Monday, 30 November 2009


Three town centre bars have been caught selling drinks to under-18s. They are Boswell’s (currently known as Rumours at Boswells) in Bodfor Street, The Grapevine in Water Street and Venue4Events in High Street. By way of agreed punishment the bars will be closed for 48 hours from Friday 11 Dec at 7pm to Sunday 13 Dec at 7pm.

Two girls aged 15 working on behalf of North Wales Police and Denbighshire County Council were able to buy alcohol in 13 out of 15 licensed premises in the north of the county.

According to Daily Post reporter Kelly Barker, only Zu Bar in West Parade and Rendezvous in Water Street asked the children for identification.


Sunday, 29 November 2009


World War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great WarA reader who wishes to remain anonymous - how mysterious - has sent this seasonal item. It is a photograph taken at Christmas circa 1916, during World War 1, at "a Rhyl hospital".

It could be the Royal Alexandra Hospital but is far more likely to be the temporary Red Cross hospital at the Men's Convalescent Institution in Bedford Street.

Does anybody know for sure? Please get in touch:



Correspondence about skating continues to roll in. Many readers remember this particular activity fondly and pose unanswerable questions such as, ‘Why doesn’t Rhyl have a roller skating rink anymore?’

The larger picture above is from Rhyl History Club Community Archive and shows the rink on the promenade c.1948-49, shortly after it opened. The smaller picture is a detail which shows that among the skaters are a couple of soldiers.

World War 2 ended in 1945 but National Service, i.e. compulsory call-up for military training continued until 1960.

TUE 10th APR 2018 UPDATE: Pix of trainee soldiers at Kinmel Park Camp, Bodelwyddan, after World War 2 had ended -

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Radio training


Saturday, 28 November 2009


The Grosvenor Temperance Hotel (no alcohol) stood on a corner of Bodfor Street and Kinmel Street; the advert above is dated c.1902. The colour picture captures the same corner photographed recently showing Thomas Estates 36-38 Bodfor Street on the ground floor. Both pictures are from George Owen.


Friday, 27 November 2009


There was a time when Rhyl Urban District Council ran virtually all local services and employed a lot of administrative staff and manual workers to deal with such things as electricity and gas. Our soccer correspondent Dave Williams thinks that the utilities split from the council in 1947; the day of departure was known as ‘Vesting Day’.

Dave has come up with this picture taken before that time. One of the teams is made up of RUDC administrative staff and the other of manual workers. Sitting in the middle of the front row is John Hinder (who went to the Gas Board). In the second row, far left is Merfyn Jones sitting next to Freddie Roberts, and far right is Eric Roberts.

In the third row, 2nd from left is Gwyn Jones (went to Gas Board), 5th from left is Tommy Hughes, and 7th from left is Albert Jones. In the back row, 3rd from left is Henry Williams (went to Electricity Works, Victoria Road), 4th is Bill Williams, and at the end is Eric Armstrong (went to Gas Board).


Thursday, 26 November 2009


As a P.S. to previous posts about the artist Robert Evans Hughes ('Bob the painter') here is another photo from Ann Hayes. In this group Bob is sporting a trilby hat. Who are the other people? If you happen to know please send email to:



During the course of recent rows about the future of secondary education in Rhyl, the head of Rhyl High School slipped away and has been replaced by Claire Armitstead who is currently Deputy Head of a school in Wrexham. Mrs. Armitstead lives in Chester and is quoted on Denbighshire County Council’s web site a follows:

"I am truly honoured and delighted to be appointed to the post of headteacher at Rhyl High School. I look forward to working with Rhyl’s students, staff, governors and parents to build on the existing good work already underway to create a school we can all be proud of. There are some exciting challenges ahead but I am confident that by working together as a community we can ensure all our young people achieve the success they deserve."

'Some exciting challenges ahead' sounds like an understatement.

Good luck, Mrs. Armitstead.



