Sunday, 28 February 2010


Here are more Ocean Beach Fun Fair scenes. The colour picture is from my own collection; it is an unused postcard that looks to be 1970s. The circular red, white and blue machine near the centre of the picture was a two-directional tilting round-ride named the Trabant built by Bennetts of Nottingham and owned by Ronald Seldon.

The black-and-white picture is from Rhyl Library’s collection and looks mid to late 1950s. It shows the miniature golf course just inside the main entrance on the corner of West Parade. At that time not all of the Ocean Beach site had been fully-developed as a fairground.

Incidentally, Peter Jones has been in touch to say that he's gathering information about miniature golf/crazy golf in Rhyl and Prestatyn. If you have any pictures, memorabilia, ephemera or information relating to any course past or present, please send him an email:


Saturday, 27 February 2010


This is just a reminder that 2010 is the 100th year of Sidoli’s ice cream parlour, 32 Wellington Road, Rhyl. You will see from the old photograph above that the business began as a partnership. Mr. Peeny (Pini) moved to Blackpool.

The other originator’s grandson Dominic Sidoli now runs the place with assistance from his mother and sister and part-time help. Bill Ellis, author of several Rhyl history books and a regular visitor to the premises, is trying to find out the month and day of opening.

Before I knew Bill I used to see him sitting in his raincoat in the far corner of Sidoli’s with papers on the table and a pen in hand. Aha, I thought, there’s the great man writing his books. Later, when I got to know him I discovered he was doing crosswords.


SAT 11th JUN 2012 UPDATE: The following postcard offers a rare glimpse of Peeny's operation on the sands. The crowd would be watching a show on the minstrel pitch, The styles of dress indicate that the picture dates from not long after Rhyl Pavilion opened in 1908.

This card was published by John Brookes, The Post Office, Vale Road, Rhyl.


Friday, 26 February 2010


Here we have two fine Rhyl Rose Queen photographs from Peter Trehearn but no information to go with them. At the top is Rose Queen Margaret 1945, and the colour photo is Rose Queen Anthea of unknown date. Can anyone supply further details?


THU 12th AUG 2010 UPDATE: A newspaper cutting supplied by Peter Trehearn reveals Rose Queen Anthea’s year was 1947. She was 14 years of age, her full name was Anthea Valerie Jones and she lived at Tudor Villa, Vaughan Street. She was Rhyl’s 22nd Rose Queen and a student at Rhyl Grammar School. Among those attending Anthea’s Coronation were Rose Queens Margaret (1945), Mary (1946) and Britannia aka Doreen Edwards (1947); May Queens Rhona (1946) and Margaret (1947); and Miss Rhyl Ann Crossland (1947).



This photograph is from Sandra Williams who says, “It shows Standard 2, Clwyd Street School about 1952-53. Mrs. Sutherland is class teacher.

Left to right:
"In the front row are: Edward Williams, Kenneth Simcock, Kenneth Jones, David Lloyd, Malcolm Roberts.
In the second row: Don’t know, Ann Williams, Jean Hill, Margaret Williams, Gwyn Griffiths, Janet Holloway and Barry Anthony.

"Third row: Susan Roberts, Rita Jones, Pauline Tuft, Myra Hodginson, Don’t know, Carolyn Harrison. Fourth row: Christine Blease, Pamela Shaw, Jennifer Jones, Me – Sandra Roose in those days, Sandra Boxley, Pamela Roberts.
Back row: Lewis Taylor, Elizabeth McKillop, Pat Jones, Pamela Jones and Edward Jones.”


Thursday, 25 February 2010


This mid 1950s picture of a recorder class at Clwyd Street School was sent by Sandra Williams (was Roose) who says, “It shows Standard 3 class teacher Mr. Arthur Jones with recorder players. I was in a similar group but not in this picture. The girls are (left to right): Gwyn Griffiths, Margaret Williams, Helen Mitchell, Carolyn Harrison and Pamela Shaw. Mr. Jones made the instruments out of bamboo cane and painted and decorated them – I still have mine!”



