Sunday, 31 January 2010


At the top is a postcard c.1950 of the Garden of Remembrance on the eastern stretch of the promenade.

The Garden opened in 1948 as a home for the war memorial which had been in other locations on the prom. In recent years a black wooden sign at the entrance to the Garden has been replaced by the metal version shown above, which retains an original misspelling: Rememberance.

The gates have been replaced; the present ones were donated by the Rhyl Hotel and Guest House Association which was founded in 1916 and gave up the ghost in 2002.

Listed on the cenotaph beneath a statue of a soldier are names of people from Rhyl district who died in the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902), World War 1 and 2, and more recent military conflicts. The Garden is not well signposted; I have a Rhyl street map published by Denbighshire County Council in 2002 on which it does not appear at all.

Not long ago the county council leased the site to Rhyl Town Council who gave it a face-lift and reopened it in August 2008.

SUN 13th AUG 2017 UPDATE: These undated postcards of the Garden of Remembrance are new to this blog. 



I remember going to meetings at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Wellington Road, Rhyl, with other townspeople who wanted to stop the present war. 'Not in our name,' we said as the invasion of Iraq began.

Big demonstrations against the war took place in British cities, all to no avail.

It was against International Law to invade a country to bring about a change in its leadership, and that was what the American and British governments were doing. Hundreds of thousands of citizens of Iraq were about to be killed or injured and tens of thousands of homes destroyed.

Yesterday on a bitterly cold afternoon in Garden of Remembrance, I was unable to shake off a sense of anger about how easily this nation of ours was conned into war over matters that were not our business, the consequence being a brutal waste of lives on all sides.


Saturday, 30 January 2010


The picture above (TOP) is from the collection of Rhyl Library. It shows Clwyd Street National School which was Rhyl’s first school. It opened in 1842 having been built at a cost of £200 – a not inconsiderable sum at the time. The school was the brainchild of the Vicar of Rhuddlan Rev. Thomas Wynne Edwards. The name National School denotes a school run by Anglican Protestant church.

Clwyd Street National School was built close to the chapel Holy Trinity which had been consecrated in 1836 and was destined to become the first parish church of Rhyl. (St. Thomas’ was still in the future.) The school after enlargement in 1872 was in three parts: mixed infants, boys’ primary and girls’ primary; eventually the primary part became mixed too.

The colour photograph was taken a few days ago by Yours Truly showing the school site, a corner of Clwyd Street and Paradise Street, as it is today: Trinity Court, a block of flats owned by Wales & West Housing Association.



This photograph was sent by George Owen labelled CLWYD STREET GANG 1950-51.

Left to right:
In the front row: Betty Hughes, Jackie Parry, Madeline Manchester, Maureen Vaughan, Don’t know, Don’t know, Lyn Rushworth, Pat Graham, Don’t know, Gaynor Edwards.

In the second row: Joey Jones, Brian O’Grady, Elwyn Thomas, Betty Cragg, Margaret Roebuck, Diane Reevely, Don’t know, Arnold Kerfoot, Philip Anwyl, David (Happy) Hepworth.

Back row: Mr. Frank Port the headmaster, Gerry Hall, Howard Maltby, young George (for it is he!), Philip Thomas, Don’t know, Don’t know, Clive Jones, Miss Ellis the class teacher of Standard 5.

The gang looks cheerful enough!


Thursday, 28 January 2010


Rhyl OAP Friendship Club, a social club for elderly persons, was founded 1952 in upstairs premises at 72 Queen Street. The building was owned by Alderman P.T. (Phil) Trehearn JP who became the club’s life-president. The photograph above (TOP) shows the entertainments room, which had a piano for informal sing-songs and for use by the club’s choir.

The lower photo suffers from exposure problems, nevertheless it shows club members fundraising for money to buy the premises. Mr. Trehearn is front left with dog. The gent with glasses and trilby is his friend Mr. Frank Hadley (of Hadleys Typewriter Co., 9 Bodfor Street) the club’s Honorary Secretary.

In 1962 the club became owner of the entire building which included flats and shops. In the television age pensioners became more indoorsy, so numbers at the club began to ebb away. It continued to operate until end of the 1990s.

My thanks to P.T.'s grandson Peter Trehearn for most of this information.

