Friday, 28 May 2010


Hesketh WardConvalescents' Dining HallOpen air treatmentBoys' balconyMurray Browne WardSalt water bathHere are more items from Diana Davies in Canada. These relate to previous posts about Royal Alexandra Hospital, Marine Drive, Rhyl. They are postcards of photos by Rae Pickard and would be from the early 1900s when the Alex was a children’s’ hospital.

From the top: (a) Hesketh Ward (this picture was sent in by John Powell as well - thanks John); (b) convalescents’ dining hall; (c) open-air treatment, the intended use of the balconies; (d) boys’ balcony; (e) Murray Browne Ward; and (f) the salt-water bath – so much safer than the sea.

There are more pictures from Diana in the pipeline.

SUN 14th OCT 2018 UPDATE: Another image of the Alex by Rae Pickard, a shot of the Convalescents' Dining Hall.

Upper centre on the far wall is a sign carrying the chilling message:

In those days religion was Big Brother. It was a significant factor in health care and even more so in education. Children were brainwashed, bullied and threatened ideologically by church and state. When they went to war they really believed it was for God and the King (or Queen). Doubts were not permitted.


Wednesday, 26 May 2010


John Powell, Rhyl Life’s Minister of Transport, has sent these. At the top is a picture of Rhyl Railway Shed Staff taken in 1947.

In the front row (left to right) Don’t know, Mr. Maddox, T. Hornby, Jack Passey and T. Molloy. In the middle row (l to r) Percy Harrison, John Robinson (Shed Foreman), J. Parsonage, J. MacDonald, Lew Jones, Harry Boulter, Ben Jones and Percy Jones. In the back row: T. Williams, F. Tasker, T. Austin and Bill Neal.

John took the colour photo on October 6th, 1983 in Rhyl. A train is loaded with track which had been stored in the yard here. The train is being made ready to take the load to Colwyn Bay where the track was needed in re-positioning the line to make way for the new A55 road.

The yard area, right hand side of the picture, is now for car parking / retailing including Morrisons supermarket.



CrosvilleCrosvilletrainsHere are more items from John Powell.

From the top: (1) Foryd Station in Kinmel Bay 1890s; (2) Rhyl Railway Station 1908; (3) Crosville Bus Depot in Crescent Road after a devastating fire in July 1945; (4) Rhyl Bus Station, High Street, June 1950; and (5) Rhyl Locomotive Shed in September 1962.

Readers with a special interest in transport in North Wales please click on the following link to see John’s own web site:


Monday, 24 May 2010


Ann Hayes of Ruthin, who on one memorable occasion fought me on eBay for a postcard of Rhyl donkeys, has been contributing items to this site for ten or twelve months.

During the course of email correspondence, Ann and I discovered that her father Les Hayes and my father Len Jones were colleagues from 1930s onwards on MANWEB (Merseyside and North Wales Electricity Board). Mr. Hayes passed away in 1995. My Dad soldiers on at the age of 94 refusing all help – he'll be a hard act to follow.

Of the Rhyl pictures above, the unidentified group at the top looks austere enough to be a Sunday School class.

The Town Hall card is postmarked 1930 and shows the part of the building that used to be the public library, Carnegie Free Library, with trees outside; it is now a county council rent collection office with no trees. I see that the camera or print was tilted in the time-honoured way so as to make its clock tower look straight.

The photo of St. Anne’s Church, Vale Road, looks rather rural bearing in mind it shows the side that faces town, and the Foryd Harbour shot is by local photographer Rae Pickard whose work has become sought after by collectors.


Sunday, 23 May 2010


These pictures are postcards from the collection of Ann Hayes. The one at the top looks the earliest; note the glider – you could take trips from the sands in one of those if you dared. The middle one is another from the pre-World War 2 period.

The final one dates from after 1951 when the eastern promenade was extended to the Prestatyn boundary. The sight of those salty, sandy steps brings a wave of nostalgia that not even photos of the old Pavilion and pier could match. I can smell those steps and feel their texture . . .

TUE 10th JAN 2017 UPDATE: Regarding the 1951 promenade extension, here is a snapshot of workmen laying the first portion. Photographer unknown.



engine locomotiveBrookes BrosThe questions:

The photograph above (TOP) was taken in early 1950s in Rhyl; pictured is a small push and pull train which ran a shuttle service between Rhyl and Llandudno.What was the name of the train?
What family name was associated with the White Rose bus company?

