Thursday, 30 April 2009

THE OTHER VILLAGE

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Pentre Bach Welsh Model Village (Pentre Bach translates as Little Village) was an outdoor attraction 1970-1975 in West Parade; if it existed today it would take up part of the land between Sandringham Avenue and Sydenham Avenue. The village was created by Rhyl Amusements Ltd the company that owned the fun fair. It was designed by their structural draughtsman Ronald Towler.

Pentre Bach had a castle, pub, school and other miniature buildings including the one the lady in traditional dress is showing to children in the black-and-white picture above: Ty Gwyn Farm (Ty Gwyn translates as White House). The talented Mr. Towler went to work as a technical assistant for Trust House Forte and later at Alton Towers.

The colour postcard shows Pentre Bach's slate quarry. All the roofing of the model village was genuine Welsh slate.

--

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

RHYL ON PARADE

Post OfficeWorld War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great WarTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Rhyl used to love parades. Here are two nice examples from Gaynor Williams.

(TOP) is a church parade featuring C. Squadron (Rhyl) of Flintshire Territorial Army which was attached to 5th Royal Welch Fusiliers. Rhyl was part of Flintshire in those days. The rather grand building that they have just marched past is a Post Office in High Street; if the same building were there today it would be opposite Boots chemist. The picture is on a card postmarked 1908.

The other picture was taken outside Men’s Convalescent Institution in Bedford Street while it was temporarily a Red Cross Hospital during The Great War (First World War 1914-18); the staff on parade would be mostly volunteers. International Red Cross and Red Crescent movements continue to carry out essential humanitarian work whenever and wherever war rages.

--

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

JOHN STREET

Pennaf Clwyd AlynTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


This is John Street in the county council ward of Rhyl West. At a glance, it is an unremarkable place: bedsits and flats mostly owned by private landlords, some housing association properties, a few guest houses and a corner shop. The street has been in the news because residents hired a private security firm to help keep law and order.

People with behavioural problems have been dumped into the area for years by NACRO, SOVA, Clwyd Alyn Housing Association, Denbighshire council's Social Services and other agencies/organisations. We residents are expected to live alongside an unusually high proportion of criminals, substance addicts, resettlement cases, basket cases and all sorts.

Yesterday a resident of John Street handed me a list of incidents including sexual abuse, threatening behaviour, abduction, car torching, domestic violence, stabbing, robbery, attempted suicide, assault and battery. If I had the ear of government I would say, send no grant aid here except to remove cheap rented accommodation.

--

Sunday, 26 April 2009

BEDFORD STREET

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Another set of goodies from Gaynor Williams of the shop 'Aquarius’ in Market Street: two pictures of the Men’s Convalescent Institution in Bedford Street plus a picture of its dining hall.

At present the building is occupied by The Samaritans, Shelter Cymru, Benefits Advice Shop and West Rhyl Young People’s Centre. The dining hall is now a meeting room used by various voluntary groups.

--

Saturday, 25 April 2009

THE GIRLS

Beauty contestBeauty contestTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


This is the first crop of stills that I have winkled out of a resident’s home movie that came my way a few years ago via Bill Ellis. The film is titled ‘Rhyl May Day 1957’ but it appears to be made up of segments from differing years.

Pictured above are some of the young ladies in scenes shot at Westminster Hotel, East Parade. They are getting ready and relaxing before what was probably a Miss Rhyl contest.

Who are they and where are they now?

--

A LONG JOURNEY

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Yesterday a front page story highlighted the government’s failure to deal with the nation’s alcohol problem. The decision to lower the classification of cannabis had to be reversed in the light of experience, and now the decision to relax controls on alcohol needs to be rescinded. The number of alcohol-related deaths, illnesses and crimes has been underestimated. Taxpayers have to pick up the bills for these mistakes.

Recently the Government ducked an opportunity to fix minimum prices on alcohol (an idea already under consideration in Scotland) and it continues to allow booze to be sold in convenience stores and grocery shops as if it is some kind of food. Some supermarkets sell the stuff dirt cheap almost as a loss leader. Britain is going the wrong way and needs to turn round and start a long journey towards getting alcohol classified as an illegal drug.

