Thursday, 26 March 2015


School time again! Firstly, here is a cricket team from Epworth College, Rhuddlan Road (now Ysgol Dewi Sant) in 1905 with a jolly nice mascot!

Next is Colet House, East Parade (now St. David’s Residential Home) in 1914. I wonder whether the young women were teachers or servants:

Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

Finally, girls of St. Mary's Convent School, Russell Road, circa 1955. Some are holding sports trophies bearing the name HMS Capetown; the reason for this maritime connection is lost in the sea of time:

Back row: Marion Jenkins; Dilys Nelson; Sylvia Parr; Judy Cocks; Antoinette Heysham; Margaret Thomas; Valentine Newton.

Middle Row: Don’t know; Don’t know; Anna Kavanagh; Cynthia Evans; Pamela Threlfall; Eileen Roberts; Joan Barnard; Valerie Hobson; Pat Walker; Jean Hands.

Front Row: Diana Nicholas; Mary Higgs; Don’t know; Pat Jones; Nora Watts; Angela Cummings; Bernadette Howarth, Valerie Burrow.

Thanks to Diana Nicholas, now Diana Davies of Canada, for some IDs. (Cute shoes, Diana!)

The photo belongs to Valerie Burrow, now Valerie Lovibond of Abergele.
I was delighted to meet with her and her husband this week. Val has loaned me a little album of her previous school, Arcville College, Rhyl. Images from therein will appear on blog in due course.


Rhyl Life was closed from September 2010 to February 2015. Even so the site has clocked up well over a quarter of a million page views (260,233 when I last looked). Not bad for a one-man blog about a small town in Wales.

Its sister site RhylTime is less well known. RhylTime is a YouTube channel created by Yours Truly. So far it features 44 videos and photo slideshows about Rhyl past and present. You can see RhylTime's Top Ten here:

YouTube can be a bit of a jumble, so I always feel it necessary to point out that only the items labelled RhylTime are mine.

Colin Jones /


Monday, 23 March 2015


In May we shall have the opportunity to choose our Member of Parliament.

Chris Ruane (Labour) was elected as MP in 1997 and has served 18 years – too long perhaps. I have never been able to warm to Mr. Ruin; he does not seem able to grasp the fact that Rhyl is a purpose-built resort and has no other reason to be here. If he has ever done anything significant to boost our income from tourism I am not aware of it.

Tourism is good at creating opportunities for self-employment, and creating temporary jobs for students on holiday, and creating unskilled jobs for inexperienced workers – of which we have many in the old holiday district of Rhyl West where the unemployment rate is sky high.

Mr. Ruin has presided over the biggest downturn in the town’s fortunes in the entire history of Rhyl. He may feel no personal responsibility for our loss of status as a holiday resort (as typified by loss of Ocean Beach Fun Fair) or our loss of status as a regional shopping centre (loss of Marks & Spencer) but he cannot dodge some responsibility.

He has supported and/or been complicit in housing policies that have allowed Rhyl to become stuffed with people from other places, who have no income other than rock-bottom state pensions or benefits, no spending power and no apparent aspirations for themselves or for the town.

Social housing is a good thing - I say this as somebody brought up on a local council estate and currently living in Pennaf/Clwyd Alyn Housing Association development for elderly people – but the activities of Pennaf/Clwyd Alyn have gone too far, especially in Rhyl West. They are eating the ward.

Mr. Ruin could have called for a curb on the company’s activities – but he didn’t.

During his entire period in office, resettlement agencies have been dumping alcoholics, drug addicts, offenders of all kinds, and other problematic people into the old holiday district of Rhyl West, helping to give the whole town a bad name.

Mr. Ruin could have called for an end to those agencies’ activities – but he didn’t.

No doubt he would counter all the points I have made here in his usual brusque manner. He has a smart-alec answer for everything. “Get yer facts right!” he snarls whenever he or his precious Labour Party come under criticism.


Chris Ruane MP seems, above all else, a Party man - only too willing to dance to the tune of Labour Whips who tell him how to vote and how to behave in the House of Commons, and only too willing to embrace the workplace culture: he has been criticised on more than occasion for the size of his expenses claims.

His Vale of Clwyd constituency includes wards where seriously deprived people live. These people, if they voted at all, would probably have assisted him by voting Labour – and he has made himself comparatively wealthy off their backs.

According to Wikipedia, he derives income from owning and renting out property in London while living at some other address at the public expense. He gets an easy ride from our chicken-hearted local paper The Journal whose offices nestle next door to Rhyl Labour Party’s offices. They never ask him any awkward questions.

For decades the Labour Party has been dominant within Rhyl and – apart from two or three decent ward councillors – our elected representatives are not fit for purpose because they don’t give enough thought to how pubic money is created in the first place – they just concentrate on how it should be spent.

On Mr. Ruin’s watch, Rhyl has been a leper squatting with a begging bowl for more and more grant aid from above. It's time to have some blue sky thinking and vote for Conservative candidate Dr. James Davies who is a local man, a GP in Prestatyn and a member of both Prestatyn and Denbighshire councils.

His knowledge of Rhyl is sound (not long ago I had a walk around the west end with him to satisfy myself on this point). James wants to make more of Rhyl’s potential and understands the town’s problems. His enthusiasm for Rhyl, combined with a doctor’s natural compassion, makes him in my opinion the better local candidate.

For me, politics is a local matter. Despite reservations about some of his Conservative Party’s national policies, I will be voting for James in May.


