A FACEBOOK group has become a massively popular forum for people to enjoy old pictures of Bournemouth and Poole.
Members of the group Memories of Old Poole & Bournemouth have turned up a wealth of photos showing familiar scenes from decades ago.
Membership of the group stands are more than 9,000. As well as stimulating people’s nostalgia, the group has helped identify uncaptioned pictures and even got old friends back together.
The group was started around five or six years ago by local man Wayne Richards, who saw interest suddenly take off last year.
“I started it as a tribute to my dad, Rodney Richards – known as Rocky Richards to everybody that knew him – who was Poole born and bred,” said Wayne.
“I loved his stories about the old days of Poole town and when he became ill he once said ‘When my generation is gone, nobody will remember how Poole used to be’.
“After his death in 2005 I really missed his stories of ‘Old Poole’ so around 2008/09 I started the group and added a few friends.
“It just ticked along for two or three years with me adding most of the photos from searches of the internet.
“Slowly, people joined up and the photos started appearing along with people’s stories.
“By early 2013 I was really excited that we had made 200 members which, to be honest, was more than I was expecting.”
At that point, the number of people joining started to rapidly gather momentum.
“It was a 1,000 members in a matter of a weeks,” said Wayne.
“Within another two weeks, it hit 2,000, then 3,000 a few days later. By the end of January 2014, we had reached 6,000.
“I honestly have no idea why it suddenly took off, but it has just bloomed into this amazing box of people’s memories.”
He said running the group had become a “monster” task.
He runs it with the help Tony Marsden and Michael Dennis, friends he has made through the group. He said they had been “a pleasure to have on board with their hard work and commitment”.
One of the most prolific contributors to the group is John White – or Jon White, as he calls himself online to avoid confusion with his similarly named son.
“I’m 68 and I just enjoy it. It keeps my mind occupied and fills my day,” he said.
“I limit myself now. It used to be from eight in the morning to 10-12pm.
“Now I limit myself from 1-2pm until midnight.
“It’s really enjoyable.”
Some posts have produced an enormous response.
Rod Bean posted a video, taken with his first video camera from the passenger seat of his car, showing a drive around Bournemouth and Boscombe in 1980.
It proved hugely popular, with more than 1,850 “likes” from Facebook users.
When Liz Cutler-Calvert posted a picture of her mother, Linda Cutler (nee Seymour) with colleagues from a branch of the bakery Weston’s. She believed the shop to have been in Bournemouth but needed help locating it.
The post has so far attracted more than 1,700 comments – although the location of the shop has yet to be settled.
With new pictures and memories being added all the time, Wayne Richards is proud of the group’s success.
“Every time I log on I see old friends getting back in touch with each other, families reunited, which really makes me happy,” he said.