Wednesday, 30 June 2010


This photograph was taken a few days ago in Rhyl by Yours Truly. In it there is a street sign blanked out.
The question: What is the missing name?

readers sending the right answer shall be credited with a WIN.
No second tries accepted!

Closing date is Tuesday 6th July 2010 at 12 noon and the result will be published on this blog a day or two afterwards. Answers please to:



This photograph was taken a few days ago by Yours Truly showing a building which is in special kind of use. The questions are:
(a) What kind of use?
(b) In what street is the building?

You have to get both (a) and (b) correct!
ALL readers sending the right answers shall be credited with a WIN.
No second tries accepted!

Closing date is Tuesday 6th July 2010 at 12 noon and the result will be published on this blog a day or two afterwards. Answers please to:



Last Wednesday I posted a larger version of the above photo. In it there is a street sign blanked out.
The question: What is the missing name?

The answer: Cheltenham Avenue.

The winners: Sue Handley, Jane Shuttle, Pauline Hammans, The Great Gareth (9th win and still in the lead), Wayne Chadwick (1st win for Wayne), Liz Espley (1st win for Liz).

Well done, one and all!



RhylRhylRhylRhylLast week I had the pleasure of visiting Ray and June Barton at their home in Rhyl. Ray Barton was, in the opinion of colleagues and audiences, the best of the local accordion players and his wife June was a popular singer.

Ray was born in 1928 in Victoria Road, Rhyl. He attended Ysgol Emmanuel and Clwyd Street School. He started studying accordion while still in school and is to a large extent self-taught. Nevertheless he was doing radio and TV broadcasts from 1958 onwards. His sister was a music tutor and taught piano.

June was born near Wrexham and had an aunt in Rhyl with a boarding house in River Street. June took singing lessons with Tom Bradburn at his school in Chester and sang with Ray’s trio. In 1959, Ray and June appeared with other musicians and singers representing Rhyl in a BBCTV ‘Top Town’ programme in which towns competed by presenting a mini-variety show judged by a panel.

The black-and-white pictures above are from that period. The next picture (colour) was taken later, in the 1960s, at RAFA Club, Windsor Street, Rhyl. That’s Colin Smith on bass guitar; sometimes Ray’s bass player was Cliff Pennington and his drummer was usually Dougie Webb. Other Rhyl venues were Conservative Club in Market Street and Robin Hood camp - also the Kinmel Bay camps Sunnyvale and Golden Sands.

Ray played in all styles and appeared at various times with saxists Albert Williams, Clem Maiden and jazzman Colin Higginson. Ray retained amateur/semi-pro status and continued working as an administrator for Rhyl Urban District Council and later Rhuddlan Borough Council. June kept busy with the trio and sang in concerts at Rhyl Pavilion, Town Hall Warrington and in Spain and Malta.



Colin HigginsonIan BirrellJune Barton started singing at a time when the big star vocalists included Lita Roza and Alma Cogan. June’s own repertoire included standards such as ‘Ma, He’s Making Eyes At Me’ and ‘All Of Me’, and she took easily to songs of the 1960s such as ‘There’s A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)’.

Shown above are some of June’s favourite singers: Peggy Lee and Karen Carpenter, followed by Rhyl’s very own Roma Taylor who is pictured in the early ‘60s at The Sun Inn, Wellington Road, Rhyl, with (left to right) Arthur Leon, Colin Higginson and Harry Lightfoot.
Picture from the collection of Colin Higginson.

Another local singer rated highly by June is Judi Hewitt (Teena of Teena and the Knightbirds). In the final photo, Judi is shown towards the end of ‘60s with members of resident showband at The Haven Hotel, West Parade (l-r) Brian ‘Mousey’ Lewis, Neville Wilding and Ian Birrell.
Picture from the collection of Judi and Bob Hewitt.

FRI 13th APR 2018 UPDATE: The above-mentioned Messrs. Wilding and Birrell had a hand in the making of 7-inch 45rpm record Rhyls-ville.

These references are added here for indexing purposes:
Castle Records UK, Rhylsville song, Gold music group, Rhyl Silver Band, Simon Paul Millard, L.E. Music, C. Wilkinson recording engineer.