Marine Lake appeared on almost as many postcards as the old Pavilion. I like particularly the scene above – an evening shot probably taken from the Oakland Avenue side. It is a card postmarked 1926, addressed to a Master C.B. Ball in Kilpauk, Madras, India, and it says:

Dear Chris, No doubt you are looking forward to my return. Yes I have had a real good time having seen a great deal of the county, (signed) Mummy. Love from Dad.

At that time, India was still part of the British Empire and was to remain so until 1950. Kilpauk was a base for British troops and a centre of medical treatment; it had and still has a medical college, general hospital, mental hospital and other medical units.

SAT 20th MAY 2017 UPDATE: This is an example of a postcard in the 'Oilette' series launched by Raphael Tuck & Sons in 1903, featuring oil paintings - presumably based on photographs.

Tuck Oilette

A description  on the reverse reads as follows: "Marine Lake is a delightful sheet of ornamental water which has replaced an unsightly and treacherous swamp which once existed here. It covers about forty acres, and offers good opportunities for boating to those who do not like the open sea; further, bathers greatly appreciate its waters, as at low tide the sea recedes half a mile from the promenade."

The view looks towards the harbour. I take the taller building in the centre of the background to be Foryd Hall about which there is a previous post:



In 1952, during the week commencing Monday 21st July, the Queens Theatre in West Parade, Rhyl, presented the last really big names to play that venue. Stan Laurel (1890-1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892-1957) were the world’s best known comedy double act and had been making films together for three decades.

At the time of their Queens appearance they were past the peak of their careers but still masters of simple comedy. Illustrated above is the front cover of the souvenir programme, a cherished possession of George Owen.

Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy topped the bill in what would have been a routine variety show of the era. The audience had to sit through singing sisters (twice), a singing cartoonist then an aerial act, ventriliquist, 'oriental’ magician, animal mimic and then a pair of accordion players before the famous duo took the stage.


Wednesday, 24 February 2010


This photograph was taken three or four weeks ago in Rhyl. In the photo, foreground left, is a street sign blanked out.
The question: What is the missing name?

You are looking for a two-word answer. Please send by email to:

All correct answers received before midday on Tuesday 2nd March 2010 go in a hat and then I'll ask somebody to draw one at random. The result will be published next day.



Rosehill RoadLast Wednesday I posted a larger version of the photograph at the top and asked: What is the name of the street?

Answer: Rosehill Road. (The photo was taken from the Rhuddlan Road end.)

This week’s winner is Jane Shuttle.

The winner was drawn out of hat by Dafydd Timothy (above) who
was not a contestant. Dafydd is proprietor of Siop y Morfa, 109 High Street, Rhyl, tel (01745) 339197, where you can find a larger stock of local history books than in any other shop in town.


Tuesday, 23 February 2010


Sandra Williams sent this photograph of her father Steve Roose whose prowess at snooker has been noted on this blog. Sandra says, ‘The photo was taken in 1959 in Rhyl, possibly at the Comrades Club in Sussex Street (now Wetherspoons). My father is on right; the player on left is a professional, Jack Rae. Mr. Rae was a favourite on the BBC TV's ‘Pot Black’ and my father beat him!’

Steve Roose was born in Hope Place, Rhyl, in 1914 and died in 1972 at the age of 56. An obituary noted: ‘Steve had been a member of the Rhyl & District Snooker League for over 24 years, having served on the Executive Committee. In his heyday he was one of the finest exponents of the cue and his league record was second to none. He won all the major honours . . . His passing sees the end of an era.'


Monday, 22 February 2010


Jobcentre The dark blue building above, in Bodfor Street, Rhyl, has been taken over by Jobcentre Plus; it has been unused for at least a couple of years. Before that it was part of Choices video rental shop and in days of yore it was a car showroom.

This Jobcentre Plus office has not replaced Jobcentre in High Street. Perhaps extra office space was needed because of refurbishment at High Street, or because of an increase in the number of claimants of Jobseekers Allowance, or both.

Recently a count put the number of persons in UK claiming this particular benefit at 1.64 million. Readers who were paying attention to news in 1980s and ‘90s will have heard higher figures than this – but locally the situation is grim.

As a resident of Rhyl West I know more retired and unemployed people than workers; I know more part-time workers than full-time, and I know hardly any full-timers whose income contains no element of Government subsidy.



