Saturday, 20 January 2018


This week the above items landed here at Jones Towers - a pair of group photos taken probably in 1950s on the steps of Plastirion Hotel (now East Parade Apartments, 46-48 East Parade, Rhyl).

The items arrived without accompanying information. Below are the group photos in close up.



Click on any image to see a bigger version.

I wonder who the children were and why they were at the Plastirion. Were they locals or visitors? Were they on school outings without uniforms?
Were they something to do with the Alex Hospital nearby?

Absence of flags indicates that they were probably not something to do with Festival of Britain 1951 or Coronation 1953.


Can anybody throw some light on this matter?

Colin Jones /



In this blog there have references to E.H. Williams' Merrie Men before but not until now has there been a photographic portrait of E.H. in solo pose. Here he is in all his glory, waxed moustache an' all:

Merrie Men

E. H. (Edward Henry) Williams led his Merrie Men at the minstrel pitch on the beach in Rhyl from 1899 until 1906. He rented the pitch from Rhyl Urban District Council and turned his troupe into a real crowd-pulling act combining comedy and music.

Nearly spoiled by artificial colouring is the following picture of his Merrie Men performing a black-faced routine on the minstrel pitch.

minstrel pitch

[Note there is a building on left of the picture advertising saddle horses for hire not just donkeys.]

In recognition of the Merrie Men becoming a valuable asset and also Mr. Williams' charitable works in the town, a street was named after him: Edward Henry Street.

The image below shows the location of the minstrel pitch far left (opposite High Street) in relation to the pier (opposite Church Street). The pitch was taken over in 1907 by Gilbert Rogers' Jovial Jesters.

As for E.H. Williams Esq., he appears to have wound up living in London.


Saturday, 13 January 2018


This time we flash back not very far. Here is a snap taken in September 1984 at the Foryd in Rhyl (who could mistake that Ocean Beach Fun Fair background?)

It was taken by a passing stranger. Lined up, left to right, we have Frank Lomax, Basil Connelly, Ray Pearson, "Sandy" Powell and Sam Caruth. They are ex-Harrison Line relief staff.

The Harrison Line was based in Liverpool and ran cargo and passenger services from 1869 until the year 2000 when the business was absorbed by P&O Nedlloyd.


This seems as good a place as any to squeeze in an image of the harbour that has not appeared previously in Rhyl Life.
It is on a card postmarked 1980 but the photo must have been taken years earlier because in the background on your left is the old domed Pavilion which was demolished in 1974.

Don't forget Rhyl Life's YouTube channel featuring Rhyl videos and slideshows. The channel is named RhylTime. Click here to see RhylTime's Top Ten:

Only YouTube items labelled RhylTime are mine.



These two photos were taken on the Dyserth branch line that operated 1869-1973 from Prestatyn to Meliden to Dyserth for the quarries.

Ah yes, the quarries. As a schoolboy on the Dyserth side of Rhuddlan I used to hear a warning siren followed by eerie silence, and then big boom accompanied by a chorus of dogs barking.

The mountain looked as if a giant’s spoon had removed a portion to eat. We took the disfiguring of the landscape by heavy industry for granted.

On visits to Wrexham area I joined the children playing on ‘spoil tips’ from the collieries until 1966 when a big one collapsed on houses and a school at Aberfan in South Wales and killed 28 adults and 116 children.

Our industrial past is less than glorious.

You can read about the Dyserth branch line, most of which is now a footpath, in Wikipedia:


Mr. Gerald Turner, now of Canada, thought he saw a picture of Yours Truly and my pal Jill on this blog ages ago  and he has spent a long time trying to find it again. He didn't say what for!

Well Gerry, the pic was taken in 2015 by Lynn Roberts outside The Piazza Restaurant, High Street, Rhyl. It appeared as part of a temporary post and got deleted. Here 'tis.

Colin Jones / email:


Sunday, 7 January 2018


This afternoon out for a stroll (a Sunday constitutional) I witnessed Burton / Dorothy Perkins in the process of clearing out. Inside the shop were rails of clothes marked for transfer to other branches, nearest being Llandudno and Broughton.

The building at 48-50 High Street is one of few left from Rhyl's art deco period. It began life in 1930 simply as Burton the tailor. In recent years: Burton menswear on the 1st floor, Dorothy Perkins womens' fashions on ground floor.

Just in case the building undergoes radical change, here is  a record of its exterior wall plaques.

The following is on front of the building, to the right of Dorothy Perkins' window at a height of roughly 10-12 feet. It commemorates The Beatles 1962 appearance at Regent Dansette which used to be on 2nd floor: 

This cornerstone is at ground level beneath The Beatles plaque: 

Round the corner of Burton's window is a disused side door with plaques at ground level on each side:



The photographs above are by Yours Truly.

You could read a short history of the company in Wikipedia:

TUE 9th JAN 2018 UPDATE: Ex-Rhylite Nigel Kerry of Clun writes, “Misspent youth. Burton’s also had a very popular snooker hall upstairs as lots of Burton’s branches had.”



Mark Hamourg
portrait by F.W. Schmidt, Manchester

Mark Hambourg (1879-1960) was a Russian-born, naturalised British pianist of international repute. He played at Rhyl Pavilion on Sunday October 10th 1943, presumably as part of a concerted effort to keep the collective pecker up during World War 2.

Mr. Hambourg was accompanied by the Bournemouth Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by William Rees. The dodgy acoustics at the old Pavilion would have done them no favours but it was by all accounts a  rattling good concert, a big success!

You can see Mark Hambourg on YouTube:

This reference is added here for indexing purposes:
Summit Enterprises Limited London.



This is not part of the usual Quiz.

Below are two old postcards from the same series. They show photos of small hotels/guest houses in Butterton Road, Rhyl, named Mountgreen and Silverdale.
Notice anything funny about them?

Same photo!