--

Thursday, 23 April 2009

EPWORTH COLLEGE

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Epworth College for boys in Rhyl (shown above) started in 1880 in the building now known as Ysgol Dewi Sant, Rhuddlan Road. Initially the college was a small private residential school. Gradually the house and grounds were extended to include more dormitories and also hockey, cricket and football pitches.

By the 1930s the entire spread occupied about 18 acres. After World War 2 Epworth College experienced a reduction of student numbers. In the 1950s it moved to smaller premises in Waen near St. Asaph; a lot of the land in Rhyl was sold for house building.

My thanks to Philip Lloyd for some of this info, and the picture is from Gaynor Williams.

--

THE DOCTOR IS IN

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


The new chief executive of Denbighshire County Council has been announced as Dr. Mohammed Mehmet (pictured above) who was already working for the council as corporate director of Lifelong Learning. His expertise in education should be reassuring for parents who are worried about the standard of schools in the county.

The stated aim of the new chief executive – along with his colleagues – is to bring Denbighshire closer to the community and provide quality, value for money services for all.

I wish him the best of luck.

--

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

THE SANDHILLS

sandhills, sand hills, sunbathersTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Here is a postcard showing the sandhills which used to be opposite East Parade. It has an Edward VII stamp; Edward reigned from 1901 to 1910.

The card was sent from 6 Marlborough Grove in Rhyl to a Brassington family in Hanley, Stoke on Trent, and says, “Dear Lewis, Annie & children, just a line to say we arrived safe and sound at 11 o’clock. The weather is A1 and diggings (accommodation - Ed.) same, wish you were coming. The group on this picture will write more particulars later. With love from Father & Mother.”

--
WED 17th FEB 2016 UPDATE: Below: 'Rhyl from the Sandhills' on a card postmarked 1921. The sandhills were removed in 1950s:

sandhills, sand hills

The following is not Rhyl, it is Cefn Sidan, Carmarthenshire. Our sandhills would have looked like this in pre-trampled times.


sandhills, sand hills

--

Monday, 20 April 2009

BOYS WILL BE BOYS



Click on a picture to see a bigger version.


THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


These pictures are from Gaynor Williams of the shop ‘Aquarius’ in Market Street.

Shown at the top is Colet House, East Parade (now St. David’s Residential Home for the Elderly) when it was a boys' school. It is a card postmarked 19 September 1904 and addressed to Rev. C.J. Bradshaw of Altrincham, Cheshire, from R.M. Hugh Jones of Colet House saying, “Will you kindly let me know this week if you wish your son to learn any of the following subjects – Music, Drawing, Dancing, Carpentry.”

The other picture was taken by local photographer Rae Pickard and is strongly suspected to show boys from Colet House; they look dressed about right for a private ‘prep school’ of the type. I wonder if they were less trouble than your average Rhyl lads . . .

--

Sunday, 19 April 2009

TOAST RACK

Rhyl & Potteries, toast rackTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Ripe for restoration, when I get around to it, is this postcard which was never posted and therefore is undated; the clothes suggest early 1920s. Thanks to information received from Mr. Anthony Robins we know that Primrose Motor Coaches was, like Rhyl & Potteries Motors, a business owned by the Robins family.

Shown above is the kind of coach or charabanc known as a ‘toast rack’. It had a row of long seats with no aisle up the middle, each seat having its own door or a door each side. It was customary for coach parties to have their picture taken before setting out on a trip - all part of the service.

Here is a variation on the theme:

Rhyl & Potteries, toast rack

--
Bill Ellis’ book ‘The Spirit of Rhyl’ published in 2004 has photographs of some toast racks owned by Primrose’s competitors, Brookes Brothers' White Rose Motors.

--

Saturday, 18 April 2009

HMS RHYL # 2

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


A couple of days ago on this blog there was a post about HMS Rhyl. To my delight, this brought a response from Mervyn Weaver of Worcestershire who is pictured above with a large piece of the ship. Merv says that it’s a generator engine which was fitted to the bow of HMS Rhyl to provide emergency electricity supply if the usual system failed to operate. The generator is in working order and goes on display at vintage shows. What a great picture – thanks, Merv!