MON 1st OCT 2018 UPDATE: Front and back of a souvenir programme dated 1959:

Click on an item to see a bigger version.

The following references are added here for indexing purposes:
Silver Threads Choir, Mrs. G. Holland Roberts, James Fielden Ilfracombe.
Sopranos: Mrs. A. Withers, Mrs H. Henson, Miss B. Cooper, Mrs. R. Richards, Mrs. L. Pope, Mrs. C. Jones, Mrs W. Cunningham, Mrs. A. Hadley, Mrs A. Hapgood.
Contraltos: Mrs. A. Gibson, Mrs. E. Taylor, Mrs E. Belcher, Mrs. M. Bedson, Mrs. E. Brown, Mrs. F. Sproston.
Tenors: A. Hadley, H. Ash, F. Sproston, W. Swallow, A. Bramley, Sam Evans.
Bass: Arthur Beardmore, M. Longley, E.T. Roberts, D. Williams, W. Shaw, J.A. Mottram, Mr. Satch.
Also mentioned: Miss E. Ambrose, Florence Wilson, B. Batt and R.T. Davies.



Further to the recent post about Victoria Inn, Vale Road (Greenfield Place) c.1890, the photograph above (TOP) was sent by George Owen. It shows the same building bearing the name Victoria Hotel circa 1950. The photo is an item from Rhyl History Club Community Archive. George says, “In my misspent youth I celebrated my 21st birthday at The Vic. In the houses next door for some years was Rhyl Tyre and Battery.”

Further to posts about Rhyl Football Club, the photo of the club’s Belle Vue ground in Grange Road, was sent by Dave Williams. It is undated but must be from comparatively recent times. Close examination reveals that the red advert far right is for the highly-regarded Roe’s Plaice, fish and chips, 166 Rhuddlan Road, Rhyl.

Previous posts about Royal Floral Hall on the promenade brought correspondence from readers who remember fondly this particular attraction and the slogan ‘Rhyl – the floral resort’. Here is a postcard showing gardens outside Floral Hall on the side facing East Parade. The card is postmarked 1979.

These references are added here for indexing purposes: Burton brewery, Ind Coope brewery.



In response to readers’ requests for pictures of Derbyshire Miners’ Welfare Holiday Centre, Marsh Road, here are a couple of postcards from 1960s. The paddling pool card was sent to a lady in Holbrooks, Coventry, saying that the senders were having a pleasant time with fair weather, plenty of food and good companions.

The colour photo shows a sign you would find today on a corner of Marsh Road and Chatsworth Road leading to an estate that Wales & West Housing Association built where Derbyshire Miners’ used to be. Down there in addition to Chatsworth Road are Thornton Close, Sudbury Close, Haddon Close and Buxton Court.


THU 4th FEB 2010 UPDATE: Thanks to Andy Lindley of Ashby-de-la-Zouch for sending the following comments:
"I am originally from Derbyshire and used to holiday in Rhyl at the Miners' Camp in the early 1970s. I would have been around 7 or 8 and my brother two years younger; we went about three times. I remember eating in the big canteen and when a waitress dropped something everybody cheered. There always seemed to be pea soup for starters – not good for kids who don't like vegetables! The pool always seemed cold so I can't understand why all you locals kept climbing over the back fence to use it."

MON 30th MAR 2015 UPDATE: Found for sale on Internet, the badge below indicates that at some point the camp was named The Derbyshire Holiday Centre . . .

. . . and in this postcard, which is unused and undated, the camp is called Derbyshire Miners' Holiday Centre.

WED 17th JAN 2018 UPDATE: It's Derbyshire Miners' Holiday Centre again on these two cards postmarked 1975.


Wednesday, 27 January 2010


I took this photo a couple of weeks ago in Rhyl a matter of seconds before measuring my length on the ice and taking an accidental shot of the sky.

Where would you find this scene?
Please send your answer by email to:

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 3rd February, 2010.



Last Wednesday I posted larger versions of the photographs above and said that I took them in Rhyl while standing in the same position, looking right (top) and then left. So where was I standing?

The answer is Frances Avenue.

The photo at the top was taken looking down Frances Avenue; there was a public footpath on my right. The other photo was taken from the same position looking in the opposite direction up Pen y Cefndy towards Rhuddlan Road.