Faded by time but with beauty undimmed, here are the ‘Ribbons and Laces’ girls as they appeared in the pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’. The picture is a newspaper cutting sent by Geoff Banks who says,
‘It’s from about 1956-57 when Rhyl Children’s Theatre Club was based in Abbey Street and putting on pantos at the Queens Theatre in West Parade or at the Town Hall.’

The girls in the front row are (left to right): Joan Roberts, Iona Kerfoot Hughes, Pauline Tuson and Delphine Beech. In the back row: Christine Banks, Jacqueline Suddaby, Pauline Brookes, Jacqueline Gray, Rita Bromley and Margaret McMasters.


Wednesday, 25 November 2009


This picture was taken in Rhyl a few days ago near the town centre, and the question is:

Where is Bellview Terrace?

Please note that there is no ‘e’ on the end of Bell.

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 2nd December 2009.



Last Wednesday I said, "Above is a photograph taken in Rhyl a week or two ago. Where was I standing when I took the photo?"

Answer: Rhydwen Drive.

I was standing in Rhydwen Drive with a telephone box on my right, and looking towards Marsh Road. The black and white house in centre of picture is 151 Marsh Road.


Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Rhyl Pavilion opened in 1908 with an orchestra in residence. The Rhyl History Club Community Archive photograph above (TOP) shows the orchestra in 1910. Players would have been high calibre and adaptable enough to produce a wide variety of styles, but chances are they had to stick to classical, romantic and light music, and not play anything 'vulgar' like popular dance music.

The Pavilion’s music and entertainment policies moved with the times – perhaps about a mile behind – and in the early 1930s the building was converted into a theatre with ballroom and cabaret. The ballroom did not lure too many dancers away from Queens in West Parade, nevertheless it was a handy venue for local song and dance acts and visiting dance bands.

The advert above is from the official tourist guide book of 1948 and it shows how the ballroom (the floral ballroom if you don’t mind) had become an attraction in its own right. Within a decade though, public tastes would start to shift slowly away from glamorous ballrooms and formal dancing. The writing was on the wall, and the kid holding the chalk was a bad lad called rock ‘n’ roll.


These references are noted here for indexing purposes: Eric Easton, Nat Gonella, Jazz.]



Coastal Hawks ProjectThere was a time when Rhyl used the image of a seagull for promotional purposes, and there was even a roller skating team named Rhyl Seagulls. Townspeople, visitors and birds seemed to co-exist happily enough.

In recent years there has been much snarling and whinging about so-called aggressive behaviour by seagulls, and even barbaric calls for their slaughter. An alternative approach has been suggested by the Coastal Hawks Project whose idea is to scare gulls away from town centre by parading birds of prey. Just the presence of a hawk is enough to put gulls in fear of their lives – so they fly away.

This bullying and threatening tactic is preferable to killing the gulls or sabotaging eggs. It has novelty appeal and should find public support.
I congratulate the organisers for showing initiative and imagination but would fall short of giving the project personal support.

My view remains that the difficulties are caused by people eating in the streets and failing to dispose of food waste sensibly. Birds are not a problem, human beings are.

THU 19th MAR 2015 UPDATE: Sad to note here that Councillor Michael 'Mike' Espley, an originator of the Coastal Hawks Project, a contributor of a couple of old Rhyl photos to this blog, and an ex-landlord of mine, died suddenly on Wednesday 26th February 2014 aged 56.


Monday, 23 November 2009


Mostyn HotelThe advert above is dated 1915 and was provided by George Owen. The Mostyn Hotel stood on a corner of High Street and Wellington Road and was in existence as far back as the 1830s although it may have been rebuilt at some time. It would be reasonable to presume a connection with the Mostyn family who were big property owners in North Wales.

The colour photo was taken today by Yours Truly in  drizzle and shows that the corner in question is now occupied by Boomers toys and gifts.


Sunday, 22 November 2009


Rhyl Open Air Bathing Pool, BathsRhyl likes things to do. Enthusiastic feedback about activities such as roller skating and swimming is evidence of this.