World War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great WarThis photograph above (TOP) is from Gaynor Williams and is an unused postcard. On the back is written ‘RCS Cadet Corps Camp at Bodfar NW 19 August 1916’ and it seems reasonable to presume this refers to Bodfari near Denbigh.

The enlarged detail shows how young they were. Even so, some of these cadets may have seen action before the World War 1 ended in November 1918 and perhaps been injured or killed in the dreadful conflict.



Vivian Hewitt lived in Bodfari near Denbigh, and while still a teenager he constructed the glider in this photo. He built and flew it in Bodfari at a time when few people in North Wales had seen a flying machine.

In 1912 – by which time he had become a resident of Rhyl – Mr. Hewitt struck fame as becoming the first airman to fly from the UK to Dublin. During World War 1 he was based in Farnborough, Hants, working on improving and perfecting fighter aircraft.

WED 2nd MAY 2018 UPDATE: Below is a postcard that shows a plane of one kind with which Mr. Hewitt became associated. No mention of him on the card, but the photo was taken at Kinmel Bay where he established an airfield.

"Harding Rhyl" refers to the photographer J.A. Harding.

THU 6th DEC 2018 UPDATE: Vivian Hewitt himself appears in the image below, a photo taken on Rhyl sands in 1913. Mr. Hewitt is the first man standing to your right of the plane.


Friday, 19 February 2010


Rhyl youngsters with good basic education and a desire to make a reasonable living usually have to go to the cities where there are more opportunities. One such is Paula Jones (pictured above) whom I had the pleasure of meeting recently.

Paula was born in Rhyl. Her father is retired builder Glyn Jones who lives in the west end of town, and her late mother Mary was one of the Manfredi family. Paula went to Ysgol Mair, Blessed Edward Jones' and University of London.

Having done work experience with a Rhyl newspaper, and worked on a magazine at the University, she landed her first job as a junior reporter. Periods of low pay, long hours and a lot of hard work later, she works in London now as Deputy Editor of the weekly celebrity magazine 'Reveal'.

Paula says, “I come to Rhyl regularly to see family and friends. It’s still my home and I love looking at old pictures and photo quizzes on Rhyl Life. I was really struck by pictures of the old Pavilion. Older members of my family tell me it looked marvellous lit up at night.

“It would be fabulous if Rhyl could have a 21st century version of the old Pavilion as a symbol of the town and its history. It could be a multi-media, multi-purpose place used for exhibitions, concerts, even an IMAX cinema – something different to bring people here.

“At present it seems a shame that the beach is hardly visible and there’s comparatively little going on at Marine Lake. The town has its ups and downs but so many people who leave say the same thing – there's no place quite like it.”


Thursday, 18 February 2010


A new contributor Mrs. Sandra Williams (was Roose) is studying her family history and has sent these pictures of her grandfather Thomas Watkins Roose, Rhyl’s last official town crier. Later town criers were not in the same sense official.

Sandra says, “Thomas Watkins Roose was born in Greenfield in 1863 and moved to Rhyl in his teens with his three brothers. I’m not sure of the dates when he was town crier but I do know that he died in 1929. I have his bell; it could be an old ship’s bell – his father was a Master Mariner.”

There are more of Sandra’s pictures to come.



The Wolfman film movieThe name Spencer Wilding has been known to me for some time without my knowing who he is – we share mutual friends.

Enlightenment came via the front page story in this week’s Rhyl Journal newspaper. Spencer turns out to be the stunt double for actor Benicio Del Toro in the forthcoming film ‘The Wolfman’, and he has been in other films and is a former kickboxing champion.

Apologies for my ignorance and best wishes to Spen.

WED 14th DEC 2016 UPDATE: Rhyl actor Spencer Wilding is to play Darth Vader in the next Star Wars film. He is pictured below with his daughter Tyla Turner of Prestatyn.

Darth Vader, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

See the story by Kelly Williams in Daily Post:


Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Further to the posts earlier this month about ‘Sunny Rhyl’s June Carnival 1929’, here are some photographs taken at the event, sent by Peter Trehearn.

