Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Here is an interesting example of a pavement and footpath divided by a wall. Where in Rhyl would you find this scene?

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 7th October 2009.



Vale RoadLast Wednesday I asked: where in Rhyl is the weathervane (or wind vane, if you prefer) shown in the smaller photograph above? The answer is Vale Road, opposite St. Margaret’s Drive. George Owen was the first with the right answer and he put it another way:

“The weathervane is on top of a stench pipe from the town drains at the corner of Madryn Avenue and Vale Road by the Shell Garage. A year or two back there was a plan to put a whopping great mobile phone mast right on that corner but residents aided by Chris Ruane MP successfully opposed what would have been a blot on landscape and a possible health risk.”


TUE 6th OCT 2009 UPDATE: I have been informed by a reliable source that this is not a weather vane (or wind vane); the arrow is in a fixed position. I have no intention of shinning up a stench pipe to see if the arrow swivels so I’ll take your word for it, Gareth!


Tuesday, 29 September 2009


Recently this postcard came my way. It is an unposted, undated card published by J.T. Burrows of Prestatyn and titled ‘A bit of old Prestatyn’. Oddly perhaps, it was printed in Berlin – an early example of globalism.

The picture itself serves as a reminder that Prestatyn is an older town than Rhyl. There was a time when the area on which Rhyl was eventually built was described as marshy land in the Prestatyn Hundreds (i.e. in the hundreds of acres administered by Prestatyn).

Unlike Prestatyn, Rhyl as a settlement does not go back to Roman times and beyond, although in the last century some Neolithic artefacts (fishermen’s tools probably) were found on Rhyl sands - including three axes which are now in the National Museum of Wales, Aberystwyth.


Monday, 28 September 2009


Martin Gane says, “This picture was taken in 1965-66 at Emmanuel School, We got to the final of Shield Trophy that season.”

Left to right:
In the back row: Mr. Evans, Mr. Williams, and Ivor Roberts the Headmaster.

Back row of boys: Roddy Witherspoon, Karl Lewis, Dave Roberts, Richard Jones, Mike Ingram, Duncan Siddall and Pete Bailey.

Front row: Dave Hughes, Andy Parr, Dave Adamson, Stephen Thomas, Martin is the lad with the ball on his knees, James Smith, Larry Roberts and Glyn West.


THU 16th SEP 2010 UPDATE: Sandra Dutton of Canada (was Sandra Lloyd) writes: "The young man at the end of the row is actually my younger brother Glyn Lloyd (not West). Stephen Thomas and I went to school together. Our whole Lloyd family went through Emmanuel, eldest to youngest – David, Rosemary, Christine, Sandra and Glyn."


Saturday, 26 September 2009


Cyril Henley, originator of Rhyl’s promenade skating rink, and his son Terry are deceased. This week on Thursday I had the pleasure of visiting Cyril’s other son, Mr. Robert (Bobby) Henley at his home in the west end of Rhyl. On the eve of his 74th birthday he looked extremely fit due to daily exercising and swimming. Bob became a roller skater of International class. After the promenade rink closed he taught skating in Rhyl High School's gymnasium for a few years.

"On the prom in the 1950s and ‘60s we were skating from 10am to 9pm," says Bob. "We had a lot of teams and put on shows and special events that drew big crowds; on some days we had as many as 1600 people there – more than at the shows in the Pavilion and the Open-Air Bathing Pool. Skating was hugely popular.”

The pictures above are from Bob’s collection.

The one at the top shows ‘The Shirley Five'. Left to right: Ann Elliott, Audrey Davies, Shirley Jones (leader), Muriel Mee and Gaynor Jones.

The other picture was taken on a Rhyl team visit to Herne Bay circa 1951.
Left to right:
Back row: Gaynor Williams (later Bellis), Eileen Garnett, Gillian Parry, Muriel Mee again (now Jones) and Gaynor Jones again (now Williams).
Front row: the late Audrey Davies, the late Shirley Jones (leader), Pat Barclay (now Wilkinson) and Ann Elliott (now Taylor).


SUN 22nd NOV 2015 UPDATE: Sorry to say Bob Henley passed away on 13th November 2015 at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, aged 80. I am grateful to Dilys Bagnall for letting me know.



