Wednesday, 30 December 2009


This photograph was taken a couple of months ago in Rhyl. The tilt is deliberate.

What is the scene in the photo?

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 6th January 2010.



coach parkLast Wednesday I posted a larger version of the photograph above and said: Where was I standing when I took the photo? The answer: I was standing in the car/coach park in Crescent Road.

First with the right answer were Rhyl fans Lloyd and Kerry Adams of Cannock who said, “The Skytower column in the pic gave it away.”

It was a detail from the following:


This is one of many shots of Ocean Beach Fun Fair added by Gordon Langley to Facebook's ‘Petition to bring back Rhyl fun fair’ which has more than 100 members. The petition is for sending to Denbighshire County Council, but the council has no control in this matter. Ocean Beach Fun Fair – like many of Rhyl’s old attractions – was created by private enterprise.

Rhyl Amusements Ltd, comprising the Robinson brothers and Dave Skelly, owned the fair and the land beneath and took the decision to sell. The rides were removed but the buying company Modus failed to go ahead with its proposed Ocean Plaza housing & retail development.

Yesterday in Daily Post, a story by reporter Martin Williams indicated that an un-named buyer has expressed an interest in taking over the land for unknown purposes. No contracts have been signed yet.

Thanks to Rachel Sorahan for drawing my attention to the story.

Note: The proposed Ocean Plaza development was replaced by Marina Quay.


Tuesday, 29 December 2009


I received your email asking about Rhyl lifeboat Anthony Robert Marshall but my reply bounced back undelivered.

I can tell you it was bought with a legacy left by a Mr. Anthony Robert Marshall of Liverpool about whom I have no information. He may have left the money to RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) generally rather than to Rhyl station specifically. Whichever the case, it was a useful gesture. This lifeboat served us from 1949 to 1968. It was called out 102 times and saved 51 lives.




beach sands donkeysHere are more photos of Rhyl pier, originally named the Victoria Pier. It was fashionable to name things after Victoria (Queen from 1837 to 1901), especially piers as she expressed a liking for them. Other piers have the same name including the one at Colwyn Bay.

The photos are dated 1890 but may have been taken a year or two earlier. The structure halfway along is a small theatre originally named Bijou Pavilion. At the time, the pier was under private ownership and there was an admission charge. The nearest picture shows pay booths at the entrance.

In the last few weeks I’ve received messages asking where it was located, so let me repeat here that the pier was opposite Church Street. If the pier were there today, it would be behind the Seaquarium.


THU 19th AUG 2010 UPDATE: In response to a query from reader Michael White, I can confirm that there was an admission charge on the pier until after World War 2. The pier was made toll-free in time for the 1947 summer season.


Thursday, 24 December 2009


This photograph is from the collection of Roy Turner. It was taken in April 1959 at Portsmouth and shows the launching of HMS Rhyl. The ship was named by Lady Dorothy Macmillan who was the wife of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Roy on behalf of Rhyl Urban District Council was a guest of honour.


Wednesday, 23 December 2009


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

A nice easy question for Christmas!

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



Last Wednesday I posted the photographs above and said, these two streets are cul-de-sacs and they are consecutive turnings off a well known road in Rhyl. What are the names of the streets?

At the top is Gwenarth Drive and the other is Dorchester Close. [They are consecutive turnings off Bryn Cwnin Road.]

First with a correct reply was Mike Demack who is involved with Rhuddlan Local History Society which was formed two years ago. The Society is looking at ways of creating a web site, and that would certainly interest me. I grew up in Rhuddlan. Yes, beneath the urban sophistication beats the heart of a village boy . . .


Tuesday, 22 December 2009


I have been saving this for Christmas week. It's a photograph of a Rhyl Liberty Players’ Christmas Party c.1957, sent in by Geoff Banks.

Gaynor Williams, Diana Jones, John Williams and Frank Rowley have helped sort the who’s who, and thanks to Mr. Rowley we know the photo was taken at the Phillips family residence in East Parade, Rhyl.