The answers:

The Welsh Dragon
Brookes. (The proprietors were the Brookes brothers.)

The winner: The Great Gareth.

That ends the recent run of history questions and at this point in the quiz as a whole: Gareth has a total of eight wins; The Legendary Lloyd & Kerry have five; Jane Shuttle has five; Gaynor Williams has three; and there are 11 readers with two wins or one. All these results are carefully inscribed in copperplate handwriting in a ledger of honour here at Jones Towers overlooking the glamorous west end of Rhyl.


WED 2nd JUN 2010 UPDATE: To add an egg to the pudding, John Powell has sent this photo of the launch of The Welsh Dragon in 1951 in Rhyl. On right is district motive power superintendent Mr. G.C. Parslew; the other person is unknown.


Thursday, 20 May 2010


The questions related to the photos above:
What was on the promenade walkway opposite what is now Mr. B’s from 1892 until World War 2, and why was it removed?
Was the promenade picture showing the old Pavilion taken before or after 1959, and how can you tell by looking at it?

The answers are:
A large and splendid ornamental fountain, and it was removed in a scrap metal drive to help the war effort during World War 2 (by which time it was about 60 years old and not so splendid);
After 1959. You can tell because on the left of the picture the single-storey Coliseum Theatre (originally open-air) is shown with a roof. It was roofed in 1960.

The winner:
Peter Trehearn. Second win for Peter.


Above are pictures showing the ornamental fountain referred to in QUIZ ANSWER # 57. The one at the top is a card postmarked 1906. The black-and-white photo shows the opening ceremony in 1892. The fountain was switched on by the Lord Mayor of London with other dignitaries in attendance. The photo is from the book ‘Glorious Rhyl - a peep at its past’ by Philip Lloyd (published 2002).



PierPierPier, AmphitheatreThese are contributions sent by George Owen.

At the top is a drawing made with a great deal of artistic licence and, if that’s Marine Lake top right, the picture is not as old as it looks. Marine Lake opened in 1895, and so the drawing would be c.1900.

The second drawing is captioned ‘Rhyl Pier and buildings pre-1880’ and is interesting if only because we never got the buildings. The illustration may be one of several speculative plans commissioned by the private company that owned the pier, in advance of deciding to construct the pier’s Grand Pavilion (opened 1891).

The third picture shows the scene after the Grand Pavilion was destroyed by fire in 1901. A little wooden theatre was erected – the Pier Amphitheatre – which was rebuilt in brick in the 1920s and occupied by Billie Manders’ Quaintesques season after season. On that site now is the Seaquarium.

The colour photo, presumably 1950s, shows the view down Wellington Road from Foryd Bridge.

Finally, we have a mystery picture of which George says: “The portrait of a lady has intrigued me for years. It was among my father’s photos but I don’t know who she is or whether she is a relation. Photographer was J. Hughes, described on back of the portrait as a landscape photographer. He may have been local.”


Wednesday, 19 May 2010


These are contributions sent by George Owen.

The photograph at the top shows the interior of St. John’s Church, Wellington Road in 1948.

Of the next picture George says, “It shows a St. John’s Church Choir outing to Chester Zoo in late 1940s. Second from the left, back row, is Frank Port who was Headmaster of St. John’s School (‘The Gas School’) and later became Head of Clwyd Street School. Second from right in the back row is Norman Clark, Verger at St. Thomas’ for many years.
John Asher, the choirmaster and organist at St. John’s for many years, is on the right of the front row with a flat cap on; he was succeeded as Choirmaster at St. John’s by Frank Port. The only choirboy I can name is Arthur Oakley, third from left front row, who now lives in Abergele.”

The colour snap is a 1950s shot of Wellington Road, looking to the west from a corner of River Street.

Finally there is a photo showing remains of Salem Bungalow which had been standing on the beach near Rhyl Golf Club opposite Robin Hood holiday park. The bungalow was destroyed during a storm in 1944; the photograph is dated 1945. Some remains can still be seen and I know of at least one eight year old girl who believes it to be a mermaid’s house.

