Friday, 4 June 2010


Film Movie DVDThe DVD 'Rhyl - A Journey Through Time' comprises bits of old film presented seamlessly in more or less chronological order. Clips made locally by Rhyl’s pioneer film maker Arthur Cheetham are followed by rather better ones made by his successors the Shannon Brothers. The picture quality improves noticeably around 1920.

There are scenes of a Lifeboat Day c.1920 and aeroplane trips operating from the sands. (The film does not venture into residential Rhyl.) It bursts into colour for footage of the hovercoach/hovercraft trials in 1962 then reverts to black-and-white for a 15-minute segment by local film makers Barry Snelson and Michael Theaker.

The Snelson-Theaker part is titled ‘A Tale of Two Seasons’. It was made in 1960s and compares Rhyl in and out of season. By that time the town had become just a day tripper destination. The DVD rounds off with a short epilogue bringing the story up to date-ish; it was published in 1994.

Philip Lloyd and Harry Thomas played a part in the production, and these names are guarantees of accuracy. Any mistakes would not be their fault. In the commentary Wellington Road is referred to as Wellington Street, and Crescent Road becomes Crescent Street, but these are matters of no consequence.

There is one glaring error. We are told that Marine Lake Fun Fair closed in 1969 “because of a tragic accident in which a holidaymaker was killed on the Water Chute.” In fact it closed because the county council would not renew the lease held by the fun fair’s operators Rhyl Amusements Ltd, and the wretched chute had disappeared decades before.

There is enough on the DVD to interest most readers of this blog, although be warned that the picture quality overall is less than wonderful and the colour balance is all to hell. The playing time is 58 minutes and the price may be on the high side.