Peter says, "The little newspaper seller’s name is Molly Pollitt. Of the two young ladies wearing paper hats: I don't know the one on the left, the other is Agnes Jones. The boy on the bike is my father Vernon Trehearn, and in the sidecar is his cousin Mervyn Lott."

More of Peter’s pictures to come.



This month I took this photograph in Rhyl, and the question is:
What is the name of the street?

Please send your answers by email to:

All correct answers received before midday on Tuesday 23th Feb 2010 go in a hat and then I'll ask somebody to draw one at random. The result will be published next day.



Last Wednesday I posted a larger version of the photo above (TOP) and asked: Where is the house and what is next to it, on your right?

Answers: The house is in Dyserth Road; at present it is unoccupied, unnumbered and unnamed but is generally known as the Cemetery Keeper’s Lodge. Next to it on your right is Maeshyfryd Cemetery.

This week’s winner is Gareth Morris, The Great Gareth.

The winner was drawn out of hat by Gaynor Williams who was not a contestant this week. Gaynor  is proprietor of the shop 'Aquarius' in Market Street.


Monday, 15 February 2010


RhylShirley Cooper was born in Aldershot and moved to Rhyl as a child; she went to St. Anne’s (Vale Road), Clwyd Street and Glyndwr schools. At the age of 16, Shirley sang ‘The Anniversary Waltz’ at her parents’ anniversary party and was immediately offered work as a singer. Thereafter she remained a part time vocalist. The photo above (left) shows her in 1954 taking a break during a performance at Summers Cafe, High Street.

Shirley was a natural singer (no lessons required) and was a long-time associate of Fred Williams and his Music who were based at Regent Ballroom, High Street. In 1959 she was one of the performers chosen to represent Rhyl in a BBC TV show. The other photo shows Shirley with husband Morgan Borthwick whom she married in 1961.

Morgan (born Liverpool, 1932) played piano from infancy, guided by his mother who was a piano tutor and school teacher. He moved at age six to Talacre where his mother became head of St. Michael’s, a small private school. From age ten onwards, Morgan took to organ and later played in a wide variety of formal and informal settings from church services to a summer season with entertainer Will Parkin at Coliseum Theatre, Rhyl.



RhylRhylIn addition to being an organist, Morgan Borthwick was an arranger and copyist and he was Secretary of Musicians’ Union Rhyl Branch 1954-57 and of North Wales Coast Branch 1971-2004.

In the 1960s, Morgan’s band ‘The Rhythmaires’ featured his wife Shirley and included drummer Malcolm Jones from the group ‘The Dolphins’. (Malcolm became best known for creative writing; he passed away in July 2009.) ‘The Rhythmaires’ packed up at the end of the ‘60s.

Morgan and Shirley stayed busy and played frequently at Rhyl venues such as Derbyshire Miners’ Welfare Holiday Centre, Marsh Road, and the Labour Club in Bodfor Street. A snapshot above, taken in 1976 at the Labour Club shows, left to right: Morgan, Colin Smith (bass guitar), Shirley, Ken Pegg (drums).

In a long career, Morgan and Shirley played at all kinds of venues across North Wales and beyond, including seasons in Malta where Shirley had family connections. The couple retired in 2007, and the photo taken a week or two ago by Yours Truly shows them relaxing at their home in Rhyl with part of Shirley’s collection of soft toys which runs the gamut from Paddington to Meerkat.


FRI 17th APR 2015 UPDATE: I regret to note here that Shirley passed away in July 2011.


Saturday, 13 February 2010


Queen Street was probably named in honour of Queen Victoria even though there is no record of Victoria ever having made an official visit to Rhyl. Queen Street was the place where movie pioneer Arthur Cheetham had a gramophone shop, the first premises in Rhyl to be lit by electricity. Later in Queen Street, Albert Gubay (Kwik Save) had his first Rhyl shop.

The item above (TOP) is from George Owen; it is a detail from a card postmarked 1904. The square at back of the Town Hall was on the photographer’s left and Market Street on right.