The Open-Air Bathing Pool known as 'The Baths' operated from 1930s to 1970s. The advert above is from the official tourist guide book of 1948.

The black-and-white photo is from Rhyl History Club Community Archive and shows Rhyl Amateur Swimming Club at The Baths in 1967.
Left to right:
Standing at the back : Jim Smith, Don't know, Al Mutch, Billy Moffatt and Don't know.
Sitting in front: Paula Smith, Don't know, Margaret Stewart, Maurice Cotterill and Don't know.

Who knows the Don't knows? Please send your identifications to:


TUE 25th AUG 2015 UPDATE: Just arrived here at Jones Towers is this 1960s shot of The Baths:

FRI 24th JUN 2016 UPDATE: Roy Dowell reports that the Don’t know between Jim Smith and Al Mutch looks like Robert Armstrong. Roy and Robert were Scouts at 2nd Rhyl.

MON 15th MAY 2017 UPDATE: Roger Percival writes, "Just to help you with identification of the people in the (black-and-white) photo, the person next to Al Mutch on the right is my brother Frank Percival. Hope this is of help. I also think it is earlier than 1967 probably 1962 -3 or 4."
Thank you, Roger.



newspaper columnistReaders outside North Wales may be unaware that the sportsman and journalist Orig Williams has passed away at the age of 78. He gained fame wrestling as El Bandito and was associated with soccer as a player and manager. In recent years Orig and his wife Wendy were moving forces behind the summer season wrestling at Rhyl Town Hall, and he wrote a regular column for Daily Post in Welsh language.

He died in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan on Thursday 12th November; the funeral was at Clwyd Street Chapel in Rhyl on Friday 20th with an estimated 500 people in attendance. Orig went to his final resting place with a Welsh Dragon flag draped over the coffin.


Saturday, 21 November 2009


RhylRhylIn 1921 Mr. Billie Manders, a female impersonator, and his concert party of entertainers named The Quaintesques played the first of many summer seasons in the Pier Amphitheatre which was at the shore end of the pier, roughly where the Seaquarium is now.

The pictures above were taken in 1930 and are from Rhyl History Club Community Archive. In the group picture Mr. Manders is the one standing with his hands on shoulders of the chap in front. Then it was an all-male company; eventually it became a mixed company.

The advert is from the official tourist guide book of 1948. Mr. Manders died in 1950 when he was in his early fifties. The show carried on under the watchful eye of his widow Gladys with the help of producer/director/ singer/dancer Al Dixon. The Quaintesques continued until 1962 and then withdrew having played 42 consecutive seasons.

A member of the company in its final few years was female impersonator- comedian-singer Johnny Dallas. He went on to be a favourite at the Amphitheatre after it had been renamed the Gaiety, and at the Queens Showbar in West Parade. His death was reported this month.

There is a 30-page chapter on Billie Manders & the Quaintesques and a portrait of Johnny Dallas in the book 'Entertainment In Rhyl And North Wales' by Bill Ellis, published 1997. Recommended.


Friday, 20 November 2009


Arcville CollegeThe name of Arcville College has been mentioned a couple of times on this blog. In its earliest days Arcville must have been at the eastern end of Russell Road and seems to have been originally a girls' school.

The picture above (TOP) dates from 1918 and shows a bunch of mainly miserable Arcville girls in fancy dress – proof that there is nothing more depressing than enforced jollity. Christmas & New Year party enthusiasts please note.

In the mid 1940s Arcville College was bought by a Mrs. M.I. Pearson; by that time it was at 87 Russell Road. Mrs. Pearson also bought the Poplars Preparatory School, St. Margaret's Drive and moved the Poplars pupils to Arcville.

The colour picture shows 87 Russell Road as it is today: Dolanog private care home for the elderly.


MON 12th OCT 2015 UPDATE: Found on Internet an Arcville College advertisement dated 1947.
Click on it to read the small print.