--

Friday, 17 April 2009

OCEAN BEACH

Big slideTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


The land on which Ocean Beach Fun Fair once stood is still derelict and awaiting progress of the proposed Ocean Plaza development of flats and shops. The land was bought in the 1930s by Rhyl Amusements Ltd who ran Marine Lake Fun Fair. At first it was used as a coach park and a place for travelling circuses and exhibitions.

Eventually the company began to move rides from Marine Lake to Ocean Beach, and by the 1950s we had fun fairs on both sites. The picture is a card postmarked 1975 showing Ocean Beach’s big slide. A notice to the right says: PERSONS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO SLIDE HEAD FIRST.
I dare say some were daft enough to try.

--
TUE 17th JAN 2017 UPDATE: The big slide appears on the following multiview card postmarked 1978, along with promenade fun in the shape of roller skating, Ted Green's Punch and Judy show, and frolics at the paddling pool: 


Looking at this card in 2017 it struck me that everything thereon was aimed specifically at entertaining children and big kids. There is so little for them now!

--
SUN 9th APR 2017 UPDATE: From ex-Rhylite Lynne Weston (was Rees) now residing in Scotland, here are a couple of 1970s postcards.


Above: A view from top of the aforementioned big slide at Ocean Beach.

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Below: Part of the prom and West Parade. The big green building on your right was on corner of Water Street, and the photograph looks taken by somebody standing on the flat roof of Coliseum Theatre.


Thanks, Lynne!

--

Thursday, 16 April 2009

HMS RHYL # 1




THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


The first ship named HMS Rhyl was a World War 2 minesweeper which had J36 on its side.

The second HMS Rhyl was marked F129. This was a Rothesay class anti-submarine frigate built at Portsmouth and completed in 1960. Like all other Royal Navy warships of the time, was part of the NATO fleet which patrolled to 'discourage aggression by Russia and the Soviet Block' during the Cold War.

The vessel made several visits to Rhyl from its base in Birkenhead. Its arrival was welcomed by cocktail parties, football matches, church services and very special events. Among town council documents is a letter dated 15 August 1981 to the Mayor from a member of crew saying that HMS Rhyl was in the Indian Ocean and had been at sea a long time and it would be nice to get some friendly correspondence from the town’s residents (particularly young ladies no doubt).

In October 1983 the ship was retired after having been part of the Navy’s task force during the Falklands/Malvinas conflict. In 1985 it ended its life as a target for guided missile practice before being blown up and sunk to the bottom of the sea off Land's end.

--

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

VIOLET CHARLESWORTH

confidence trickster, fake inheritance, swindler

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l

Around the time the original Rhyl Pavilion opened in 1908, Violet Charlesworth was residing in Rhyl and district. Aided and abetted by her mother, Violet ran up local debts on the promise of re-payment when she received a massive inheritance on her 25th birthday.

Violet and Mum are believed to have conned about £27,000 out of some comparatively wealthy men, and to put that figure into perspective I can tell you that the average wage was £1 - £2 per week. Being ahead of her time Violet was a stock-market swindler as well.

That was an extraordinary life for a mechanic’s daughter from Stafford! After many dramas, a fake suicide by Violet over a cliff at Penmaenmawr followed by a nationwide hunt for her ending in Scotland, the two women were sent to jail and that’s where the story ends. Nobody is certain what happened to them afterwards.

About Violet one thing is certain: she wasn’t boring.

--
Copyright in the photograph belongs to Getty Images. It shows Violet Charlesworth dressed improbably in Scottish attire.

--

Monday, 13 April 2009

COLISEUM THEATRE

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


(TOP) is a colourful photo taken from near the junction of John Street and West Parade sometime after the original Pavilion Theatre was demolished in 1974 and before the Skytower was erected in 1989; let’s call it circa 1980. On the promenade left to right: a boating pool, children’s paddling pool and Coliseum Theatre.

The black-and-white picture is a snapshot that I took in the year 2000 when the Coliseum was derelict having lost its lessees. The theatre became an eyesore while arguments raged about its future, and eventually it was knocked down to become one more Rhyl venue to bite the dust.

