LIKE any town, Bournemouth's past is laden with quirky and interesting facts.

From The Great Train Robbery to the near-death of Winston Churchill - the town has played its part in shaping our world.

Here the Daily Echo explores five more amazing parts of the coastal resort's past.

Some of these things you may know already, while others will likely come as a surprise.


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written in Bournemouth

Bournemouth Echo:

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at Skerryvore, the house he shared with his wife Fanny in Westbourne.

Their home was named Skerryvore after the lighthouse with which Louis' father was connected.

A replica of the lighthouse stands in the area to this day.

Bournemouth Echo:


The co-founder of Rolls Royce became the first British man to die in an aircraft crash.

Bournemouth Echo:

The fateful day in Bournemouth was July 12, 1910, when Charles Rolls, died in a terrible crash.

The motoring pioneer turned aviation pioneer had successfully crossed the channel by balloon just four years prior.

Rolls had made more than 200 flights with his Wright Flyer, which was made under a license from Short Bros.

That day, while flying as part of the first International Aviation Meeting in the United Kingdom, his tail broke off with fatal consequences.

Bournemouth Echo:


Tony Hancock's first gig was in Bournemouth

Bournemouth Echo:

Tony wasn't quite three when his family moved to Bournemouth from Birmingham in April 1927.

They purchased a Mayo Hygienic Laundry at 37-39 Wynyard Road, Winton, which later became 144-146 Strouden Road.

The Hancocks later acquired the Railway Hotel near Lansdowne, but in 1933 bought the Swanmore Villa and Lodge on Gervis Road and converted it into the Durslton Court Hotel.

As a youth, Hancock was a frequent guest at Pavilion shows and films at the Regent Theater, later renamed Gaumont and then Odeon.

Hancock's father, Jack, who died in 1934, was both an entertainer and hotelier, and Tony wanted to follow in his footsteps.

His mother Lily asked a family friend, George Fairweather, to mentor Tony.

George secured a booking for Tony's first performance in 1940 at the Avon Road Labor Hall in Winton.

Bournemouth Echo: Hancock's mentor George Fairweather in the Westover Road barbershop whose walls were lined with autographed pictures


Some of the great train robbers were arrested in Bournemouth

Bournemouth Echo: Bridego Railway Bridge, site of the Great Train Robbery, August 1963

In the early morning of August 8, 1963, 15 men got away with £2.6 million in second-hand bills after robbing a postal train.

The first arrests were made a few days later in Tweedale Road, off Castle Lane West Bournemouth.

Sixteen men are believed to have been involved in the plot to stop the mail train. Roger Cordrey, one of the pair arrested in Bournemouth, was a former railwayman who blocked the green traffic light. The gang then connected a battery to the red signal to stop the train.

Roger had been hiding with accomplice William Boal, and had been living for several days in a flat above Mould’s florists in Moordown.

Cordrey, who was the only robber to plead guilty and give back his share of the money, was jailed for 20 years.

Boal was jailed for 24. Their terms were reduced to 14 years each on appeal.

Bournemouth Echo:


Winston Churchill almost died in Bournemouth

Bournemouth Echo:

It was a moment that could have changed the course of world history.

In 1892, a young 18-year-old Winston Churchill fell off a bridge in Bournemouth.

After a 29-foot fall, he was unconscious for three days, and the injuries left him bedridden for three months.

Decades later, historians still argue whether it was in Alum Chine or Branksome Dene.

Later, in 1940, Labour leader Clement Attlee made a historic phone call from the Highcliff Hotel that enabled Winston Churchill to become Prime Minister.

Bournemouth Echo: GREAT: Sir Winston Churchill giving his familiar “V” sign