Thursday, 19 November 2009


stationeryesGreen Shield StampsFrom Rhyl History Club Community Archive come these photos which were taken at various times during 1960s. They show shops in Bodfor Street, Rhyl. Above (top) is Hadleys Typewriter Co at No.9 which has remained a similar kind of business, currently Conrad Office & Art.

The middle picture shows Mr. Jack Hughes' cycle and pram shop on a corner of Kinmel Street and Bodfor Street; on the site had once been the Grosvenor Hotel. You would now find Thomas Estates on the ground floor with flats above.

Finally, there is the Tesco supermarket that used to be in the space now occupied by Argos and Help The Aged and what is or was a theory test centre for drivers.

Mention of Tesco still evokes memories of Green Shield stamps!

Readers with a special interest in Bodfor Street should look for the book So What’s So Special About Bodfor Street? by Linda Owen (published 1999). It's a well researched history of the street from 1850 onwards, with illustrations.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Since Denbighshire County Council took over the administration of Rhyl in mid 1990s it has become apparent that the county has difficulties in the field of education.

Following inspectors' reports, special measures had to be taken to sort some schools. When a vacancy occurred for Chief Executive of the council the job went to Dr. Mohammed Mehmet partly because of his experience in education.

Neverthless, recent moves to combine sixth forms in Rhyl and a proposal to merge the secondary schools, have not been welcomed universally - and now we hear that our public library services are to be cut.

Less than 12 months ago there was a successful public campaign to save Rhuddlan Library from closure, and some years ago there was an unsuccessful campaign to try and get Rhyl Library to break its antiquated habit of closing at 12.30 on Saturdays.

The struggle to maintain basic front-line educational services seems never-ending and it shouldn't be like this. Rhyl Library is in the county ward of Rhyl West, recognised to be an area of deprivation. Library cuts have a serious impact. Poorer families can't afford to buy books and computers.

There can be no justification for cutting library services in Rhyl West.



Above is a photograph taken in Rhyl a week or two ago. Where was I standing when I took the photo?

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 25th November 2009.



Last Wednesday I said, "Above is a photograph taken in Rhyl a few weeks ago. Where was I standing when I took the photo?"

Answer: Westbourne Avenue.
I was standing in Westbourne Avenue with Rhyl Bowling Club on my right. The prominent house is 'The Towers', 39 Seabank Road.

First with the correct answer was Jane Shuttle, with Peter Trehearn only a few minutes behind and his wife Linda in third place. Linda admits to having a thing about towers and once climbed a water tower in Rhuddlan Road – clearly a spirited gal.


Tuesday, 17 November 2009


To bolster our collection of Rhyl lifeboat photographs, here are a couple more from Gaynor Williams taken on fundraising days. The one at the top is dated 1934 and shows Caroline Richardson II (which was on station from 1897 to 1939). The other photo is from about 1950 and shows the Anthony Robert Marshall (1949 to 1968).

In 2009 the Rhyl lifeboat station's Flag Day was held on 8th August to coincide with our first air show which attracted an estimated 25,000 people. Flag Day takings were over 3 times as much as in previous years, but more money is always needed. To make a donation to RNLI online please click here:


Monday, 16 November 2009


Open Air Swimming PoolThis blurry picture is a still from a home movie circa 1960. The sequence was shot during a beauty contest at the Open-Air Bathing Pool which was on the prom (more or less opposite Bath Street); the ladies are unknown. I've been waiting for an excuse to use the picture, so here it is to illustrate a query from Faith Puleston Jones who recalls a character associated with the pool in 1950s and '60s. Faith says:

"We went to the pool either from school or in free time, and there was always an announcer. She was a woman of indeterminate years with a rather well-focused speaking voice that she used for commenting during shows and generally keeping order over the loudspeakers. She was tall and slim with a straight back, and she had (bleached?) blonde hair, presumably long, entwined in a severe hair-do. She may have been a dancer in her youth; maybe she grew too tall to become a professional. My mother lived in Russell Road for many years and I can remember this announcer striding past our house. I wonder if anybody has some information about her."


