Owner of Durlston Court hotel recalls comedy legend Tony Hancock’s days in Bournemouth

Hancock Hotel: former home of comedy legend shows off collection of memorabilia

BOURNEMOUTH CONNECTION: Ken Robbins with Tony Hancock’s old typewriter

The man himself

First published in News by

STONE me – a Bournemouth hotel is showing off its connections with comedy legend Tony Hancock.

The comedian would have been 90 this week and the occasion was marked by the unveiling of a plaque outside his former flat in Queen’s Gate Place in London’s Kensington.

Hancock spent much of his childhood at the Durlston Court Hotel, now the Hotel Celebrity, in Gervis Road. Its owner, Ken Robbins, has finished assembling a cabinet full of Hancock memorabilia.

It includes a 1930s typewriter on which the lad himself is believed to have typed the hotel’s menus and business letters.

There is also a typewriter don-ated by Hancock’s writers, Alan Simp-son and Ray Galton, on which they wrote many of their scripts.

A third typewriter, which Mr Robins bought at auction, is thought to have belonged to the star at the time of his suicide in 1968.

Hancock, who studied shorthand and typing at Bournemouth College at the Lansdowne, was a proficient touch typist.

Mr Robins said he discovered the family’s typewriter in a cupboard that had been papered over. “I realised what it was when I saw the date on it,” he said.

The Hancock family lived at the hotel from 1933, naming it Durlston Court after the boarding school Tony and his brother Colin went to in Swanage.

After the death of his father, Jack, in 1935, Hancock continued living there with his mother Lily and his stepfather.

Mr Robins said Hancock used to type the hotel’s menus and correspondence when he was home from boarding school in the summer.

“There’s a story that every day was brown Windsor soup but Hancock used to call it something different every day.

He came up with these wonderful names and that was his job in the summer,” he said.

The hotel was substantially rebuilt during the family’s time there. “The hotel was built in 1933-35. In 1943, the Army requisitioned it,” said Mr Robins.

“The idea was that the older son was going to run it when he came back but he was killed so they never came back here. They sold it at a substantial loss in 1943.”

Comments (2)

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10:56am Thu 15 May 14

Azphreal says...

Was'nt his first professional show at a social club in Springbourne?
Was'nt his first professional show at a social club in Springbourne? Azphreal
  • Score: 1

11:33am Thu 15 May 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

Hancock committed suicide, by overdose, in Sydney, on 24 June 1968. He was found dead in his Bellevue Hill flat with an empty vodka bottle and a scattering of amylo-barbitone tablets.
In his suicide notes he wrote: "Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times"
Hancock committed suicide, by overdose, in Sydney, on 24 June 1968. He was found dead in his Bellevue Hill flat with an empty vodka bottle and a scattering of amylo-barbitone tablets. In his suicide notes he wrote: "Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times" Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: 1

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