Sunday, 22 March 2015


The above picture was taken in 2008 showing a Rhyl street; I don’t want the name of it.
The question: If the street were NOT a cul-de-sac, to what other street would it lead?

Have a look at the following card. 
The question: Is the card postmarked 1914, 1927 or 1939? 

Take a guess! There is a one-in-three chance you may be right!

You have until the end of Saturday 28th March 2015 to send your entry.
Get one answer right for one win; get both answers right for two wins.
Second tries not accepted!
The result will be published on Sunday 29th March 2015 around Midday.

Colin Jones/ email:



Last Sunday I posted a larger version of the following:

The question was: To what building did the sign belong?
The answer is: Downtown Club:
These are snapshots circa 2008 by the late Glyn Rees.

Chalking up wins are Sue Handley, Dilys Bagnall, Moira Evans, The Great Gareth and Jane Shuttle. [Jane adds that the fancy initials BW above each word would stand for the proprietor Billy Williams.]


  • Last Thursday’s by-election in Rhyl South West resulted in a predictable win for Labour; the large council and housing association estates make the ward safe territory for them. Well done to the four losers for trying to overcome the apathy. The turnout was 20 per cent - 8 out of every 10 eligible residents did not bother to vote.

Friday, 20 March 2015


This cartoon appeared in 1948 in Rhyl Leader newspaper.

Some readers may find the concept of female glamour and beauty contests offensive but it is part of the social history of seaside resorts such as Rhyl and many other towns, and we can’t ignore it.

The late Glyn Rees left a few files on the subject of Miss Rhyl and similar events. Dipping into them at random, I found the following which shows Miss Rhyl 1934 (Edna Howard) with her clothes on. I think I know who the dapper gent bottom left is but will wait for confirmation:

Here from 1936 is a typical parade at Open Air Bathing Pool ('The Baths') on the prom:

Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

The following is circa 1942, during World War 2. I bet it boosted the morale of the forces:


Eventually the whole bathing beauty idea became more commercialised. Some entrants were semi-professional photographic/fashion models.

They travelled from town to town picking up contest prize money which at times could be substantial. Their life was not all fun. Look out for the film ‘The Beauty Jungle’ (1964) starring Janette Scott and Ian Hendry, directed by Val Guest.

By contrast, the following is definitely fun. The photo is undated. Love these swimsuits:

Here is a 1979 newspaper cutting about Debbie Dean, Miss Chamber of Trade, who won several beauty titles and married the footballer Mike Thomas. I don’t think we have a Chamber of Trade these days, do we? Further info on this point, and on Debbie and Mike, would be welcome:

And for good measure, here is Miss Rhyl 1980 (Anita Campini):

Perhaps we should have a Miss Rhyl Life competition. As an elderly gentleman – 70 next year – I had better restrict it to a small number of ladies of a certain age. Wouldn’t do to get over-excited . . .

All illustrations in this post are from the collection of the late Glyn Rees.

Colin Jones / email:


Wednesday, 18 March 2015


These photographs were taken yesterday near the top of John Street by Yours Truly.

As first mentioned on this blog six years ago, residents of Rhyl West expressed enthusiasm for the idea of clearing spaces. One of the problems in the west end was that it felt like an inner city area, and the biggest patches of green were the vicars' gardens!

The present, unfinished environmental improvement scheme affecting Abbey Street to John Street tries to address that problem and to reduce the over-supply of rented flatlets and bedsits in the old holiday district.

Rhyl Life applauds this scheme. It is a pity that the pot of money for it is not big enough for a larger version. If the new green space is properly managed and maintained it would be a handsome addition to the neighbourhood.

A nagging doubt lingers over the creation of new accommodation by Pennaf/Clwyd Alyn Housing Association. What kind will it be?

There would be no point in creating general purpose flats for unemployed people of working age in a ward where the unemployment rate is four times higher than the UK national average. That kind of accommodation should be built in other towns where there are more work opportunities.

The townscaping has involved demolition and raised a lot of dust. Some householders nearby have been offered the opportunity of having their properties washed down. I hope they remember to close their windows.



By all accounts the musician Mike Peters is a nice guy and has done some good in Rhyl. I wouldn’t want to knock the man even though his music sounds perfectly horrid to me.

There was some genuine surprise when he was chosen as one of three heroes of whom statues were made for Pont y Ddraig, the new pedestrian/ cyclist bridge at The Foryd. I received emails about this.

Some people of the past who made massive contributions to development of Rhyl, such as Townshend Mainwaring in the 19th century and Albert Barnes in the 20th Century, to name but two, are still un-commemorated. So why did Mike Peters get chosen?

Mr. Peters is a cancer survivor and a campaigner for better cancer care. Was that generally known by the public when he was chosen as one of Rhyl's three all-time heroes?

In any case, did the public do the choosing? Was there a public ballot? Was it a choice by unelected council officers? Did local politicians have influence in the matter? I have no idea.

Contacts tell me this week's Journal carries an advert on behalf of Chris Ruane MP’s candidature for The Labour Party in the forthcoming General Election. The advert's text includes statements of support for Mr. Ruin from - among others - Mr. Peters. 



Unveiled today on this blog's sister site, the YouTube channel RhylTime,
is a slideshow of 2008-2010 snapshots from the collection of GLYN REES (1934-2015) R.I.P.
Please click on the following link to see it:

Click here to see ALL my videos:
There are hundreds of Rhyl videos on YouTube. Only the ones labelled RhylTime are mine - don't blame me for the others!