TUE 17th NOV 2009 UPDATE: Bill Ellis reports that the lady in question was Miss Newport who taught music and elocution at the infants school he attended: the convent school in Russell Road. The school has been demolished. It was near the junction with Queens Walk.

Jane Shuttle thinks Miss Newport's first name was Iris or Irene. Jane and her sister Sue (maiden names Jackson) were members of the swimming club and everyone called the pool 'The Baths'. The water was unheated – wouldn't suit young swimmers today!

THU 19th NOV 2009 UPDATE: Gaynor Williams confirms that Miss Newport's first name was Irene, and says Miss Newport was a very accomplished pianist who played for classes and examinations at Madam Lewis' School of Dancing, Mount Road.

THU 7th JAN 2010 UPDATE: Doreen Jones says Irene Newport was from The Wirral and during World War 2 played piano for the Manchester Repertory Company which was based at Rhyl Pavilion.

TUE 9th FEB 2010 UPDATE: Mike Demack reports, "The lady in the foreground with purple hat may be Margaret Hough, later Wilson. I recall that she worked at R.L. Davies' in High Street; it was a haberdashers and ladieswear shop which may or may not have been involved in sponsorship at the baths. I recall that the promenade clock at the top of High Street used to be referred to as R.L.’s clock."

WED 15th APR 2015 UPDATE: A note from the files of the late Glyn Rees confirms that the promenade clock, or clock tower if you like, was a gift from Councillor and Mrs. R.L. Davies.


Sunday, 15 November 2009


Amateur dramatics, Welsh languageAmateur dramatics, Welsh languageThe following post was revised Sat 13th Feb 2010 in accordance with additional information received from Philip Lloyd:

These photographs from Geoff Banks show a Welsh language theatre company named Cwmni’r Foryd, circa 1961. The smaller photo is a snapshot taken during a rehearsal. Both pictures were taken at the Little Theatre Club in Abbey Street.

In the larger picture sitting in front, far right is Chris Rees and next to him is Nan Evans his future wife. Standing at the back, far left is Enid Williams who became the wife of Dr. David Roberts of Rhyl, the local medical officer of health – they moved to Bangor, Gwynedd.

Next to Enid is Geoff's auntie Hulena Jones (in case that looks like a typing error, Geoff says: "Her father/my grandfather was Rev. Hugh Hughes Jones of Trelogan, and maybe that's where the 'Hu' bit came from.") and next is Geoff's mother Iona Banks.

Fourth from left is Robin Jones who died in January 2010 at the age of 71. Mr. Jones was born in Abergele, raised in Rhyl and a teacher in Prestatyn before becoming in 1982 the first presenter on S4C as well as a newsreader on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru. Behind him is Valmai Williams who was an infants school teacher in Dyserth.

A press review of Cwmni’r Foryd’s production of the play 'Lle Mynno'r Gwynt' by J. Gwilym Jones, lists Iona as producer as well as a member of the cast, and apart from company members already mentioned above, these names are given: Gwilym Hughes, Peter Griffiths, Aeron Evans, Phil(ip) Lloyd and Derek Johnson.

Geoff, good boy that he was, was helping out backstage.


Saturday, 14 November 2009


Rhyl promenadeIn Europe the Second World War came to an end in 1945; Victory in Europe (VE) Day was in May. Japan surrendered on 15th August and this is usually thought of as Victory in Japan (VJ) Day.

The photo above was taken on VJ Day on Rhyl promenade. Local press reports say that celebrations took place on the following day, Thursday 16th, to coincide with other events already arranged. A total of 18 residents' street parties were reported and holidaymakers happily joined in. The clouds of war had lifted at last.

Ladies on the prom are (left to right); Mair Hope Griffiths, Dorothy Beech, Joan Roberts and Enid Roberts; Joan and Enid were sisters. The picture is from Rhyl History Club Community Archive.



These shots of a Caernarvon v. Rhyl match in 1954 come from soccer fan Dave Williams and they conjure up memories of a bygone era of comparative innocence in the game and good times for Rhyl F.C.

