Sunday, 31 May 2009

DIXIELAND SHOWBAR

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


Among recent feedback came an email from John McDonald who lived in Rhyl for 25 years as was universally known as Johnny Mac. He says: I worked for Les Hughes for 15 years, firstly as a taxi driver, then he bought a lorry for removals then another one until he had three. Also I worked as a doorman at the Dixieland Showbar. At the moment I manage a fishing park in Udon Thani, Thailand.

Thanks for your message, John. I hope that the Dixieland Showbar advert above inspires memories; it comes from Rhyl’s official 1971 guide book. In the advert is a reminder of the Golden Fry Restaurant, open all day.

Pentre Bach model village, the subject of previous posts on this blog, was reduced in size to make way for building the Dixieland Showbar, Rhyl’s first night club. At first the club was operated by Trust House Forte Leisure who had taken over Ocean Beach Fun Fair. The club went through changes and eventually it was renamed Brunel’s Discotheque and Bar.

--

Friday, 29 May 2009

SPLASHES OF COLOUR

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


Today as forecast, Rhyl basked in sunshine and high temperatures. Plenty of people on the prom, kids kicking around in the paddling pool, families on the beach. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and there was a lot of colour.

New banners adorned lamp posts all along the seafront (see above). The banners are designed by Lynda Waggett of the RhylCreate design/craft consortium. Using the town’s real name ‘Y Rhyl’ is a good idea.

--

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

QUIZ QUESTION # 3


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


Shown above is an emblem of The Borough of Rhuddlan, the council that administered the Rhyl, Prestatyn, and St. Asaph districts of Vale of Clwyd from 1974-96. Its motto says Rhuddlan Crud Cymru which translates as Rhuddlan, Cradle of Wales.

You can see an emblem like this in a number of places. Where in Rhyl is this particular one?

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 3rd June 2009.

--

QUIZ ANSWER # 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


Last Wednesday on this blog I posted the photograph above (TOP) showing a gate to 'The Stable' decorated with a horseshoe, and asked where it was taken. The answer is Water Street.

On your right is the Islamic Cultural Centre and on left a derelict little shop that used to be Mac’s Discount DIY. To the left of Mac’s are: Abbey Pets, Sovereign Trophies and then – on the corner of Bedford Street – Prodotti Menswear.

--

SANDS OF TIME

Clown & Digger Pugh GirlsTHIS 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 some more stills from a home movie made in the late 1950s/early ‘60s: a couple of evocative beach scenes, the poor old pier, and a bright and breezy trio of performers from Prince’s International Circus which used to play summer seasons at the Pavilion; part of their job would be to go outside and persuade passers-by to book tickets for the show. Hard to believe that it was half a century ago . . .

--

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

FAITH IN THE RESORT # 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


Today I went in an unofficial capacity to an Open Day at the Islamic Cultural Centre (Mosque), 30 Water Street, Rhyl. The building started life as the Tabernacl Welsh Baptist Chapel in 1867. The present Cultural Centre was established in 1996 in order to benefit the community as a whole and to cater in particular for the needs of Muslims. It is a venue for prayer, education, social activities and cultural exchange.

Going there was an interesting experience. The displays were wonderful and the volunteers, who were local people, showed great hospitality and answered all my daft questions in a spirit of openness and friendship. I look forward to a return visit.

--

FAITH IN THE RESORT # 1

bookTHIS 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


As someone who has no religious beliefs but was raised as a Catholic, I enjoyed reading this book.

It is not just information about church buildings. Many other aspects of Catholic life in Rhyl are here including good coverage of our Catholic schools: the original St. Mary’s School and St. Mary's Convent School, Blessed Edward Jones' & Ysgol Mair.

'The Catholic Church In Rhyl 1854-2005’ was compiled by Leslie Slee and Mary Owen. It was published in 2006 by Gwasg Helygain, Rhyl, telephone (01745) 331411. The email address is: info@gwasg.com

--

Sunday, 24 May 2009

DANGEROUS GAMES

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 the pier and it put me in mind of this photograph taken on the pier. The photo is from the collection of Rhyl Library, pencilled on the back is the name of the acrobat James Evans and the date 1949.

Back in 1887 the professional swimmer Tommy Burns came to Rhyl for a season of exhibition diving. He arrived from Liverpool over-refreshed, took a celebratory dive off the pier and died in the water. The crowd give him a round of applause.

--

PENTRE BACH

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 more pictures of Pentre Bach Welsh Model Village which used to be down the fun fair end of West Parade in the early 1970s.