Roller skating in Rhyl goes back at least as far the 1880s when it was a feature of the ill-fated Winter Gardens in Wellington Road. Later an indoor rink was created for a while in what had been the ballroom of the Queen’s Palace, West Parade, after the building was damaged by fire in 1907.

Before World War 2 there was a large skating rink on the south side of Wellington Road, quite far down towards Marine Lake; this one seems poorly documented – I have never seen a picture of it. The rink that is best remembered is the open-air one on the promenade in Pavilion Gardens opposite Water Street.

The rink on the prom was created in 1947-48 by Cyril Henley who is on the left in the picture above; he was running a rink for Herne Bay council in Kent and came here at the request of Rhyl council to establish one – and stayed to operate it. Cyril is pictured with his son Terry next to him, and his other son Bobby. Both boys looked after the place at various times. Terry was manager in 1991 when the rink closed to make way for new developments.



QueenTo complete the current crop of old pics from Bob Henley, here is a 1952 shot, left to right: Barbara Taylor, Gaynor Williams (later Bellis) who was Skating Queen that year, and the late Audrey Davies.

The tradition of having an annual Skating Queen fell by the wayside long before the rink closed. Skating remained popular though, and Bob Henley is still in love with it: “I’ve asked my wife Myra to make sure that when the time comes the coffin is 6 inches longer than the usual measurement so I can wear my skates when I go.”

My thanks to Bob for all that. I would like to make contact with Rhyl roller skater Carmelle Rainford who is believed to be living in Rhuddlan. If anyone knows her whereabouts, please let me know:


Friday, 25 September 2009


In North Wales we have children as young as 10 carrying guns and knives, smoking cannabis and committing sexual assaults. These are the children of a generation that allowed itself to become besotted with alcohol and illegal drugs; a number of their parents are too dysfunctional to provide any guidance.

The fashion for substance abuse, which dates back to the 1960s, probably contributes to a steady rise in the number of dementia (particularly Alzheimer’s) patients, which is growing anyway because we are living longer. It is predicted that in less than 20 years there could be a million people in the UK suffering dementia.

The cost of caring for these people is a time bomb for taxpayers of the future. Tough strategies against the alcohol industry and illegal drugs trade now might help to ease the situation in the future. It would be a disgrace if the main political parties continued into the next general election with no credible policies on these issues.


Thursday, 24 September 2009


This week on Tuesday evening I attended a rehearsal by Rhyl Liberty Players at Soar Chapel where Stroma Williams was directing ‘Cut And Run’ by Peter Horsler. The play is about the ideological struggle between the National Health Service and private health care – with a touch of ‘Carry On Doctor/Nurse’ thrown in. It looks hilarious.

A typical rehearsal,’ says Stroma ‘is one where someone fails to turn up’. Sure enough, someone failed to turn up. The picture above was taken by Yours Truly and shows Alan Benbow (left), Olga Mendel and George Kelly. Also in the cast are Liz Hughes, Phil Williams, Norma Leicester, Anita Swinburne Smith and Glyn Burrows.

If YOU are over 18 years of age and would like to try your hand at acting, operating lighting and/or sound equipment, designing and constructing sets, seeing to props and costumes, doing publicity work and so on, please contact The Libs’ secretary Karen Lees, tel (01745) 889565.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Today’s quiz question is: where in Rhyl is the weathervane (or wind vane, if you prefer) shown in the photo above?

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 30th September 2009.



Morfa HallLast Wednesday I posted this picture and asked you from what street in Rhyl you would see this scene. The answer is Church Street.

The turret is part of Morfa Hall. On the left of the picture is Morfa Lodge and on the right is Rhyl Library.


Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Ex-Rhylite Pauline Hammans (was Jones) now resides in Australia. She was in the front row of a picture that I posted just over a week ago of Rhyl Rollers roller skating team about 1970. See small picture above. Now, was she cute or was she cute?

Pauline has sent this photo of Rhyl Seagulls roller skating hockey team circa 1950. In back row, left to right are: Wilf 'Pip' Littleton, Cyril Henley, Mr. Taylor (father of Ross, below) and Harry Bennett.
In the front row, left to right: Fred Arnold, Ross Taylor, Arthur Roberts and Pauline’s father Daniel Jones who was the goalkeeper.