--

MON 20th APR 2015 UPDATE: Here is an undated image of the Coliseum from archives of Daily Post:


--

Sunday, 12 April 2009

EAST IS EAST

East of the pierTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


This image is undated. In the background the underdeveloped look of East Parade indicates probably early 1900s. This part of the beach (east of the pier) was for gentlemen bathers although there appears to be a stray nanny paddling with children bottom right. Near the water's edge are bathing machines (changing rooms on wheels).

Click on the picture to see a bigger version.

Most bathing machines were the other side of the pier for lady bathers who were more modest of course. Eventually Rhyl would be among the first resorts to allow mixed bathing.

--

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

PALMS UP

palm treepalm treeTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


The new look of our High Street area has inspired some comments, especially about palm trees. “Oh well, it’s something new,” I heard one lady shopper say when looking at the one shown above (TOP). Well not really, Madam. Rhyl had palm trees in other parts of town recently and long ago.

The other picture shows part of the eastern promenade in 1970s, and no doubt the history of palm trees in Rhyl goes back further than that. The large glass building, incidentally, is the Royal Floral Hall.

--

Sunday, 5 April 2009

CHILDREN'S PARADISE

LMSTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


The fence shown above is at the side of the derelict Bee Hotel, Bodfor Street. It displays logos relating to a Denbighshire County Council redevelopment plan that nearly took place a few years ago. The plan is still on the table waiting for funds to be found.

Meanwhile 'The Children’s Paradise’ poster brightens the scene. The poster was designed by Jackson Burton for promoting Rhyl in stations on the London Midland Scottish Railway (LMS) which operated from 1923 to 1948. The poster evokes the 1920s when the councils of the day liked to use the slogan ‘Rhyl – The Children’s Paradise’.

The slogan conjured up a picture of laughing children playing safely on the sands where their parents and nannies could watch minstrels and jesters who gave “several performances during the day of a highly refined and entertaining description . . . No vulgarity allowed.”

--

Friday, 3 April 2009

CLAREMONT HYDRO

Y GorlanY GorlanTHIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


These images show the Victorian hotel named Claremont Hydro. Hydropathic hotels such as the Claremont had their own indoor baths for relaxation and health treatment. They were expensive places in which to stay and Rhyl had quite a few of them because in those days the town’s visitors were comparatively wealthy.

Claremont Hydro was in Brighton Road and it became eventually a men’s convalescent/retirement home named Y Gorlan; the building was demolished in the early 1980s. A decade or so later Clwyd Alyn Housing Association built flats on the site and named them Y Gorlan.

My thanks to Bill Ellis, and to Doreen Jones of Rhyl Community Agency for much of this information, and to Gaynor Williams for the larger picture.

--
This reference is added here for indexing purposes: Worthington brewery.

--

Thursday, 2 April 2009

BOTANICAL GARDENS

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Here are two images of the town’s famous Botanical Gardens in Grange Road, opposite Rhyl High School & Rhyl Leisure Centre. The black-and-white postcard is said to be from early 1960s; the other picture has the feel of late 1970s about it.

In recent years the cafe in Botanical Gardens has been run by Rhyl South West Central Residents’ Association (RSWCRA) and much improvement to the gardens has taken place. A short history of the place is on the BBC Wales North East web site: http://bit.ly/8okm5

--

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

REVIEWING THE SITUATION

THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
l
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
l


Businesses at the town end of Wellington Road claim to have been hit by parking regulations introduced last year. Previously some of the traders and their customers had been parking illegally though, and the national economic downturn would have taken its toll anyway – so the situation is difficult to assess properly.

Disabled drivers lost some parking space because the blue badge system had been widely abused by people who could be seen strolling around town shopping for an hour or two with no difficulty. Too many cars were being used unnecessarily and these were clogging up the system and causing traffic congestion and pollution.

I would be happy to see the scheme tweaked a little but a major reversal should not be contemplated. The town centre area is not a shopping arcade like White Rose Centre where no one lives; it has a couple of thousand residents whose environment has been improved by the new regulations.

--