Wednesday, 30 September 2015


In 1906 when pioneer film maker Arthur Cheetham, the subject of previous posts in this blog, opened his Silvograph Cinema in Market Street, Rhyl, he had no serious rivals until Henry "Harry" Kirk.

In 1911, Mr. Kirk opened a cinema named The Picturedrome in a converted High Street shop near where McDonalds is now. At the time he was a member of Gilbert Rogers' Jovial Jesters, a concert party that entertained on Rhyl sands:

beach sands, minstrel pitch

This portrait of Harry Kirk in stage costume is on a card posted in 1909:

entertainer, entrepreneur

Unlike Mr. Cheetham, Mr. Kirk did not make films - his Picturedrome is said to have shown mainly American movies. Appropriately he took to wearing a Stetson hat.

Personally, I prefer his straw boater.

Like Mr. Cheetham, Harry had other interests. In addition to being an entertainer he was a postcard publisher, stationery wholesaler, and toys and fancy goods importer at numbers 3 & 74 High Street.

Here is a postcard published by - and featuring - the man himself:

Mr. Kirk let go of his cinema in 1917 to Saronie's Enterprises. It went through changes of owner & changes of name, and closed down in 1921 by which time is was called the City Picture House. 

Kirk's Cinema

All the cinemas mentioned in this post were ‘silent’ cinemas. The talkies did not arrive until the end of the 1920s.



Current re-jigging of the interior of Rhyl Library, Church Street, has meant the permanent closure of the art gallery (oriel is the Welsh equivalent of the English word gallery). The space is to be used for offices.


Sunday, 27 September 2015


Here is a Rhyl cul-de-sac photographed this month by Yours Truly.
The question: What is its name?


Of the trio of Rhyl buildings shown below, one was never a school.
The question: Is the one that was never a school at the top, in the middle or at the bottom?

Click on any image to see a bigger version.


The next question was inspired by pictures sent by Dave Williams. The photo below, showing an exterior wall plaque on a Rhyl building, was taken this month by Yours Truly.

The plaque refers to Mr. Robert Jones, a ship builder at Foryd harbour.
The question: What is the name of the building?

There are three questions. You would score 1 win for any two correct answers, or 2 wins for all three correct answers.

You have until the end of Saturday 3rd October 2015 to send your entry.
Second tries not accepted.
The result will be published on Sunday 4th October 2015 around Midday.

Colin Jones / email:



Last Sunday I posted the above picture of an exterior wall plaque bearing the inscription F.J.G. 1900The question: Where in Rhyl would you find this plaque?
The answer: Gamlin Street.
It is near the roof of a house on corner of Marsh Road as shown below in a photo taken this month by Yours Truly:

F.J.G. equals F.J. Gamlin who was a prominent councillor at the time. Those early councillors (and the commissioners that preceded them) were fond of naming things after each other.
In Marsh Road, each side of Gamlin Street, are the Lily Terrace and Agnes Terrace plaques that figured in a previous quiz question.The two ladies may have been Gamlins as well.

Also posted was an image of a Rhyl hotel shown on a card postmarked 1926. The question: What is the name of the hotel? 
The answer: Marlborough Hotel.
Here is the card with its caption restored:

The Marlborough still exits in East Parade. In the old picture, the Marlborough's sign is over only the nearest door suggesting the 'end part' was a separate business as it is now.
Here is a photo taken this month by Yours Truly showing the Marlborough in deep blue, flanked by The Kensington Hotel on your left and Portland Hotel on your right:

Also posted was this other photo taken this month by Yours Truly, with a place name blanked out. The question: What is the missing name?
The answer: Arfon Grove.
Here is the photo with the name restored:

So there were three questions, and scoring 1 win for two correct answers or 2 wins for all three, are:
Dilys Bagnall 2, Jane Shuttle 2, The Great Gareth 2, Richard & Ceri Swinney 1.


Friday, 25 September 2015


In April this year in this blog a couple of old railway posters went down well, so here are more.

The first is a London & North West Railway (L&NWR) acknowledgement card of the kind sent to enquirers or complainers. Presumably it was a poster as well:


L&NWR operated from 1846-1922. Rhyl Pavilion is illustrated so the item must be 1908 or later. Twist my arm and I'll say circa 1910.


Here is a London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) poster. The company operated from 1923-1948. Featured is our Open Air Swimming Pool aka The Baths which opened in 1930. The poster looks 1930s.


Railway companies were nationalised (taken over and run) by a Labour government on 1st January 1948 and named British Railways, which in 1965 was rebranded as British Rail.

That tells us that the two British Railways posters below are circa 1950s. This is Sherlock Jones speaking.


Pictured in a previous post in this blog was a vintage car named Rhyl. Here below is a train named Rhyl:


Pictured at Birmingham New Street Station probably, this train carried the name 'Rhyl' from January 1938 to November 1963 and operated in the English Midlands. Transport buffs can find out more about the train by clicking here:


Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Rhyl Youth Action Group RYAG

The new building above is on corner of Elwy Street and Wellington Road. It is receiving finishing touches, having been started as long ago as 2009 by the former Rhyl Youth Action Group (RYAG).