The following is another 7-inch 45rpm record. This was published a year later, in 1981. It was a private recording not sold in shops, and therefore it's jolly hard to find. Side A: The Rhyl Song / Side B: When Love Comes Around.

No information here about the performers Rhylated Music or the record label WMH.

THU 14th JUN 2018 UPDATE: In 2017 a Bristol-based band named Plume Of Feathers produced a song titled RHYL LOVE.
The song is in a YouTube video which begins with an old Rhyl picture postcard - but that appears to be the song's only connection with us.

I hope you understand the song and the video better than I did.

Colin Jones / email:


Sunday, 27 June 2010


Speaking for myself, I felt a sense of relief on hearing that the England team had been kicked out of the World Cup by Germany. The pageant of swaggering, strutting, spitting and buzzing is tiresome for those of us who regard football as just a game rather than a religion.

The presence of flags of St. George all over Rhyl seemed oppressive and now they look silly in the light of a 4-1 defeat.

Generations of British men have been brought up to believe that alcohol is essential and/or football is important. They have not realised that these are myths and, while they have been following the bouncing ball, the new Conserberal government has been busy cooking up radical changes.

And in the Labour Party camp too, something is stirring. A few days ago, one of the contenders in the Labour Party leadership contest, David Miliband, was spotted in Rhyl’s High Street with our Labour MP and a raggle taggle of party followers and apparatchiks from the Kinmel Street Kremlin.

David Miliband, once a Head of Policy for Tony Blair, may appeal to Tory voters in marginal constituencies, but nobody except a tiny number of card carrying members is likely to give a hoot who leads the Labour Party. This blogger certainly doesn’t.

For the time being, for the Labour Party and the England football team, the party is over.



EisteddfodThe 1953 snap above came to me from an international smuggler. The recently-crowned Queen Elizabeth II is passing through Rhuddlan on her way to Rhyl to look at the site of the forthcoming National Eisteddfod.

I was six years old and the family was living in High Street, Rhuddlan, near where the snap was taken. I was given a union flag and told to wave it.

Ann Hayes, an old friend of this blog, says, “I vaguely remember the Queen's visit. We lived on Rhuddlan Road, Rhyl, and her car drove past – I remember us all standing in the front garden. There was much excitement! Here are some scans from the Rhyl May Day programme of 1953. May Queen Ruth Hall’s mother (was Phyllis Lane) had been a May Queen in 1934.”

Click on any picture to see a bigger version and be able to read the small print:

These scans should please fans of old adverts. More please, Ann!

[These references are added here for indexing purposes: Queen Elizabeth II, Arthur Daltry, Mrs F C Anderson, Fred Henson, S Shepherd, Norman Smith, May Queen Ruth, Percy Thomas, May Queen Phyllis, Mivals, Brookes Milk.]


Thursday, 24 June 2010


The upper picture is c.1954 and captures girls from St. Mary’s Convent School, Rhyl, putting on The Magic Flute, a version of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Don’t let the moustaches fool you; they are all girls. Standing are (left to right): Angela Cummings, Shirley Bosson, Mary Sellwood, possibly Valentine Newton, Maureen Digan, Anne Clementson, Don't know girl with star, Judy Watson, Marie Churchill, Judy Cocks, Mary Higgs, possibly Antoinette Heysham, Janet Jones, and Margaret Thomas.

Kneeling: Jennifer Kirkup, Don't know, Nora Watts, Ann Lloyd-Ellis is sitting in centre, Audrey Cordukes, Don't know, Marjorie Jones.

The lower picture immortalises St. Mary’s Convent School’s Winter Ballet of 1952. The four on the left are Shirley Bosson, Antoinette Heysham, Sylvia Parr and Ann Yoxall. The four on right are Anne Clementson, Angela Cummings, Diana Nicholas, Christine Broadbent. The tots around the snowman are not named.

Diana Nicholas (now Diana Davies of Canada) is the sender of both photos. Diana says:
"Sometimes our productions were staged at Rhyl Town Hall but these photos were taken at the school. We had fund raising events of some kind to buy curtains for the stage and also for the hard surface tennis courts. Our stage had a painted drop curtain at the front. The back walls of the stage area were painted too: a garden scene of some kind, I think, with steps and huge pots of flowers.