The pictures were provided by David Thomas. Dave worked at the fun fair at that time and was going to let me have more information about his life and times on the Waltzer, the Triang Railway and so on, but I’ve given up waiting.

I suppose he will have the cheek to tell me that he has been too busy – just because he’s a Rhyl town councillor for the Cefndy ward, a Denbighshire county councillor for Rhyl South West and a member of Denbighshire’s cabinet.

--
MON 8th MAY 2017 UPDATE: More of Pentre Bach Model Village including the castle and slate quarry:


Click on any image to see a bigger version.



--

Saturday, 23 May 2009

MANAGER WANTED

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


Something that Rhyl has never had is a town manager. From time to time it has been suggested that we ought to have one.

If we had a town manager, maybe he or she could educate traders about not making the town look untidy, educate consumers about not eating in the streets (unless they want to be pounced upon by seagulls) and perhaps even getting the traffic barriers around the pedestrianised area fixed.

A visitor said to me, ‘What kind of town of this anyway? I was standing in High Street talking to my mate . . . I felt something behind me and when I turned round there was a car up my back.’ Only he didn’t say ‘back’.

--

SAT 4th APR 2015 UPDATE: A town manager came and went. He didn’t do anything memorable.

--

Friday, 22 May 2009

THE PIER


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


Rhyl’s pier stood opposite Church Street. It opened in 1867 as The Victoria Pier under private ownership at a cost of £23,000. The oldest illustration here would be the drawing or engraving at the top.

In 1883, 1884 and 1890 the pier was damaged when steam packets crashed into it. There were further alarms and excursions such as those illustrated above: in 1907 a fire broke out in a palmist’s kiosk, and in 1909 the pier collapsed in the middle in the wake of a storm.

In 1913, Rhyl Urban District Council were able to buy the pier for just £1,000. The council closed it as unsafe and kept it closed for 17 years. In 1930 it was re-opened with the name Rhyl Pier. This was a shorter version which remained in service until 1966. A few years later it was carted away as scrap metal.

--

SAT 11th JUL 2015 UPDATE: This steamer is the kind of vessel that could cause damage to the pier when coming and going in windy weather. The item is a card for sale on eBay with seller’s temporary watermark in red. It is postmarked 1910:


--

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

QUIZ QUESTION # 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


I took this photograph yesterday in Bodfor ward, so where exactly was I? The following streets are wholly or partly in the ward and so the answer has to be one of these:

Abbey Street, Aquarium Street, Bath Street, Bedford Street, Bodfor Street, Brighton Road, Church Street, Clwyd Street, Crescent Court, Crescent Road, Crescent Square, East Parade, Edward Henry Street, Elwy Street, Fairfield Avenue, Ffynnongroew Road, Glanglasfor, Gordon Avenue, Gronant Street, High Street, Hope Place, John Street, Kings Avenue, Kinmel Street, Kinmel Terrace, Llys Brunswick, Market Street, Morlan Park, Morley Road, Oxford Grove, Paradise Street, Plas Y Brenin, Princes Street, Queen Street, Russell Road, South Kinmel Street, Sussex Street, Thorpe Street, Trinity Court, Vaughan Street, Water Street, Wellington Road, West Kinmel Street, West Parade, Windsor Court, Windsor Street.

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 27th May 2009.

--

INTEGRITY

integrityTHIS 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


As an unpaid town councillor I can sit back and enjoy as much as anyone else the spectacle of MPs being roasted over their expenses. The novelty of the story is wearing a bit thin, though.

Some years ago an independent report recommended a big salary increase for MPs to bring them in line with other European countries. The government of the day felt that this would be unpopular with the public and so the House of Commons devised its own generous expenses system instead.

Most of the recent headlines are about claims that were made legitimately within the system but that does not let MPs off the hook. I would say to them: Integrity doesn’t mean playing by the rules. Integrity means refusing to go along with ideas that seem morally unjustifiable.

--

QUIZ ANSWER # 1

ChapelTHIS 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


On this blog last Wednesday I posted the photograph (above left) which I had taken on that day inside a public building in Rhyl. The building is not a church, so where was I?

The answer is the chapel of Royal Alexandra Hospital, Marine Drive. The chapel is open all day to staff, patients and the public.

First to tell me the right answer was George Owen (above right). He is a Rhyl resident, an active member of the community in his part of town and a fan of Rhyl history. George is a member of the chorus of Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and sings occasionally at concerts in North Wales.

--

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

MARINE LAKE

Splash-CatsTHIS 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 contrasting images of Marine Lake. The photo at the top would have been taken after the opening in 1895 and before the arrival of the miniature railway in 1911, so let’s call it circa 1903. It was taken looking across the lake from the Wellington Road side and serves as a nice reminder that the site was intended to be a boating lake.