RYAG was funded principally by the charitable organisation The Prince of Wales Trust and by Welsh Government to a total of about three quarters of a million pounds.

For reasons never explained publicly the group disappeared leaving the community with an unfinished building that has been an eyesore for years and with flats tenanted by young offenders.

Now, ownership of the building has fallen into the hands of Pennaf/Clwyd Alyn. [This company's creeping monopoly of property ownership in Rhyl West ought to be the subject of a public inquiry.]

Public money has been used to complete the building and there it stands looking for all the world like a cinema . . . but nothing so potentially profitable would ever be contemplated.

As for RYAG, I have heard that one or two individuals involved in that disaster are dipping into the public purse for more projects.

Colin Jones / email:


Monday, 21 September 2015


In 1946, when I was born in Denbighshire Infirmary, the family was living at 22 High Street, Rhuddlan. [Please note: Rudlunn is not a good way to pronounce, Rith-lan is nearer the mark.]

In the photo above, No.22 is on far right, the cottage with white door. One of my earliest memories is of picking up bottle tops of many colours from the back yard of New Inn next-door-but-one.

The cottage, New Inn and the infants' school in Gwindy Street where I went, all had outside toilets and all with spiders.

Gwindy Street sometimes called The Gwindy is the left turning in the old picture above.

In High Street opposite the cottage I remember a fish & chips shop run by Goronwy and his wife Sheila. Gron's did good business even though his nose was always running.

As a little one safe in the world I stood with a wooden stick on my shoulder guarding the castle in case the Germans tried to capture it. (The war had been over for years).

I patrolled outside the castle gates until Mr. Wynne a kindly man with a club foot, who sold tickets of admission and sweets, came out of his office/shop/shed and sent me home because it was getting late. 

My father Len, a St. Asaph lad, one day took me on his shoulders down to Rhuddlan Station for a ride on the train. Nobody had told him the station closed down.

When I graduated to the primary school in Hylas Lane I walked there with older children. My mother Vera, a Rhyl girl, stood on the cottage steps in the rain and shouted, "Don't get wet!"

In High Street on Gron's side there was a newsagents named Wignall’s and Rhuddlan Library where I discovered Just William and Sherlock Holmes books - and Jack Stanley’s Milk Bar.

Now the library's gone round the corner, off Vicarage Lane:

My mother was awestruck when we got a brand new council house on the edge of the village, at 10 Harding Avenue. All that space! Indoor toilet, lovely bathroom!

While living there I went to St. Asaph Grammar School and learned how to be bullied and oppressed. Soon after my leaving S.A.G.S. a promotion for my father meant having to move from Rhuddlan.

I retain an affection for the village. 

The colour photos are from a set of 75 Rhuddlan pix taken during Summer 2010 by journalist and photographer Rob Davies. You can see a slideshow of many of them on my YouTube channel RhylTime:

Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!


SUN 27th SEP 2015 UPDATE 1: Gareth Morris writes re: the school in Gwindy Street:

"Yes the outside toilets were really grim. I can remember the big fireplace in Miss Edwards' class, and the mid-morning break for milk drunk from the bottle with a straw.

"Also I remember the day we all had to go to the new infants' school in Hylas Lane and the Headmaster, Alex Jones, telling us what part of the field we could play on.

"I lived in Abbey Villa on Princes Road until 1959 when we moved to Princes Park not far from Harding Avenue.

"I have been inside 22 High Street when an older brother of a school friend I knew moved there to live in the early 1960s.

"If I recall, Mr. Wignall was a very heavy smoker, so was Mrs. Marsden who sold wool and sweets on the corner of Princes Road."


SUN 27th SEP 2015 UPDATE 2: Gareth's mention of Princes Road brings back memory of the scout hut called The Tin Shed where Rhuddlan’s huddled Catholics met for Mass.

And from the Jones Towers family archive here is my sister, now Gloria Wilkes, as Rose Queen of Rhuddlan in 1948. I was not yet two years old, too young and troublesome to be present:

Click on the picture to see clearly.

This is a cutting from one of Harry Thomas’ Memory Lane series in The Visitor newspaper (April 24, 2002). I bumped into Harry not long ago in Prestatyn and was pleased to find him hale and hearty.


More castlery: a colour image, drawing by J.A. Elliott-Jones and a badge!





Sunday, 20 September 2015


Here is a detail from a photo taken this month by Yours Truly, showing an exterior wall plaque. The inscription reads F.J.G. 1900.
The question: Where in Rhyl would you find this plaque?

Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

The following is a Rhyl hotel shown on a card postmarked 1926.
The question: What is the name of the hotel?

Below is another photo taken this month by Yours Truly, with a place name blanked out.
The question: What is the missing name?

There are three questions. You would score 1 win for any two correct answers, or 2 wins for all three correct answers.

You have until the end of Saturday 26th Sept 2015 to send your entry.
Second tries not accepted.
The result will be published on Sunday 27th Sept 2015 around Midday.

Colin Jones / email:



Last Sunday I posted the following photo taken this month in Rhyl by Yours Truly. The question: Where was I standing?