“One of the classrooms opened onto the stage. One of the little girls in that class used to wander around the classroom all the time, so the teacher in charge opened the door to the stage and put her just through it and tied her to the chair. Loosely and gently of course, but wouldn't there be a fuss if it was done now?”

I’ll say there would, Diana!


Wednesday, 23 June 2010


This photograph was taken three or four months ago in Rhyl by Yours Truly. In it there is a street sign blanked out.
The question: What is the missing name?

ALL readers sending the right answer shall be credited with a WIN.
No second tries accepted!

Closing date is Tuesday 29th June 2010 at 12 noon and the result will be published on this blog a day or two afterwards. Answers please to:



Islwyn AvenueLast Thursday I posted a larger version of this photograph and said that it showed a cul-de-sac. The question was:
What is the name of the cul-de-sac?

The answer: Islwyn Avenue. That was a tough one; I had never noticed the place before I photographed it. Islwyn Avenue is off Russell Road and faces the back of Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The winners:

Jane Shuttle. It is the 7th win for Jane. She has drawn level with The Legendary Lloyd & Kerry, only a step behind The Great Gareth.

Pauline Hammans of Australia. It's the 4th win for Pauline (who is at present in Rhyl).


Sunday, 20 June 2010


Here are photographs sent by new contributor Elizabeth Espley. The evocative out-of-season snapshots were taken in 1967 just before Elizabeth left to live in Australia. (I am pleased to report that she is now back here.)

The pier was closed awaiting demolition; the basket chairs were approaching the end of their working lives. Elizabeth was about to start a new chapter and the old-style holiday Rhyl was slipping away from us, never to return.

[These references are added here for indexing purposes: Hi Hat ice cream, Lifeboat house.]



These 1967 May Day snaps are from Elizabeth Espley. The May Queen that year was Miss Christine Harrison. The pictures are a little unusual in that they were taken in Wellington Road opposite Dowell’s the newsagent, Liverpool Arms and Sidoli’s.

Thank you, Elizabeth.


Thursday, 17 June 2010


RhylLast week I had the pleasure of visiting Trevor and Enid Hill at their home in Rhyl.

Trevor Hill (born in Rhyl, 1928) is a distinguished pianist and tutor. He attended Christ Church Primary School in Vaughan Street and went on to private education. He studied music from the age of 7 and had piano lessons from Miss Gates (who later became Mrs. Evans) of John Street, and he took to composing at an early age.

Trevor attended Royal Manchester College of Music and played concerts in all kinds of settings including prisons! He performed for Rhyl Music Club and played for Rita Landi's Choir and was a member of Rhyl Liberty Players (amateur dramatics) at The Little Theatre.

In 1952, he played a season as member of the orchestra at Queens Theatre, Rhyl, and while there he accompanied Laurel and Hardy amongst others.

After college, Trevor moved to London while retaining a base in Rhyl. In London he played as soloist and accompanist and studied under Herbert Fryer, a tutor of international standing. In mid--to-late 1950s Trevor performed recitals at Salle Erard, Great Marlborough Street, and these were important from a career point of view.

Pictured above with Trevor is his wife Enid (was Enid Williams). The couple married in 1956 at Bath Street Methodist Church in Rhyl. Enid’s brother Albert was well known to local musicians because he ran the music shop Box & Co. (formerly Box & Stansfield) in Water Street, which became eventually Price Evans Music Shop.

In late 1950s/early ‘60s Trevor made some television appearances and obtained an honours degree from Durham University. In 1960s and ’70s he did some part-time tutoring for Open University. From 1972-2009 he ran courses in Music Appreciation organised by Workers’ Educational Assoc (WEA) in partnership firstly with University of Wales Bangor and later Coleg Harlech.


TUE 28th APR 2015 UPDATE: I regret to note that since this post was written Trevor and Enid have both passed away.



This photograph was taken last week in Rhyl by Yours Truly. It shows a cul-de-sac. The question is: What is the name of the cul-de-sac?

ALL readers sending the right answer shall be credited with a WIN.
No second tries accepted!

Closing date is Tuesday 22th June 2010 at 12 noon and the result will be published on this blog a day or two afterwards. Answers please to:



Last Thursday I posted larger versions of these photos and said that they showed top and bottom of the same road. The question: What is the name of the road?