By 1920 the Marine Lake Fun Fair was in full swing on the Oakland Avenue side of the lake and it operated until the end of the 1960s.

The lower picture would be from late 1970s or the 1980s, taken from the northwest corner of the lake after a revamp of the site by Rhuddlan Borough Council and the introduction of orange-and-white Splash-Cat pedal boats.

--

Monday, 18 May 2009

HMS RHYL # 4

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


On this blog some previous posts about HMS Rhyl brought feedback including the picture above, which is said to have been taken in 1972 when the frigate was visiting Newport in South Wales.

There is a website dedicated to reuniting friends who served on particular ships and in other units and bases of the armed forces:
http://www.forcesreunited.org.uk/index.asp

--
MON 8th MAY 2017 UPDATE: More images of HMS Rhyl. The first is from the 1960s / The second is a photograph of the ship entering Malta in September 1974 (the strange marks are creases in the photo) / The third is dated 21st April 1981:


Click on any image to see a bigger version.


--

Sunday, 17 May 2009

MERRY-GO-ROUND

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


On Wednesday 20th May there will be an annual meeting of town council at which the current mayor steps down and a new mayor steps up. The Mayor is a councillor elected by the other councillors and therefore the position goes to somebody who is a member of (or can win the backing of) the biggest political party.

The Mayor becomes Chairman for a year's monthly meetings of full council (not committees) and acquires a busy diary of ceremonies and charitable events to attend on top of the usual work in his or her own ward. The Mayor gets a modest allowance to cover the additional costs and extra time involved.

My very best wishes go to our outgoing mayor who has done a wonderful job for Rhyl, and to the incoming mayor in whom I have absolute confidence. Nevertheless, I doubt that the town needs such a ceremonial figurehead in this day and age and believe that anyone holding public office should really be elected to it by the public.

--

RHYL SUN CENTRE

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


Heulfan Y Rhyl/Rhyl Sun Centre opened in June 1980.

In terms of the number of paying visitors the Sun Centre is the biggest success in the history of Rhyl. It is on the promenade opposite Conwy Street. The choice of location was criticised initially for being a long way from the attractions at the western end of the prom.

This £4.5 million complex of indoor swimming pools had tropical storm effects (which were uncommon at the time at that time) and its indoor surfing pool was the first in Europe.

The postcards above are from the 1980s. Recently came an announcement that a lot of money would be needed needed to bring the entire facility up to date.

--

Saturday, 16 May 2009

A LET DOWN

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


Not far from the burnt-out Grange Hotel in East Parade is this interesting little building with a broken window both sides (Welcome to Rhyl). There have been some fanciful stories about what this building is. Actually, according to Bill Ellis’ book ‘The Spirit of Rhyl’ the name of the building is Pen-y-Don tower and it was a coastguard lookout station. Sorry to disillusion those of you who were hoping for something more blood-curdling and perhaps haunted.

--

Thursday, 14 May 2009

SOMETHING COOL

pier, ice creamTHIS 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


Further to a previous post on this blog, here is another picture of the big heavy basket chairs that used to be on Rhyl sands. This was taken probably in early 1920s from opposite High Street looking eastwards to the pier. According to Bill Ellis the booth on right bearing the name ‘J. Forrest’s’ was a kiosk selling ice cream. I suppose you would have needed something cool when sunbathing with your clothes on.

--

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

QUIZ QUESTION # 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


Yours Truly took this photograph today inside a public building in Rhyl (with permission of course). The building is not a church, so where was I? The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 20th May 2009.

--

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

RARITY

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 is a picture that I have never seen before. It dates from 1963 and shows part of West Parade. To your left of the picture would have been The Black Cat arcade; to your right would have been The Roma coffee bar and then the Lucky Strike arcade. All these properties were owned by the Webber Brothers who operated rides at Ocean Beach Fun Fair such as Dodgems and Figure Eight Rollercoaster.

These days in this part of West Parade you would see Palace Fun Centre which is owned by H.B. Leisure. The picture was handed to me by Mr. Mark Webber of Webbers Amusements the adult arcade at 78 High Street, Rhyl. Mark feels confident about the town's future and he is planning to expand his business.

--

Monday, 11 May 2009

HOTEL-OLOGY # 1

Plastirion HotelTHIS 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


Occasionally I get asked what was Rhyl seafront’s biggest hotel. In terms of external size I have no idea, but in terms of the number of rooms the biggest was said to be the Plastirion Hotel; the building is in East Parade nearly opposite the Sun Centre. The photograph above (TOP) shows the Plastirion today: a block of flats owned by Haigh Properties Ltd.