Thank you, Pauline. Lovely to hear from you.


Sunday, 20 September 2009


V. Trehearn, J.H. GriffithsThis 1926-27 photograph of a class at Christ Church School, Vaughan Street, came from Peter Trehearn of Savoy Enterprises, 7-13 West Parade (the block that includes Vern’s Amusements).

The picture was given by Mr. Trevor Hinder who is in the back row, second from left, to Peter’s father the late Vernon Trehearn (Vern!) who is in the front row, second from right.

In the back row, second from right, is the late J.H. (Jack) Griffiths who, like Vernon, became a Rhyl councillor. Jack is the author of the book ‘Parish Of Rhyl: a brief history of the parish and the parish church’ which was published in 1999.

Peter and I are not sure why there are only boys in the picture. Was there
a time when Christ Church School was for boys only, or were boys and girls segregated, or what?


Saturday, 19 September 2009


Recent acquisitions here at Jones Towers include these unused and undated postcards.

At the top we have a view of the skating rink on the prom, between Queen Street and Water Street. The site was on the east side of the original Rhyl Pavilion and bore the name Pavilion Gardens. The picture looks to be from the late 1970s/early ‘80s, by which time the Pavilion was gone.

It is a pity that there is no roller skating in Rhyl these days. Some people point to skateboarding as being its successor, but they can’t be looking closely or they would see that there are hardly any girls on skateboards. Girls like roller skating and tend to approach it as another way of dancing.

The other card shows part of Ocean Beach Fun Fair in 1960s. The ride that looks like a rollercoaster is the legendary Mad Mouse which was owned by John Butterworth. The Mad Mouse was a high-speed gravity ride with sharp cornering; it ricked the necks of an entire generation.

Also in this picture: Billy Williams' hot dogs stall!



Catholic Secondary SchoolThis week our local papers carried the story of parents, pupils, teachers, councillors and other politicians rallying to the call of Catholic parish priest Father Charles Ramsay to save Blessed Edward Jones' High School (shown above).

A few months ago it was announced that the sixth forms of Blessed Edward and Rhyl High School were to be combined on a new site at Llandrillo's Rhyl College in Cefndy Road. The idea was not universally welcomed but is going ahead anyway.

More recently came news of a plan to build a new secondary school on the site of Rhyl High to replace Rhyl High (without sixth form) and Blessed Edward (without sixth form). This would mean the end of Blessed Edward altogether.

Doing away with Catholic faith-based secondary education and replacing the popular Blessed Edward with a much bigger and more impersonal new school is not a plan that has wide public support.


Thursday, 17 September 2009


Twinkle Toes CardsThis evening the RhylCreate design/craft consortium held an official opening event at ‘Gallery 36’, 36 Kinmel Street. In attendance were Chris Ruane MP as a speaker, RhylCreate’s Lynda Waggett as a speaker, Ann Jones AM, the Mayor of Rhyl (Glyn Pickering) and other councillors, plus artists and craftspeople – and Yours Truly.

Pictured above are two of RhylCreate’s founder members. The upper picture is of Anne Morris, of Rhyl, showing some of the parchment work that she does with watercolour pencils; Anne produces wall hangings and hand-made cards. The lower picture is of Clare Steel, of Rhyl, whose speciality is hand-made cards marketed under the brand name Twinkle Toes Cards.

The gallery has been funded by various public bodies for the first 12 months and is doing well so far. The consortium hopes to acquire additional funding in the next year or two to set up studios for arts and crafts and help unemployed young people to learn the necessary skills.

Crafts and Art activities go some way towards offsetting the bad public image that Rhyl has gained in recent times.



I discovered this HMS Rhyl press cutting on Internet quite by chance. It is from Portsmouth Dockyard’s web site.