The answer is Hilltop Road.

The winners are:
Pauline Hammans (third win for Pauline)
Jane Shuttle (sixth for Jane)
Sue Handley (third for Sue)
The Legendary Lloyd & Kerry (seventh win!)
Rachel Sorahan (first win for Rachel)

The Great Gareth is still in the lead with eight.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Mr. Terry Williams, presently residing in Newcastle upon Tyne, would like to know why there isn’t a site like Rhyl Life dedicated to St. Asaph. Search me, Terry. Above are a few old pix by way of consolation.

They are undated, alas. You will find among them a view from the Cathedral tower and a rare shot of the railway station which used to be in Chester Street. The station was part of the Vale of Clwyd line (Rhyl to Denbigh). For further info about the line please click here:


MON 6th JUL 2015 UPDATE: More St. Asaph! The image of Old Pont Dafydd is undated, and the Cathedral picture is circa 1905:


Sunday, 13 June 2010


Here are skating pictures from Dorothy Jones of Rhyl showing members of the Rhyl Seagulls roller skating team 1950s.

Left to right:
In the photograph at the top: Arthur Roberts, Danny Jones the goalkeeper (Dorothy's late husband), Harry Bennett, Ross Taylor, Wilf Littleton and Don't know.

In the middle: Danny Jones – and that’s the clearest picture of the Seagulls’ emblem I’ve ever seen – then Ross Taylor's father with the trophy, and then Arthur Roberts.

And finally some clowning on the rink; Danny is on the far right.

Thank you, Dorothy.


Thursday, 10 June 2010


These photographs were taken a few days ago in Rhyl by Yours Truly and they show the two ends of the same road.
What is the name of the road?

ALL readers sending the right answer shall be credited with a WIN.
No second tries accepted!

Closing date is Tuesday 15th June 2010 at 12 noon and the result will be published on this blog a day or two afterwards. Answers please to:



Last Wednesday’s questions were about these parallel streets off the same avenue. The questions were:
1. What is the name of the street on your left?
2. What is the name of the street on your right?
3. What is the name of the avenue in which I was standing?
4. What is the name of the avenue at the far end of the streets?

The answers:
1. Osborne Grove (on street map) or Osbourne Grove (on street signs)
2. Balmoral Grove
3. I was standing in Sandringham Avenue
4. Sydenham Avenue.

Only one entry was correct and before deadline, and that came from The Legendary Lloyd & Kerry, their sixth win. Now they are only two steps behind The Great Gareth!



As the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa approaches, Wales failed to qualify and some Welsh people will be supporting the team playing for England. (Even more, I suspect, will be supporting the teams playing against England.)

The event has led to the usual outbreak of English flags in Rhyl and the arrogance of wavers is remarkable. They would not dare behave this way in Scotland, but they think it's OK here because they look upon Wales as a second rate or non-existent country.

If the outbreak of St. Georgery tells us anything, it must be an indication of how resources in Wales have been spent on creating accommodation for which there was no genuinely local demand. Many flats and houses have gone by default to incomers. I hope planning officers take note.

My best wishes go to all the teams in the tournament and all their supporters for a happy and peaceful event.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Below are Rhyl pictures sent by Derek Johnson of New Zealand.

Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

The photo at the top is of a charabanc owned by the Rhyl company White Rose Motors. It carries no date or other info but has points of interest, not least of which is on the side of the bus: 12 MPH.

Of the black-and-white shot, Derek says, “This shows Rhyl Football Club around 35 years ago. In the front row, from the left: the white-haired chap with a tie is M. Evans, and then it’s Vernon Allen, Bob Jeffries, Don’t know, John Williams, Joe Darlington and Don’t know. I’m in the middle row, dark hair and glasses. On the end of the middle row, far right is David Evans. Next to him is George James.”

The photo of a milk float/May Day float dates from 1952 (May Queen Elissa Sewell). The milkman is Derek’s father Dan Johnson who worked many years for the Cooperative Wholesale Society CWS and was involved in the May Day Committee.

Of the final item, Derek says, “The picture was taken around 63 years ago outside Rhyl Pavilion and shows entrants in a beautiful babies contest. My mother Eira is the first mother from left in the front row with my brother Harold and myself on her knee."