Front row (left to right): Don’t know, Molly Nash, Veronica Dyson, Ann Lodwick, Pat Mumford, Gillian Phillips, Iona Banks (Geoff’s mother), Cyril Jones as a gaucho.

Sitting behind (l to r): Moira Macbeth in conical hat, Mrs. Cooper (Molly Nash’s mother), Barbara Davies, Walter Phillips (yes it is a man), Helen Rawling in dark top, Miss Phillips (Walter’s sister), Edna Philips as a nurse, Mr. Shaw (Helen Rawling's father), Hulena Jones in white top (Geoff’s auntie), Don’t know lady on the end.

Standing (not including the three at the back): Don’t know. Don’t know policeman, Arfon Rawling (Helen's husband), Mr. Mumford (?), Les Hayes, Maureen Wyatt, David Wyatt, Myfanwy Higgins (was Wyatt), Reg Phillips in dark jacket and tie, Ron Davies as a cricketer, Geoffrey Banks (Geoff’s father).

The three at the back: Phil Nash, Alan Eryri Jones (Geoff’s uncle) as cowboy, then another Don’t know.

Readers with an interest in local amateur dramatics have asked me to convey their thanks to Geoff for the theatre items he has sent. Yes indeed, and thanks to all my contributors for fine pictures and information.


Monday, 21 December 2009


Click on advert to see small print.

The McCartney & Samples advert at the top is from a Rhyl Grammar School publication dated 1935. (Rhyl County School at that time, the change of name seems to have taken place shortly after World War 2).

The shop, also referred to as The Gold Medal Cake Shop, is advertised as 13 Water Street which was recently Orama Radio & TV, previously F. Matthews, but elders say that’s not where McCartney & Samples was. Has Water Street been renumbered since 1935?

The B & G Stores advert is from a Rhyl Grammar School publication dated 1965. The shop's Queen Street address is given as No.35 which is now Dixie Dean’s gift shop on a corner of Sussex Street. David and Christine at Dixie’s have no knowledge of B & G ever having been there. They remember it being lower down Queen Street, i.e. in the left-hand section of the furniture and beds shop in the colour photo. Has Queen Street been renumbered since 1965?


TUE 12th JAN 2010 UPDATE: A reader has queried Fairholme, the school at the foot of the list in the B & G advert. I can advise that Fairholme was and still is an independent primary/prep school at The Mount, Mount Road, St. Asaph. The Mount was the former home of a member of the Pilkington glass-making family; the school moved there in 1964 (a year before the advert) having been in the town of Denbigh since 1900.


Sunday, 20 December 2009


Rose QueenResearch is continuing about Rhyl’s Rose Day, an annual event which seemed to fall out of fashion in the early 1950s. Meanwhile, here is a Rose Day photo from early 1940s. Rose Queen Nancy with her tiara would be wearing a pink dress. The picture is from Gaynor Williams (was Jones) who is sitting in the front row on the left.

At that difficult time of world war, extreme austerity and shortages, continuing with events such as Rose Day and of course May Day, was a way of clinging to normality and community routine in a defiant sort of way, as if to say ‘We are not going to be put off by danger and hardship;
we are going about our business as usual’.

WED 15th APR 2015 UPDATE: A note from the files of the late Glyn Rees indicates that our first Rose Day was in August 1922 and our first Rose Queen was Miss Beatrice Gibbs of 9, Osborne Grove, Rhyl.



This photograph shows the scene outside my door this morning.

On days like this the prospect of snuggling down in a cosy pub may seem attractive. Alcohol is an insidious drug, an enemy posing as a friend. Last week in Daily Post, Martin Williams reported that North Wales is the third worst place in UK for heavy drinking.

In Wales as a whole, nearly 13,000 people a year turn up in hospital for alcohol-related reasons, and booze kills a thousand a year. The damage done to individuals and communities is serious and the cost to social services, police and health services, is enormous.