The team won the North Wales Coast Challenge Cup in 1953-54 and again in 1954-55, and earlier in that decade they won The Welsh Cup twice.  You can read about the history of the club on Wikipedia:

Official website:

FRI 7th SEP 2018 UPDATE: From the early 1960s - a wax wrapper, number 59 of 72 in Anglo-American Chewing Gum's series Noted Football Clubs.

Anglo-American Chewing Gum Ltd of Halifax was a company owned by Mackintosh's Toffee. 


Friday, 13 November 2009


Pam Gardner and her husband Darran have been studying their family history and are short of a picture of Green Bank Square, Rhyl. Pam says:

"My husband's family moved to Rhyl from Corwen/Denbigh in the 1860's. They lived in various places such as Morfa Bach where Rifkin's is now, and in a boarding house in Crescent Road, but the place that has intrigued us is Green Bank Square which was off High Street in the area where Marks & Spencer is now. I was hoping you would possibly help us by putting a request on your website asking if anyone has a picture of Green Bank Square."

Fingers crossed Pam, let's see if anybody can oblige by sending info to:


Thursday, 12 November 2009


Rita Landi was born in Breconshire and trained as a coloratura soprano in Italy. She was active as a singer in the 1910s and '20s and then became a teacher. Miss Landi lived at Bettws Fawr which is now part of the county of Gwynedd, and then at Haulfryn in Bath Street, Rhyl, for 40 years. She was the founder and conductor of Rhyl & District Ladies Choir formed in 1931.

They were the first choir in North Wales to broadcast on radio. The ladies of the choir wore blue gowns and red capes and sang to prize-winning effect at eisteddfodau and at an international festival in Madrid in 1949 and 1953. On the second occasion in Spain they were awarded the title "champions of the world" - and that was a real feather in Miss Landi's cap.

The choir sang at local venues such as St. Thomas' Church and Rhyl Pavilion, and at Royalty Theatre Chester, and made two visits to Ireland. Miss Landi taught at four private schools in Rhyl: Colet House in East Parade, Elwy Hall in Grange Road, and Arcville and Blencathra in Russell Road. She also ran Rhyl & District Children's Choir.

Copyright in the photograph belongs to Getty Images. It shows Rita Landi conducting a choir on January 1st, 1951 at Gwrych Castle.



RhylRita Landi is centre of front row in the picture above; the pendant that she and some of the choir members are wearing was a memento of their festival success in Madrid.

One singer to receive tuition from Miss Landi at an early age and eventually become professional was Faith Puleston Jones (mezzo-soprano) who studied at Royal Academy of Music and then went to sing opera in Germany and retired recently.

Choir regulars mentioned in 1950s press cuttings include: Mrs. Morris Jones, Miss Edith Jones, Mrs. M. Singleton, Mrs. Dorothy Lomas, Mrs. Bryn Evans, Maureen Robinson ALCM ATCL, Miss Gwladys Jones, Mrs. Katharine Banks and Mrs. D.W. Jones (chairman of the choir).

Miss Landi retired in 1963. Nearly 70 past and present members of the choir turned up at a farewell dinner. She went to live in Sussex and made one or two return visits to the Rhyl district.

George Owen recalls the children's choir taking part in a recording at Gwrych Castle and the music being on the soundtrack of a film about champion boxer Randolph Turpin who was training there with sparring partners such as Derek Weale from Rhyl.

Does anybody else remember the film? Please send information to:


Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Above is a photograph taken in Rhyl a few weeks ago. Where was I standing when I took the photo?

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 18th November 2009.



Kinmel Street, Windsor StreetLast Wednesday I posted the photographs above and said, “The cottage at the top and the other old building (which has a faded sign saying Mews Sales Rooms) are fairly close to each other. Where in Rhyl would you see them?"

Answer: In an alley between Kinmel Street and Windsor Street.
The two buildings are on same side of the alley, and just to the right of Mews Sales Rooms is Rhyl Silver Band's HQ.

First with the correct answer was Moira Evans of Russell Road.