THIS IS THE BLOG OF COLIN JONES, RHYL TOWN COUNCILLOR: BODFOR WARD
The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.
The Winter Gardens opened in 1876 between Butterton Road (which was in existence) and Sandringham Avenue (which wasn’t). It ran from the seafront down to Wellington Road and encompassed what we know today as North Avenue, South Avenue, Lake Avenue and Palace Avenue. The names Lake and Palace refer to places in the Gardens.
Indoor and outdoor exhibitions took place on the site, also cricket, football, hockey and tennis. There was a switchback railway, a seal pond and a monkey house. The 1878 summer programme included archery, bowls, a brass band contest and even performing fleas - which I presume were kept well away from the monkey house.
The Winter Gardens was an ambitious private development. You could have invested by going into Rhyl Town Hall and buying shares like this:
Click on the certificate to see a bigger version.
From a business point of view the Winter Gardens was not a great success. As the years passed it changed name to Rhyl Palace and Summer Gardens, and then the Old Gardens, before being sold off for residential development in the 1890s.
The Palace part was in Wellington Road, and the building remained a few years longer. The Palace also known as Rhyl Palace was a theatre suitable for public meetings, shows and music events; this came in handy during the visit of National Eisteddfod in 1904.
The following references are added here for indexing purposes:
Rhyl Winter Gardens Aquarium Land & Building Co Ltd, John Smith of Bures St Mary, Greenhalgh, William Ashton.