Dr. Tony Jewell the Chief Medical Officer for Wales calls for more education about the harm that alcohol can do, and he would like to see a minimum price per unit. He calls for stricter rules against promoting alcohol, and higher tax on booze.

In the same week, a Conservative Party booklet was delivered to households in Rhyl district, clearly promoting alcohol and calling for lower tax on booze. At the heart of the Tories' concern is decline in the number of pubs. The Party need not worry. There is an old saying, ‘Nothing good ever came out of a pub’. It was true then and it’s still true.

FRI 15th JAN 2010 UPDATE: So far this month, ministers at Welsh Assembly Government and the new-ish Chief Constable of North Wales have expressed support for the idea of having a fixed minimum price per unit of alcohol.

MON 2nd JUL 2018 UPDATE: Last month, after eight years or more of deliberation, Welsh Government voted to introduce minimum pricing from next Summer onwards. The amount per unit is to be announced soon (probably 50p, same as Scotland). Cheap, high-strength alcoholic drinks are expected to more than double in price.
I have noted that in Rhyl alcohol consumption seems heavy on lottery nights. Perhaps it wouldn't be if people knew their real chances. The odds against winning  or sharing a National Lottery jackpot are more than 45 million to 1. The odds against a Euromillions jackpot are more than 139 million to 1.
For the vast majority of people, alcohol and gambling have something important in common – they are both a waste of money.


Saturday, 19 December 2009


Rhyl pier has been the subject of previous posts on this blog. It was a fine pier and originally 10 yards longer than Llandudno’s, but material had to be taken from the far end to do repairs after every serious accident – and so the pier grew shorter.

Structural problems persisted; by the 1960s it was a hundred years old and no longer fit for purpose. The aerial shot above was sent by George Owen who describes it as a picture of “the rump that was once our 2,355 ft long pier not long before it was demolished in 1973”.


Friday, 18 December 2009


Clarendon SchoolA reader has enquired about Clarendon School. This wasn’t in Rhyl, it was a private boarding school at Kinmel Hall, St. George near Abergele. The hall is shown above.

MON 21st DEC 2009 UPDATE: Mrs. Jean Bray (was Ross) has lived in Bodelwyddan for 82 years and comes to Rhyl shopping.
Mrs. Bray says Kinmel Hall was a Quaker girls' school and then, before World War 2, it became a private school for boys.
She adds that during the war Kinmel Hall was a convalescent home for soldiers of higher ranks.
She confirms that after World War 2 it was Clarendon School for girls.
Thank you, Mrs. Bray.

SUN 21st JUN 2015 UPDATE: Here is a picture of Kinmel Hall as Clarendon School for girls on a card posted 1954:

Clarendon started in 1898 in Worcestershire. Twenty Pickfords vans moved the school to Kinmel Hall in April 1948 and there it stayed until 1975 when a fire forced another move. Eventually, Clarendon ended up merged with the co-educational Monkton Combe School in Bath.

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Here is a differing use of Kinmel Hall. The card below postmarked 1930 and the contemporary advert show it as the Rheuma Spa:

TUE 29th AUG 2017 UPDATE: From Rheuma Spa days, a shot of the Chinese Hall on a card postmarked 1938.

Chinese Hall

SUN 7th OCT 2018 UPDATE: From Kinmel Hall's days as a private school for boys, the 1932 advert below tells us that it operated under the name 'Kinmel School'.
At that time the chairman of the school's council was Rt. Hon. Lord Teynham (presumably Baron Teynham) and the headmaster was Mr. R.A. Gordon Cane, B.Sc.

[I love the idea of a headmaster named Mr. Cane.]

The illustration in the school advert seems to be from this picture postcard:


Thursday, 17 December 2009


RhylRhylAmerican showman Buffalo Bill whose real name was William Frederick Cody (b.1846, d.1917) brought his Wild West Show to Britain and visited a great many towns including 21 in Wales. The show revolved around the concept of native American Indians being ‘bad guys’ attacking brave white folks’ wagons. Hmmmm.

