League.
The club won the West Division in 1905 and repeated this again in 1910, this time playing at their new home of Namu Road. Namu Road was given to the club in 1908 by Mr. Jack Joy, a local landowner and former member of the club. A year later a grandstand was erected and formally opened by the Mayor. The Poppies had more success in the early years becoming County Division Champions either side of the Great War in 1914 and 1922. However, in 1929 the club was relegated into the newly formed Division Two, but were promoted back to Division One as champions in 1932. After the war, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time in the 1946–47 season. The club achieved some success in other cup competitions in winning the Hampshire Intermediate Cup in 1950 and again in 1970 and 1972. In 1974 the stand that had been erected in 1909 was destroyed by fire.
The club at the end of the 1978–79 season were promoted back to Division one of the Hampshire League but could only last a season in the top division. This relegation was followed two seasons later by a further relegation putting the club back into Division Three. They would remain in this Division until joining the newly formed Wessex League in 1985. The club two seasons later made its Debut in the FA Vase losing to Bridport in the Extra Preliminary round in the 1987–88 season. The club has since remained in this division with its best performance being in the 1994–95 season when under manager Alex Pike, they finished as runners-up to Fleet Town.