Regarding the names carved inside the ship’s bell, Helen Windus of Rhyl town council staff has examined the bell and reports that there are 15 names engraved inside. They appear to be as follows:

17.6.72 - Duncan Simon Williams
17.6.72 - Mark Shaun Herbert
17.6.72 - Sarah Kifton
17.6.72 - Steven John McManus
17.6.72 - Fiona Cooper
17.6.72 - Sandra Diane Cantrill
5.11.72 - Ian John Milton
12.11.72 - Sheraton Melissa Melanie Tait
5.6.76 - Patrick William Henry Brice
25.8.76 - Delwyn Barker
16.12.76 - Joy Claire Boyall
9.7.78 - Kristien John Watts
no year - Thomas Matthew Bradby
21 or 27.3.81 - Adam James Gold
20.4.86 - Gemma Louise Williams

On behalf of the sons and daughters of sea dogs, thank you Helen!


Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Dawn, an ex-Rhylite living in USA, has asked for a harder quiz. She has not lost her British sense of humour . . .

Well, I take the view that everybody’s memory needs to be stretched from time to time. Now from what street in Rhyl would you see this scene?

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 23rd September 2009.



Church Cemetery, Dyserth RoadLast Wednesday I posted a picture of the structure above (TOP) and asked where in Rhyl you would find it. George Owen was quick off the mark with the right answer. He says:

"This is the Entrance to Rhyl Church Cemetery on Dyserth Road. I am particularly familiar with this as my family had the gates refurbished in 2001 in memory of my late parents George and Elizabeth Owen, who ran the Little Pantry Grocers Shop, 128 Vale Road, in the 1960s and 70s. There is a memorial plaque on the inside of the gateway.

"Rhyl Church Cemetery is on the north side of the road (on the left as you leave Rhyl). The cemetery belongs to and is maintained by the Parish of Rhyl; I think it is full and burials take place only in existing family graves. The cemetery on the other side of the road, named Mynwent Maeshyfryd (trans: Beautiful Churchyard), is looked after by Denbighshire County Council."

Thank you, George.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Recently on this blog there was mention of a resident circus from 1949 to 1961 at Rhyl Pavilion; the big advert above is dated 1953. Circus promoter Captain Albert Prince-Cox, also ran aqua shows at the Open-Air Bathing Pool on the promenade.

A publicity photo of the company was an annual event. Lined up in the one above are clowns, acrobats, jugglers; the gentlemen with dinner jackets and bow ties are members of the orchestra. At the circus you could have seen performing dogs, lions and leopards, monkeys, horses and ponies, and if you were lucky an elephant who never forgot you.

Lots of info and pictures from the Pavilion’s circus can be found in book ‘The Spirit Of Rhyl’ by Bill Ellis.

As members of an audience we saw nothing wrong about keeping animals in captivity for our entertainment, but then we saw nothing wrong in blacked-up minstrel shows and women’s beauty contests either. Times change, society develops, we move on.

FRI 3rd MAR 2017 UPDATE: This newspaper cutting is dated 1957 and may be from Manchester Evening News. It shows Candy Ranga the circus elephant on the prom with minder Felicity Butcher.

MON 8th MAY 2017 UPDATE: Just arrived here at Jones Towers - the circus ensemble of  1957 and 1958. In both pix, in the front row are The Digger Pugh Girls and in the row behind them, centre with cigar, is Captain Prince-Cox himself:

Prince-Cox, Digger Pugh Girls
Prince-Cox, Digger Pugh Girls


WED 25th APR 2018 UPDATE: Rare pic showing one of the speciality acts at the Pavilion, Trio Hazmas from Sweden.


Monday, 14 September 2009


In May this year I posted the picture above (TOP) showing a scale model of HMS Rhyl and wondered about the fish-shaped artefact on the floor underneath the table. Mr. Douglas Brown has been in touch with an explanation. He says,

It was nice to see the model of HMS Rhyl on which I served from 1972-75. I believe the item under the table is a support for hanging the ship’s bell. A few people have asked me what became of the bell. It was used to baptize crew members’ children; I’m sure the names were engraved inside.

And some time ago this message came: My name is Kris Watts, and my father served on HMS Rhyl back in the 1970's. I myself was christened on the ship in 1977 and I've always been told my name was engraved on the ship’s bell. Do you know its whereabouts?

