Wednesday, 4 August 2010


The names Mr. & Mrs. Jno. Williams turn up a lot on old Rhyl photos, especially portraits. It seems that Jno was a common way of abbreviating the name John. The picture above was sent by John Powell, or perhaps we could say Jno. Powell, who wonders where in High Street the The White Shop, Portland Studio was.

Cobbling together information received from Mike Lewis-Jones in Australia and Geoff Hughes, the picture is that the studio was opposite what is now The Piazza restaurant, formerly Plaza Cinema. It was above Hampson & James the chemist, 27 High Street (recently the Oggi Oggi bakery & coffee shop).

Eventually the Williams' business was taken over by Pat Williams (family relation maybe) who continued to use the name Portland Studio. Pat was a female professional photographer who was mentioned recently on this blog in connection with a Rhyl Golf Club publication c.1950.

Mike and Geoff confirm that subsequently Pat's business was taken over by Bob Jones who is still well remembered by Rhyl residents. Geoff says:

"Bob Jones hailed from Pwllheli or somewhere thereabouts. At first he traded with the name Pat Williams in brackets after his own name. Later Bob moved from High Street to a studio in Bodfor Street adjoining the Wynnstay Hotel (he rented rather than owned the property).

"I vividly remember trooping upstairs to that studio with my parents and three siblings to have a family photograph taken in 1967/8. (I was eleven at the time.)

"Bob later bought premises at 10 Kinmel Street and moved his studio there (the shop is now the Eastern Delight takeaway). Tragically he became terminally ill and the business was taken over by Graeme Thomas who had worked for Bob for some years."

SUN 15th MAR 2015: From files of the late Glyn Rees here is an undated photo showing a Pat Williams sign in a differing place in High Street, near Boots chemist. Glyn's notes say that this was known as Magnet Studio and the address is Magnet Buildings.
Click on the picture to see a bigger version:

Pat Williams, Boots chemist

THU 7th MAY 2015 UPDATE: An old advert elsewhere in Glyn's collection reveals that the Portland Studio was at No.8 High Street. Hey ho.