The middle photo is from Peter Trehearn and shows the prom end of Queen Street decked out for ‘Sunny Rhyl’s June Carnival 1929’, an event featured last week on this blog. Top of the street on the right was Savoy Cafe. On the opposite corner was Rhyl & Potteries Motors a coach hire/day trip company; the art deco Robins Corner CafĂ© materialised there four or five years later.

The colour picture was taken a few days ago by Yours Truly from a similar but safer position. At present much of the right-hand side is boarded up but Savoy Enterprises are still on the corner, operating an amusement arcade. Across the road the old Robins place has been restored and is now Les Harker’s Corner Cafe. Down the left-hand side you would find a cluster of good restaurants.


TUE 28th APR 2015 UPDATE: Just arrived here at Jones Towers is this Queen Street view from opposite direction, i.e. the photographer had his back to the sea. On your right is is a sign for Queen Street Baths (known as Astle's) where the Victory Club is now. The card's postmark is 1906.


Friday, 12 February 2010


World War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great WarWorld War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great WarThe photograph at the top was taken in 1913, the year before the war began; it shows soldiers training at signal camp in Royal Engineers Camp, Rhyl. The other black-and-white photo was taken in February 1915 on the prom near Rhyl Pavilion; it looks like an evening shot with sun setting in the west. General Sir Ivor Phillips, 2nd South Wales Brigade, is inspecting the troops.

The sepia photo shows wounded soldiers (as indicated by the lapels) relaxing on the sands opposite the Grand Hotel/Futurist Cinema (a forerunner of Queens Theatre). The wounded were looked after at the Men’s Convalescent Institution in Bedford Street, temporarily a Red Cross Hospital during WW1. The ladies may be Red Cross volunteers.

These pictures are from the collection of Gaynor Williams and there are more to come.


Thursday, 11 February 2010


David Hughes says, “This picture just surfaced from the attic of David Close. It shows the Rugby team of Glyndwr School, or Rhyl Junior High as it was then, in the winter of either 1968 or 1969.

Left to right:
“In the front row are: Russell Lloyd, David Hands, Gareth James whose father was minister at Christ Church, Stephen Atherton, Ray Williams and Tony Pritchard.

“Middle row: Ian Parry, Ian Hull, Martin Jones, Kevin Jones and Terry Walton.

“Back row: Robert Evans whose father had a butchers shop on Vale Road, David Close, David King whose father had the hairdressers in The Old Market in Sussex Street, Me - David Hughes, and then Keith Woodworth, Grenville Roberts and Keith Williams.”

My thanks to David Hughes for sending the photo. David is, under the name Ambrose Conway, the author of books The Reso: A Sixties Childhood (published 2007) and Beyond The Reso (published 2009). Both are available from Amazon:



George Owen says, “This photograph shows Glyndwr School Chess Club in 1954, a motley group hosted by Mr. Gumley who is sitting in the front row wearing a suit (next to headmaster Matthew Jones).

“Mr. Gumley was a very popular teacher and used to tell us stories about time he’d spent in the USA which in those days sounded very glamorous. I’m in front row and third from the right; first on the right is John Williams.

“In the middle row, 2nd from left is Brian Luke who became a captain in Merchant Navy and is now retired and living in Prestatyn; also in the middle row, furthest right is Neil Dorrington.

"Back row, first on the left is Terry Stanier. The rest I can’t remember. Note the shortpants - wouldn't do today!"


Wednesday, 10 February 2010


A week or two ago in Rhyl I took this photograph of a house. The gable caught my attention; it says 1892. So this week’s questions are:
Where is the house and what is next to it, on your right?

Please send your answers by email to:

All correct answers received before midday on Tuesday 16th Feb 2010 go in a hat and then I'll ask somebody to draw one at random. The result will be published next day.



Last Wednesday I said that the photograph top left was taken on the 1st of this month in Rhyl and the question was: Where was I standing when I took the photo?

The answer is Brighton Road.

The house behind the wall is shown in the photo top right; it is White Lodge, 35 Brighton Road, opposite Tong’s Funeral Services.

The correct answers went into a hat and the winner drawn at random was Gaynor Williams and that was her third win.

Pictured above is my pal Jill making the draw from my black trilby/ fedora at her place of work, Gallery 36 the local crafts and art shop, 36 Kinmel Street, Rhyl.