A FORMER architect who worked on the Daily Echo building 80 years ago has paid a return visit.

The Rev Lawrence Squires, aged 102, was a junior architect when he was hired to work on the grand art deco building on Richmond Hill, completed in 1934.

He returned yesterday after reading a feature in the paper’s Echoes section about the building’s 80th anniversary.

Mr Squires worked on the original public reception, which is now the Ink Bar in front of the Print Room restaurant.

“The structure was up but it was empty inside.

“I was given the job of finishing the public reception at on the corner of Albert Road and Richmond Hill, where there were the three little steps up to the double doors,” he remembered.

“A lot of money changed hands there because of the advertisements,” he said.

Mr Squires had been hired by the building’s architect, Mr Seward.

“He was the big architect in Bournemouth at the time. All the buildings from Westover Road from the motor showrooms toward Richmond Hill were his,” he said.

“He employed four or five staff and I heard he needed an extra hand in the office because of the Echo,” he said.

Mr Squires was a member of the Congregational Church on Richmond Hill, through which he met his future wife Marion.

They married in 1940 and remained together until her death 58 years later.

He went on to design houses at Tuckton Road in Southbourne and at Castle Lane. After being ordained in 1940 as a minister in what was to become the United Reformed Church, he went to Jamaica to do a mix of missionary work and designing buildings. He was still preaching at Immanuel Church in Southbourne in his 90s.

Mr Squires now lives in a care home in New Milton but returned to Bournemouth to see the Echo building and enjoy tea in the Print Room.

He remembered the Echo’s art deco design being the height of fashion. “It was modern. It was really up to date. There were quite a few being put up at that time in that style. It may have been the biggest but it wasn’t the only one,” he said.