Monday, 2 March 2015

LITTLE VENICE # 1


Often I get asked about ‘Little Venice’ underneath Queens Shopping Centre aka Queens Market which has entrances in High Street, Sussex Street and West Parade.

‘Little Venice’ was a Venetian-style water ride with gondolas, in the basement of a business that used to be on the site long before, i.e. Queen’s Palace which existed only from 1902-1907.

There is no reason to believe that ‘Little Venice’ was particularly important in its own right. If it had been, I feel sure Rhyl’s first historian J.W. Jones would said a lot more about it than he did.

Water rides of a covered kind, whether underground or not, were commonplace and often described as rivers. Later there was one at Marine Lake Fun Fair, named at various times La Riviere Mysterieuse, River Caves and Waterways Of Mars.

Glyn Rees, who died earlier this year and I miss him, studied old Rhyl newspapers. He said there was no big fuss about ‘Little Venice’ in the press at the time. He added that before the end of Queens Palace, ‘Little Venice’ had disappeared from the venue's adverts and been replaced by something else.

Glyn and I shared the opinion there is too much romanticising about old Rhyl - and facts are more interesting. He is survived by daughters Lynne (now in Scotland) and Janine in Afon Wen. Bill Ellis and Yours Truly have been promised sight of his Rhyl history files.

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THE ARGENTINIAN CONNECTION


Recently, John Williams (husband of Stroma) gave up his Presidency of Rhyl Liberty Players. He has been a member of The Libs since 1963On behalf of blog readers everywhere I send him best wishes. John wonders why the Rhyl streets Patagonia Avenue and Madryn Avenue are named after places in Argentina. Anybody know?

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MON 17th APR 2015 UPDATE: Gareth Morris writes, “Patagonia had a large population of Welsh speakers who emigrated from Wales in the 1860s. Since then there have been many exchanges in both directions including their visit in 1953 to the National Eisteddfod in Rhyl. The streets in question were built in the mid 1950s and may have been named to commemorate that visit.”

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