Refurb brings a trip down memory lane back to life

After his son moved into a newly refurbished Williams Court in Bournemouth late last year, Robin Durnford spotted a photo on the wall. To his surprise, he saw himself in the picture aged 20, which was taken in 1955 whilst he was on leave from the Royal Navy.

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During the refurbishment, Williams Court was decorated with pictures of Bournemouth’s past. It was only by chance that the photo chosen during the refurbishment and hung up in the corridor in the block of flats, and that Robin’s son Mark would move there shortly afterwards.

Robin, now 84, came to Bournemouth as an evacuee during the World War II as one of 11 children from the same family. They settled in Bournemouth, but after finishing school Robin left to join the Royal Navy for 14 years, travelling all over the world and later joining the Royal Air Force for another 14 years.

“I was shocked to see the picture, and it was a surprise when I noticed it,” said Robin Durnford. “I spotted it the first time I came to Williams Court, and I think I’m browsing a local grocery store in the picture. It’s great to see a snapshot of Bournemouth’s history in the place where my son now lives.”

The refurbishment is part of a £9m upgrade across Stonewater’s schemes, and Williams Court has benefitted from refurbished communal areas, with an enhanced space and bespoke furniture. The decoration, including the pictures, is part of this upgrade. On finding out the significance of the picture, Stonewater, who own Williams Court, presented the Durnford family with their own framed copy for them to keep.

“It’s great that we were able to bring a part of the Durnford’s family history back to life through the redecoration of the scheme,” said Sabrina McGuire, Service Delivery Officer, Stonewater. “The pictures were selected to celebrate Bournemouth’s past, and now every time Robin goes to visit his son, he is reminded of his past in the photo near the entrance to Williams Court.”