Yes, the scale model of HMS Rhyl, the bell holder and bell are all on display at Rhyl town council offices in Wellington Road; they are in the chamber where council meetings take place. To make an appointment there please phone (01745) 331114.

Mr. Douglas Brown concludes, It’s nice to see mementos of our ship are still around. I think the ship’s charity was Toc H in Rhyl. I felt sad when I saw pictures of HMS Rhyl being used for target practice. Ships now have the numbers painted out to avoid them being recognised by ex-crew members.


Sunday, 13 September 2009


May DayFrom Gaynor Williams comes this photograph which shows her late son Gareth Williams standing at the back, second from right. His sister Elizabeth is in the third row from the front, fourth from right wearing a white top.

The picture was taken about 1970 on the car park at Marine Lake just before the float carrying ‘Rhyl Rollers’ roller skating club members moved off to join the May Day parade.

THU 4th FEB 2010 UPDATE: Thanks to Mrs. Ceri Ann Swinney for sending the following identifications: "On the float, in the front row are, left to right: Ceri Ann Jones (me), Jane Evans, Pauline Jones, Don’t know, Joy Jones.
Second row, left to right: Melita Miles, Julie Henley, Joanne Henley, Helen Taylor.
Standing furthest left is Sue Roberts who was later a town and county councillor.”

FRI 11th AUG 2017 UPDATE: Something of a rare find these days - a Rhyl Rollers Skating Club badge.


Friday, 11 September 2009


ArtistThis is Martin Jones, painter and photographer, who participated in Helfa Gelf (Art Trail) for the first time in 2009. Helfa Gelf is an annual event in which artists and craftspeople in North Wales open their studios to the public.

Martin was born in Rhyl, has served in the RAF, and is an ex-landscape gardener (his father’s trade). He is passionate about nature and wildlife. His pictures of wild birds from the locality have been exhibited at Rhyl Library.

Martin can be contacted at 20 Palace Avenue, Rhyl, tel (01745) 354368.



Judith Samuel was another participant in Helfa Gelf 2009. Judith says, “I generally like to paint birds, sand and sea, or views of old Rhyl in oils or acrylics. I also make and sell greetings cards, mosaics and various craft items.”

Judith is well-rooted in the town. Her grandmother used to run a boarding house in Brighton Road, and now Judith lives in her gran’s house at 6 Seabank Road, tel: (01745) 334765, mobile 07931 177 479, email:



Next to Judith Samuel lives Roy Barry the photographer. Roy is from Conwy and has been in Rhyl about five years. He is an ex-professional sports photographer now specialising in landscapes, seascapes, water, shadows and selective colouring.

Roy sells mainly on Internet sites such as RedBubble, Saatchi Online and the photo gallery on GO2WEB20. He is at 8 Seabank Road, mobile 07725 242 152, email:


Thursday, 10 September 2009


Ysgol Emmanuel school choirIn June 1953 the present Queen Elizabeth II had her coronation. The following month she was here in Rhyl visiting Brookes’ field (between Rhyl and Rhuddlan) to see advance preparations for the National Eisteddfod’s visit in August.

Mrs. Joyce Simcock (was Taylor) of Rhyl says, “This is a picture of Ysgol Emmanuel Choir who were Eisteddfod winners that year. I am in the middle row, sixth from the left, and the gentleman in the front row looking pleased is Mr T.A. Williams the music teacher.”

Thank you, Joyce. In the enlarged detail, she is top left and Mr. Williams bottom right. Not many boys in the choir, I see – shirking as usual!

TUE 14th AUG 2018 UPDATE: One of the events at this Eisteddfod was a large-scale performance of Mendelssohn's biblical oratorio 'Elijah' with an orchestra from Liverpool.
The following is part of the programme; the list of participants looks like a mix of amateurs and professionals:

Click on the image to read small print.