The show travelled by train, and on Wednesday 27th May 1903 played in Rhyl (for two performances) on a carelessly-described patch of land that I imagine to be the area that eventually became Ocean Beach car park opposite Marine Lake.

Rhyl’s intrepid film maker Arthur Cheetham was on hand to capture fleeting glimpses of Mr. Cody in High Street on his way to and from a Masonic meeting upstairs at The Lorne pub. (I wonder if pub DJ Pete McGuinness knows that Buffalo Bill went there).

The following stills from the film are in the book 'Wales And Cinema' by David Berry. Mr. Cody with stetson hat is far right:

This reference is added here for indexing purposes: T.D. Jones fruiterer and florist, High Street.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009


These two streets are cul-de-sacs and they are consecutive turnings off a well known road in Rhyl. What are the names of the streets?

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



Clarence HouseLast Wednesday I posted the photograph above (TOP) and the questions were: Where was I standing when I took it, and what’s the scaffolding for?

The answers are: I was standing in the alley at the foot of Princes Street, and the scaffolding is for the construction of a new Clarence House health centre which is going to stick out like a sore thumb on a corner of West Kinmel Street and Elwy Street.

First with correct answers was Gareth Morris who won Quiz 14, 17 and 22 as well. He must be following me around. Gareth says, “You will recall that this land was formerly occupied by railway engine sheds and turntables until 1960s, and there was a platform bay for ‘Welsh Dragon’ steam train service. The area occupied by the new health centre was used in mid ‘90s for outdoor market and car boot sales.”

Thank you, Gareth. My pal Jill thinks it was called ‘The Belmarket’. Can anyone confirm this and perhaps explain the name? Please send email to:


Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Commentators who take the view that Rhyl is the worst place on earth may be surprised to learn that the resort has dedicated fans.

Lloyd Adams and Kerry, for instance, live in Cannock (Staffordshire) and say, “We come to Rhyl every couple of weeks winter and summer because we love the place so much. If everyone just came a little more often then Rhyl would rise again. Believe it or not we'll be down on Christmas Eve to do some last minute shopping.”

That’s what I like to hear – enthusiasm for the town! I’ve selected the picture above as a little gift for Lloyd and Kerry with best wishes for Christmas and New Year. I took this a few months ago, looking westwards from Splash Point.



Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

Vale Road BridgeThe black-and-white pictures shown above were sent by George Owen.

At the top is a postcard marked ‘High Street Rhyl, Coronation Day’, referring to the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary on Thursday 22nd June 1911. On the corner of Kinmel Street is the Alexandra Hotel & Motor Garage.

The hotel was demolished in early 1960s and replaced by the building in the middle photo – a more modest piece of architecture: The Alexandra Public House (usually called ‘The Alex’).

The colour picture was taken last week by Yours Truly by which time on the corner was Bar Blu. This photo was taken from a similar angle to the first above, on the Vale Road Bridge – whose original name was the Alexandra Bridge.

Alexandra Hotel, Alexandra Public House, Alexandra Bridge – and of course Royal Alexandra Hospital. Who was this Alexandra? Please click here to find out:

These references are added here for indexing purposes: Bass brewery, Worthington brewery.


Monday, 14 December 2009


Mrs. Maureen Davies (was Hughes) has asked for more pictures of the Floral Hall. Mrs. Davies was a frequent visitor there in the 1960s when she was growing up in Rhyl and later in Meliden near Prestatyn.

The Floral Hall was created by Flintshire County Council and opened by Roy Turner who was Chairman of Rhyl Urban District Council 1957-58. (Roy also had the melancholy duty of opening Queens Ballroom as a market). Roy’s dates in office put a question mark over the widely-held belief that the Floral Hall opened in 1959.

What is certain is that on Wednesday 8th June 1960 the Floral Hall was
reopened by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and re-named as Royal Floral Hall. At the time Rhyl council’s parks and gardens superintendant was Mr. John McCartan.


Sunday, 13 December 2009


Last Thursday while strolling across Gladstone Bridge – a more pleasant experience now that the drinkers have been thrown out of Morley Road Gardens – this house in Brighton Road caught my eye. Actually it is two houses knocked into one.