Gareth Morris, The Great Gareth, was first with the correct answer – his fifth win!



Above (TOP) is an old picture of St. Mary’s Well in the village of Cefn which is about two miles southwest of St. Asaph. In his book ‘A Topographical Dictionary of Wales’ published in 1849 the travel writer Samuel Lewis said of Cefn:

“This township is situated on the left bank of the river Elwy, and near that river is a beautiful and romantic dingle, in which is a fine spring, called Y Ffynnon Fair, discharging about 100 gallons of water per minute, and strongly impregnated with lime..... Adjoining the well are the ruins of a cruciform chapel, in the decorated and later English styles, parts being overgrown with ivy..... The river Elwy, the banks of which are finely wooded, is here crossed by a majestic bridge, called Pont-yr-Allt-Goch, of one arch, eighty-five feet in span."

The colour photo shows St. Winefride’s Well at Holywell, which is believed to be connected to the well above. Water at St. Winefride’s is said to have healing properties and pilgrimages have been made to the site since the 7th century. The picture is from the following website:


SAT 2nd MAY 2015 UPDATE: This image of St. Mary’s Well, Bodrhyddan near Rhuddlan, has just arrived. Maybe this well is connected to the ones shown above:


Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Ronnie BracchiThe picture above (TOP) appeared recently on this blog in a post about war hero/diplomat the late Mac Samples. June Turner says, “There was another hero in that picture: Ronnie Bracchi who was killed while in RAF in World War 2. He was from the Bracchi family that had the Lido Cafe on the seafront and a cafe at 34 Bodfor Street (corner of Kinmel Street) where Imperial Hotel is now.

"Ronnie was engaged to Rene Harrison of Kingsley Avenue; her father was the manager of Carlton Bottle Works which was where Salvation Army is now, in Windsor Street. Ronnie and Rene were both related to the Wheale and Harrison families, both well known in Rhyl.”

Peter Trehearn notes that Rhyl’s war memorial roll of honour (in Garden of Remembrance) includes Ronald Bracchi RAF died 21st Dec 1940 aged 19 son of Joseph and Maria Bracchi, Rhyl. Peter sent the photo of five swimmers. The boys are (left to right): Ronnie Bracchi, Geoffrey Rowley, Ivor Lewis, John Arthur Williams, Ron Morgan.

Geoffrey Rowley ran a tobacconist shop next to Woolworths in High Street and then emigrated to Canada. Ivor Lewis went in RAF as a mechanic and became proprietor of Marine Garage, Wellington Road. No information is available about Mr. Williams. Ron Morgan may or may not be Ronald Hugh Morgan RAF died 18th March 1943 aged 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. D.B. Morgan of Rhyl, buried at Labuan war cemetery in Malaysia.

Re: Ivor Lewis, here is a family business card (undated):


Monday, 25 January 2010


Vernon AllenThe Pentagons above (TOP) were a local rhythm ‘n’ blues group whose repertoire included items by Chuck Berry and Johnny & the Hurricanes. The photograph was taken in Dec 1964 at Comrades Club, Sussex Street (now Wetherspoons) and it shows, left to right: Len Davies (bass guitar), Doug Mortimer (organ), Vernon Allen (vocals), Bill Hyland (guitar) and Kevin Simpson (drums).

Vernon Allen packed a lot of punch as a singer; he was a heavyweight boxer. Vernon was a year older than me. We worked together at the Adelphi Restaurant, Queen Street, in summer holidays from school. He went to live in Australia and I regret to add passed away in April 2008. Vernon, I forgive you for throwing that meat pie at me in 1962.

Picture from the collection of Doug Mortimer.

The colour photo shows one of Rhyl’s present-day groups, the 1960s tribute band CAVERN, left to right: Dino Tamburrini (drums, vocals), Glenn Mitchell (rhythm guitar, vocals), Derek Griffiths (bass guitar, vocals), Glen Griffiths (lead guitar, vocals).


Sunday, 24 January 2010


The Informers were a key group on the Rhyl scene in 1960s. It was a soul band of the classic variety doing songs such as Wilson Pickett’s In The Midnight Hour and Eddie Floyd’s Knock On Wood.