Interesting batch, thank you George.



Odeon Cinema

The Apollo Bingo Club above, photographed last year by Yours Truly, holds a commanding position on a corner of High Street and Brighton Road and still looks modern despite the fact that the building dates back to the 1930s.

It opened in 1937 as an Odeon Cinema, part of national chain, and cost £45,000. The Odeons were distinguishable by the swish art deco style with curves rather than corners, and large areas of cream tiling.

In the 1930s, cinemas were big business and audience numbers were high (younger readers please note that it was before television had been invented). The black-and-white photo above is from an Internet source; the other items were sent by George Owen. Some readers will have memories of going to the Odeon’s Saturday Morning Children’s Club.

If memory serves, in the Odeon auditorium to the left of the screen there was a suitably stylish, numberless clock of six-sided shape. George wonders if it still there. Bingo goers will know, bingo goers will tell me.

In 1972 the Odeon, by then taken over and renamed Astra Cinema, underwent alterations to become the first three-screen complex in Wales: Astra 1, 2 and 3. The photo below was taken in 1981:

By the mid 1980s the Odeon/Astra had been taken over by Apollo and was running as two cinemas plus bingo at first - and bingo only since the present Apollo Cinema Complex opened on the prom.



The questions:
Where was the roller skating in the colour postcard above?
The other picture shows a Rhyl lifeboat. It was on station from 1968 to 1990 and saved 28 lives. Was the lifeboat’s name Har-Lil, Mary Gabriel or Lil Cunningham?

The answers:
The roller skating was on the site of Queen’s Palace, later Queens Theatre / Ballroom, sometime after the former had been destroyed by fire in 1907 and before the latter opened in 1926.
The lifeboat’s name was Har-Lil. Author Jeff Morris says that the cost of building the lifeboat was provided by the legacy of Miss Janie Watt of Renfrewshire, and was named in memory of her late parents Harry and Lilian.

The winner:
Sue Handley. Sue’s second win.

TUE 22nd NOV 2016 UPDATE: Just arrived here at Jones Towers is this undated postcard of the Har-Lil.
Click on it to see a bigger version.

FRI 3rd AUG 2018 UPDATE: Har-Lil again, this time on a postcard published by RNLI.


Monday, 17 May 2010


The General Election has led to a government comprising strange bedfellows with Conservatives and Liberal Democrats working side by side for as long as they can stand it. The coalition cabinet got off to a good start by cutting their own pay by five per cent. (Ninety-five per cent of a lot is still a lot of course, but the gesture was well received.)

A decision has been taken to scrap the former Labour government’s absurd and ruinously expensive Identity Cards scheme, and the new boys are grappling with ways of introducing electoral reform.

Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Wales today. He has appointed a Welsh Secretary at Westminster: Tory MP Cheryl Gillan (pictured above). Mrs. Gillan was born in Cardiff and represents an English constituency. Recently she got herself in hot water in the expenses scandal.

Mrs. Gillan is said to have claimed for dog food, over-claimed for her gas bill, and employed her husband as ‘Office Manager/Researcher’. She charged for a second home even though main home in her constituency was on the London Underground network – and then she had the cheek to over-claim for the mortgage costs on it.

Thank you Mr. Cameron, I’m sure that she will be a great asset to Wales.


SAT 29th MAY 2010 UPDATE: David Laws, Lib Dem MP for Yeovil and Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the new government’s cabinet, has resigned. This follows revelations in the Daily Telegraph that Mr. Laws had claimed tens of thousands of pounds in housing expenses for ‘renting rooms’ from a man with whom he was living in a homosexual relationship.



This photograph above (TOP) shows a building under construction in 1926 in Wellington Road, Rhyl. The question was: What business occupies the building today?
The lower picture shows a rail accident in Rhyl. The question was: Was the accident in 1964, 1973 or 1982?


The answers:

The building, Westcliffe Building next to the former St John's Church, is occupied by Twiltex (furniture and carpets store)
The picture is from the book ‘The Spirit Of Rhyl’ by Bill Ellis (published 2004).


The winner:
Jane Shuttle. Jane has won two-in-a-row on two occasions and has a total of 5 wins, which puts her on a par with The Legendary Lloyd & Kerry. The Great Gareth is still in the lead with 7 wins.