The other photo shows the seafront’s oldest surviving hotel: the two-star Westminster Hotel on corner of East Parade and Church Street. The Westminster opened in 1878 more or less opposite the Victoria Pier (later renamed Rhyl Pier) which opened just over a decade earlier. The hotel was a luxurious place where civic functions and other grand events took place.

In the late 1970s the Westminster opened a night club in the basement and many townspeople remember this as ‘Catz’. The old hotel had become rather run-down when the present owners Carol and Peter took over a few years ago; since then it has steadily improved. When I walked into the reception area/lounge bar a few days ago the room looked fabulous.

The Westminster's phone number is (01745) 342241.

--

Sunday, 10 May 2009

CLEAN HANDS

open palmsTHIS 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 big news story in the last few days is about MPs' expense claims which seem to the average person to be unacceptable. An example is that an MP could get money from the public purse to improve a house and then sell it and buy another and claim again and so on. This kind of racketeering is said to be within the rules that MPs invented for themselves. Self-regulation of any kind is a nonsense; it encourages the greedy and selfish in any profession (banking is another example).

This morning a neighbour enquired and he was surprised to hear that town councillors – unlike county councillors – receive no pay at all, and no expenses are claimable except on extremely rare occasions when we are required to travel out of town (this has never happened to me) and there is nothing thrilling in the way of perks and no one has ever had the nerve to offer me a bribe.

He went away looking disappointed.

--

RHYL PAVILION



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


Whichever way you looked at it, the original Rhyl Pavilion (1908-1974) was impressive; the dome when lit could be seen for miles across the sea. The sepia picture above (TOP) is card postmarked 1913 from an improbable-sounding F. Tickle in Rhyl to a Miss Moore in Rock Ferry, Birkenhead.

The black-and-white picture was taken during 1947-1961 when Prince’s International Circus played summer seasons at the Pavilion. At that time on the promenade walkway you would have seen, left to right: Coliseum Theatre (opposite Edward Henry Street), paddling pool, Pavilion and then the outdoor roller skating rink (opposite Water Street).

Rhyl was heartbroken when Rhyl Pavilion was demolished, but towns-people old enough to remember seeing shows there say it was a draughty old barn of a place with dreadful acoustics and the present Pavilion Theatre is far better.

--
SAT 15th OCT 2016 UPDATE: In the black-and-white picture there is a poster for singer Jill Day which handily dates the pic. She appeared at the Pavilion in 1958.

--

Saturday, 9 May 2009

CHILD POVERTY

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


Child poverty is rife in the Bodfor ward and other parts of Rhyl and throughout Wales. A child is deemed to be in poverty if belonging to a household whose income is below 60 per cent of average income.

By this rule of thumb about 21 per cent of children are in poverty in Scotland, 22 per cent in England, 24 per cent in Northern Ireland and worst of all: 25 per cent in Wales. These are official government statistics and they shame us all.

It is a matter for Welsh Assembly Government to devise strategies to deal with this terrible situation. If you have helpful ideas to offer your local Assembly Members, please send them an email:

ann.jones@wales.gov.uk
eleanor.burnham@wales.gov.uk
mark.isherwood@wales.gov.uk
brynle.williams@wales.gov.uk
janet.ryder@wales.gov.uk


--

Friday, 8 May 2009

FILM STARS

Punch and JudyTHIS 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 weeks ago on this blog, a post titled THE GIRLS featured pictures of four young ladies; the pictures were stills extracted from a home movie made in the late 1950s/early ‘60s.

The burning questions were: who are the girls and where are they now? The post raised a lot of interest but none of the four has been identified.

Here are more stills from the same film. In the top strip, left to right, are two other girls at the same event which could have been a Miss Rhyl contest; a boy receptionist at the Westminster Hotel, East Parade, and a young lady on a visit to the Floral Hall.

The centre picture shows a somebody that may well have been May Queen. The final shot shows youngsters and not-so-youngsters enjoying a Punch and Judy show.

So who are they all and where are they now?

--

Thursday, 7 May 2009

SELLING RHYL

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


What sort of image should Rhyl have? Here are two random examples of promotional postcards. The one at the top was in circulation around 1920; it puts the accent on family fun and the town’s healthy climate. The other card dates probably from the late 1960s/early 1970s when sex appeal was used to sell everything from cigarettes to motor cars; it’s a kind of card that would appear everywhere with the name of the resort changed to suit – like the all-black card that could be captioned ‘Rhyl after dark’ or ‘Swansea after dark’ and still be a good joke.

--