They started in 1963-64 as a six-piece band: Frank Borders (vocals), Dave Roberts (guitar, vocals), Paul Warren Jones (guitar), Pete Williams (guitar), Ken Brookes (bass guitar, later vocals), Barrie Loveland (drums). Barrie was the son of Ritz Showband alto saxist Frank Loveland.

Over the next few years the size of the group fluctuated between 4 and 7 members and included at various times: Phil Williams (guitar, vocals), Jim Taylor (guitar, vocals), Doug Mortimer (bass guitar, vocals), Dave Emm (baritone sax), Tony Bliss (guitar), Barry Williams (vocals) and others.

The photo was taken in autumn 1967 at Palace Hotel, West Parade. The Informers had just completed a season at Playboy Club in London and were on their way to tour Sweden. In the foreground are singing twins Dave & Alan Williams; Dave is on the left. In the background left to right: Phil Williams (tenor sax, vocals), Doug Mortimer, Barrie Loveland hidden, and Jim Taylor who at present is an artist/art tutor in Rhyl.

Picture from the collection of Doug Mortimer.


Saturday, 23 January 2010


This is an item from Rhyl History Club Community Archive. It shows a Sunday School at the Baptist Church in Sussex Street c.1955. In the front row are (left to right): Susan O’Brien, Sandra Roose, Don’t know, Roy Noon, Don’t know, Don’t know, Jane Bettany.

Michael Roose is somewhere on the right-hand side of the photo. Who else do we have here? Please send your info by email to:


TUE 23rd MAR 2010 UPDATE: Sandra Roose (now Williams) has been in touch and says, "The elder of the ladies in the picture is Miss Joplin who was the Sunday School teacher. Miss Joplin lived in Grosvenor Avenue."


Thursday, 21 January 2010


The Legendary Lloyd and Kerry of Cannock sent these photographs of the prom near the top of High Street, both of which have the Gaiety Theatre (ex Pier Amphitheatre) in the background. The photo at the top would be 1970s with the clock tower in its original position and Punch and Judy in front. At the top of the booth are the letters E.G. for Edward Green aka Professor Ted Green of 118 Marsh Road.

In the lower picture is the monorail which was there only a few weeks in 1980; Punch and Judy was/were moved to the right of the clock tower to make room. Also in 1980 the Sun Centre opened and was a big success because it was unique. Still in use during 1980s were the cycling track (as Cyclorama), roller skating rink (Skateworld), Open-Air Bathing Pool (Rhyl Fishing Village) and Royal Floral Hall (Butterfly Jungle).

The 1980s seemed like a good period in Rhyl, but it was unreal in the sense that we were living in a bubble of European grant aid which paid for the Sun Centre and other innovations and improvements. In the UK as a whole the economy was unstable; there were recessions in mid '70s and early '80s. A third and most severe recession began in January 1990, the same month as the Towyn floods.



Frank Athur, Henry's This snap of a Rhyl May Day parade is from Gaynor Williams who says it would be late 1960s. Owing to a flaw on the original picture, the driver’s face has been reconstructed by Yours Truly and may well bear no resemblance to reality. Next to him sits a Michelin Man figure. The registration number on the car is 122 DM.

High Street shops in the background are, left to right: Talbots ladieswear 68-70 High Street, now Barclays Bank / Frank Arthur newsagent No. 72, now High Street News (H. & R. Starkey) / Henrys of Rhyl boys outfitters, on corner of Wellington Road, now Boomers Toys & Gifts.



This shot of Colwyn Bay pier is from the 1960s and I recall seeing the Manchester group Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders there one Saturday night with a young lady from Llanddulas whose name escapes me – and so did she.

Colwyn Bay’s pier, originally named Victoria Pier like the one in Rhyl, is a Grade II listed structure and has been derelict for some time. It has been in need of repair for several decades. The pier is owned privately and is currently in receivership. This situation presents Conwy Council with a complex set of difficulties.

I’m sure the council would like the pier restored and put back into use but who would foot the bill? The future of the pier, ways and means of restoration, possible alternative uses, and related matters are to be discussed at a public meeting tomorrow evening, Friday 22nd January 2010, 6pm at Colwyn Bay Town Hall, Rhiw Road.