The photograph at the top (left) shows a side of the main entrance and to the right is a detail of a banister inside.

The premises are ‘Bron Haul’, 41-43 Brighton Road, a private care home for the elderly. My thanks to manager Debbie Williams for allowing me to look round, and my best wishes to the staff and residents for Christmas and New Year.


Saturday, 12 December 2009


Mulligan Melly, Bags Watmough, Chris Hamilton JazzmenIn recent years, being a jazz fan in Rhyl can feel a bit like being the only gay in the village. This hasn’t always been the case. The first time I heard a live jazz band was in late 1950s in Rhyl as a schoolboy standing outside the Bee Hotel, Bodfor Street. It was Merseysippi Jazz Band and you can guess where they were from.

Weekly sessions at the Bee were promoted by licensee Roy Muller and estate agent Stan Elson. The musicians were usually semi-pros from North West England and North Wales. Bigger names tended to turn up at Queens Ballroom, West Parade; there were one-nighters by Alex Welsh, Sid Phillips and Freddie Randall, and three extended visits by world-class modernist Tubby Hayes (pictured above).

In 1958 the Silver Slipper Ballroom, a converted ex-Robins Cafe on the northeast side of Queen Street (now boarded up) tried its hand at being Mardi Gras Jazz Club for a summer season and the promoter was once again Stan Elson.

[The names in the Mardi Gras advert are noted here for indexing purposes: Mick Mulligan, George Melly, Bags Watmough, Chris Hamilton Jazzmen.]


Friday, 11 December 2009


Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Roy and June Turner who must be one of Rhyl’s most high-profile couples.

Roy moved from Stoke-on-Trent to Rhyl in 1938 at the age of ten, and his father became an upholsterer at the furniture shop Rhydwen Jones & Davies in Queen Street. Later on Roy served in the Royal Navy, then he and his father started a business of their own doing upholstery, lino and carpet fitting.

June (maiden name Houghton) was an evacuee from Liverpool during World War 2. She and Roy met in 1948 at the Queens Ballroom, West Parade, and they married in 1952. June became a primary school teacher and helped with Roy’s businesses which included running holiday flats in Butterton Road.



Rhyl Operatic SocietyThe photo above is from the collection of Roy and June Turner. It shows them in 1958 in Rhyl & District Operatic Society’s production of Pink Champagne , a show based on ‘Die Fledermaus’ with music by Johann Strauss II. June was a soprano but says that her strength was in acting rather than singing, and she says Roy was a fine tenor.

Roy became Chairman of the Operatic Society and served in that capacity for 18 years and 25 shows. He also served as a Rhyl Urban District Councillor (Independent) for 21 years and a Flintshire County Councillor (Conservative) for 6 years. Roy and June have lots of memories to share; more of their pictures will be featured on this blog soon.


Thursday, 10 December 2009


The larger picture is from the collection of Gaynor Williams and was probably taken in the 1950s. It shows the shop F. Matthews, jeweller, silversmith and clock/watch repairer at 32-32a Water Street.

I wonder who the chaps in enlarged detail are. Does anybody know? Please send an email to:

[The shop's main claim to fame according to Bill Ellis is that in 1964 he bought an engagement ring there - and he still has the receipt.]

Details on the far right of the larger picture indicate the shop is next door to the left of the present Citizen's Advice Bureau. For a long time this shop belonged to Orama Radio & TV operated by Paul & Christine Sumner who retired a couple of years ago.


WED 1st JUL 2015 UPDATE: Sad to note here that Paul Sumner passed away in August 2012 after a probable heart attack. This year I have seen Christine and can report she is bearing up reasonably well under the circumstances and continues to reside at their family home in St. Mary's Court, Rhyl.

WED 26th JUL 2017 UPDATE: The following pic dated 1964 shows Orama located on the opposite side of Water Street. Left to right: Post Office, then T.H. Griffiths bakers, and then Orama.