The following names are added here for indexing purposes:
R.A. Butler politician,
Stanislav Pieczora singer Ena Mitchell, Patricia Kern singer Robert Thomas, Ernest Williams singer June Glynne Jones, Clive Berry singer,
Babbins Johnson dancer Arthur Solomons, 
June Appleton dancer Susan Benson, Pat Burrell dancer Joan Humphries, Gaynor Owen dancer Elizabeth Stubbs, Maureen Williams dancer Carol Wright, Margaret Hare dancer Pamela Jones, Miki Speak dancer Sybil Goodband, Einir Rowlands dancer,
Rev. W. Pritchard singer Arthur Higgins, John Edward Evans singer Donald Pryce Lloyd,
Gwilym Thomas singer J. Vaughan Jones, Hugh Jones singer Ken W. Platt,
David Parry singer Frank Hatch, Islwyn Parry singer Elfed Roberts, Errol Roberts singer Geraint Vaughan, A, Williams singer Edwin Williams, Terry Williams singer,
Tom Anwyl singer Tom Charles, G.C. Claridge singer Philip Griffiths, Joseph H. Jones singer G.W. Riches,
D.P. Hughes, G.E. Pritchard, Brenda Blazier, Joyce Holden, A.O. Evans, T.S. Simon.



knocking down

Gareth Morris, who is a dab hand at the quiz, kindly loaned the larger image above (TOP). It is one of his photographs of the demolition of Rhyl Pavilion in 1974. He was working in Rhyl at the time and took the photos himself.

Rhyl Pavilion had opened in 1908 on the promenade in the vicinity of the present Skytower. The lower picture - an undated postcard - shows the building within a few years of the opening.

The Pavilion was built by the county council (Flintshire at the time) and managed by Rhyl Urban District Council. It was the town’s principal theatre; some of the biggest star performers appeared there. In early 1930s the building underwent internal alterations to become a theatre with ballroom and cabaret.

In the evenings the big white dome used to light up and change colours. During World War 2 the dome was camouflaged as an air-raid safety precaution. After the war, big shows continued at the Pavilion but public tastes were changing, audience numbers were falling and maintenance costs were rising.



knocking down
Rhyl Pavilion was rumoured to be unsafe from the start, probably because it was built quickly; one commentator said that it had been “. . . thrown up in barely 10 weeks” and J.W. Jones, Rhyl's first historian, in his book 'Rhyl The Town And Its People' said 14 weeks.

There were no major safety problems, but in summer seasons from 1949 to 1961 there was a resident circus at the Pavilion and this is said to have caused a lot of wear and tear around the stage area.

Inspections towards the end of the 1960s, when the building was well over half a century old, indicated that a massive amount of money would be needed to bring the place up to standard. The money wasn’t there; the National Lottery heritage fund did not exist in those days. From a county council point of view, demolition was unavoidable.

The council insisted that the Pavilion was unsafe. Rhyl people were not convinced, especially during demolition when they saw the big dome hit the ground in one piece. Thirty-five years later, the matter still rankles among the oldest generation of townspeople. The picture is once again from Gareth Morris. Thank you, Gareth.

WED 6th JUN 2018 UPDATE: From unknown source, here is another view of demolition. I wonder if the foundation stone really wound up in this position or was placed deliberately for effect. Either way, a good shot.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Although the structure in this photograph this looks rather un-Rhyl, I assure you that it is within the boundary of the town. Where is it?

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 16th September 2009.



North Wales Training AgencyLast week I said of this derelict building that it looks like a house converted to business premises. The front bears the signs Unit 1 and Unit 2. So where in Rhyl would you find this?

The answer is Victoria Road (off Vale Road). The building is part of a derelict site on a corner of Victoria Road and Vale Park. To the right of the building is Emmanuel School.

The first correct answer came from Gareth Morris who adds, “During the late 1980s the building was used as a training office (North Wales Training Agency) offering courses in computer skills etc.”

Well done Gareth, and I can add that Denbighshire County Council has granted planning permission for housing to be created on the site.


Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Ex-Rhylite Mr. A. Davies, who retired to a village near Torquay, likes old advertisements which pop up here occasionally. He says of the adverts for Marine Hydro (28 July) and Holborn Restaurant (12 Aug), “. . . they carry the full stamp of their times”.

I know what you mean, Mr. Davies.

Here is another from the early 1950s for the Rendezvous in West Parade, owned by a Mrs. M. Wright who may or may not have been one of the Wright family that has owned a number of cafes and pubs in Rhyl.

In the last few years the Rendezvous has been swept away; the building has become part of a block of flats.