SUN 24th JAN 2010 UPDATE: In yesterday’s Daily Post, reporter David Powell said hundreds of residents turned up at the meeting. The pier could be bought via a trust obtaining grants, or maybe even out of Conwy council coffers, but what about maintenance costs? Aye, there’s the rub!

SAT 14th MAR 2015 UPDATE: In files belonging to the late Glyn Rees I found this Victorian image of Colwyn Bay pier and thought you might like to see it. Yes? No? Please yourselves. 


MON 6th JUL 2015 UPDATE: More of the same! The first image below is undated, and the following long shot is a card postmarked 1908:

Promenade, Pier

For more info about Colwyn Bay pier and update on the continuing saga please click here:



These photographs are from the collection of Rhyl Library, Church Street. They show the Gas Works that used to be in Wellington Road, where Aldi supermarket is now.

In mid 1800s, Rhyl was one of the first towns in North Wales to get a gas supply. At first it was owned by a small private company engaged in providing mainly street lighting. Eventually businesses and private households were connected, although poorer townspeople were not able to afford it.

In mid 1890s the newly formed Rhyl Urban District Council bought the gas supply and the water supply. (In due course the council would operate the electricity supply as well - and manage the schools and hospitals. It was a far more powerful body than the present town council.)

The Gas Works were rebuilt /modernised/enlarged in 1929-30 and again in 1943-44 by which time Rhyl was supplying gas to Rhuddlan, Kinmel Bay and Abergele.

The following has been amended in accordance with information received from George Owen:
The big photo at the top shows demolition of a large building on the gas works site in 1962; this was replaced by a smaller building. The other pictures are probably from later in 1960s, by which time the technology involving the big round gasometers had been made redundant by the availability of natural gas.


SAT 7th NOV 2015 UPDATE: Found this on Internet described as c.1920:

Rhyl Urban District Council


Wednesday, 20 January 2010


These photographs were taken yesterday in Rhyl. I took them while standing in the same position and looking right (top) and then left.

So where was I standing? Please send your answer by email to:

The answer will appear on this blog a week today, i.e. Wednesday 27th January 2010.



Last Wednesday I posted a larger version of the photograph above and the question was: where was I standing when I took the photo?

The answer is that I was standing in Williams Street looking across Vale Road towards Brynhyfryd Avenue.

The Legendary Lloyd & Kerry of Cannock were first with a correct answer thereby scoring four consecutive wins – a world record!


Tuesday, 19 January 2010


John McCartanSouth PacificIn the photo at the top, Roy Turner the Chairman of Rhyl Urban District Council 1957-58, is making a speech opening the Floral Hall on the promenade. The lady in the rather fetching hat is Roy’s wife June; sitting next to her is Albert Edwards the Clerk to the Council, then Councillor F.S. Williams. Standing the other side of Roy is Tom Leigh the council’s publicity manger.

Roy and June were deeply involved with Rhyl & District Amateur Operatic Society (now Rhyl & District Musical Theatre Company). In the nearest picture, taken in 1964, June is doing a photoshoot inside the Floral Hall to promote the Society’s show ‘South Pacific’ which was staged at Easter that year in Rhyl Pavilion.

The show was produced by Freddie Collier and featured songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein such as ‘A Cockeyed Optimist’ and ‘Some Enchanted Evening’. June (soprano) played the lead Nellie Forbush and her partner in the scene above playing Emile de Becque is Clwyd Pierce (baritone) who was from a Rhyl family of bakers and caterers.


WED 20th JAN 2010 UPDATE: Peter Trehearn has identified the man standing far right in the middle picture. He is none other than Rhyl council’s parks and gardens superintendant Mr. John McCartan who was mentioned in a previous post about the Floral Hall. Peter says of him, “He constructed the Garden of Remembrance and presumably created the Floral Hall. Rhyl gardens were at their peak under McCartan."

THU 25th FEB 2010 UPDATE: With regard to Tom Leigh above, his grandson Stephen Buckley has been in touch to say that Tom was Rhyl council’s publicity manager and entertainments manager based in the town hall. Also, Tom was a sports reporter for a couple of newspapers. I wonder what he did in his spare time. The family now operate a crane hire company in Glan Conwy; the company was established in 1964. Thank you, Stephen.