The answer: Brynhedydd Bay.
Brynhedydd Bay is off the coast road on same side as, and not far from, Rhyl Golf Club.

Also posted was this photo taken last year by Dave Williams.
The question: Where in Rhyl would you find this 1889 plaque?

The answer: In Butterton Road, near corner of West Parade.
The plaque is just below the roof of Sunset Flats as shown below.

Also posted was this artist born 1958 in Liverpool. He has a long association with North Wales towns including Rhyl.
The question: What is his name?

The answer: Emrys Williams.
Here is a more recent picture of him taken at Ffin y Parc Gallery, Llanrwst:

Emrys if you are reading this, please send us some images of your Rhyl Sun Centre and Ocean Beach Fun Fair paintings!

Colin Jones / email:


Scoring 1 win for the correct answer to the first question and/or 1 win for the second and/or 2 wins for the third:

The Great Gareth 4, Jane Shuttle 4, Sue Handley 1, Geoff Hughes 4.

In this second series of the quiz, Gareth holds the lead with 42 wins, Jane Shuttle has 38, Richard & Ceri Swinney 36, Sue Handley 28.
Doing well are Dorothy Jones, Dilys Bagnall and Geoff Hughes.  
I salute all winners and invite all readers to play.
Go on, have a go!


Thursday, 17 September 2015


Rhyl and Llandudno, being English towns built in Wales, have always been a little more inclined to fuss over the English royal family than some Welsh inland towns are.

The real test of unity within the present day United Kingdom may come after the forthcoming referendum on whether to stay in the European Union or come out.

Scotland and Wales may vote to stay in, and if England tries to drag us all out there might be a constitutional crisis. Already there have been informal talks between the Scottish and Welsh governments on this point.

If necessary, Wales could switch its allegiance away from England and form an alliance with Scotland and - in the process - adopt the fairer social framework and more logical legal system of Scotland.

Whether you believe that would be a good thing or a bad thing, at least it must be possible because the British Constitution as it exists today has never been set down in law.



It is a matter of record that there is a forest under the sea on the eastern side of Rhyl. Recently the following lecture slide or magic lantern slide came up for sale on Internet. The item is undated and bears the name H.W. West:

Readers who think I might dive in with my camera for some close-ups of the submerged forest for posterity are mistaken. Further info about the phenomenon or about H.W. West would be welcome, though.



A reader has suggested that Rhyl Life should include Father Francis Maple of Pantasaph Friary, singing and knitting for the poor. I do agree but have no picture of him taken in Rhyl. Has anybody got one?

Colin Jones / email:


Wednesday, 16 September 2015


Now for some Rhyl transport pictures that have not appeared previously in this blog. Below are  a couple of 'toast racks' owned by Brookes Brothers' White Rose Motors. The buses usually had seats with their own doors each side, no centre aisle.

Billie's Cafe

The upper pic may have been taken in East Parade, but the lower pic was taken near the Brookes' booking office & departure point in West Parade.

Many trips included a commemorative photo as part of the package. Good idea to capture the moment before passengers set out on a tour rather than when they came back with ladies dishevelled and gentlemen worse for wear.

Dates? Probably 1920s, and the black-and white at the top would be earlier than the sepia which has in the background Billie's Cafe - new one on me. Good place for a cafe with all those people hanging around waiting.

From 1962 here are two more shots of the hovercoach known generally as the hovercraft. The black-and white was taken in Rhyl , by chalets on the eastern promenade. The colour pic must have been taken at the Wallasey end of the route.


The Astra Cinema cropped up recently in a quiz question. Here it serves as a background for a couple of Crosville pix. The white bus to Grosvenor Avenue is 1976 and going the wrong way; the green bus is 1981.


Monday, 14 September 2015


Occasionally I receive enquiries about the progress of environmental improvements in the Aquarium Street area. The new green space that replaces some of the former jungle of bedsitters and flatlets is named Gerddi Heulwen which translates as Sunshine Gardens!

These shots was taken yesterday (Sunday) by Yours Truly. Shown above is the John Street end of the park, and below is the Abbey Street end.

Even though the work is unfinished, Westenders use Gerddi Heulwen already as a shortcut to and from town, or a place to sit and contemplate the meaning of life, or an arena for substance addicts to shriek obscene insults at each other.

Meanwhile, efforts continue to drag Abbey Street into the 21st century:

Colin Jones / email:

See my Rhyl videos on YouTube:
Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!


Sunday, 13 September 2015


The following photo was taken this month in Rhyl by Yours Truly.
The question: Where was I standing?

Here is a photo taken last year by Dave Williams.
The question: Where in Rhyl would you find this 1889 plaque?

Below is an artist born in 1958 in Liverpool. He has a long association with North Wales towns including Rhyl where in the 1980s he exhibited his paintings of Ocean Beach Fun Fair and the Sun Centre.
The question: What is his name?


There are three questions. You could score 1 win for the correct answer to the first; 1 win for the second, and 2 wins for the third. A possible total of 4 wins!

You have until the end of Saturday 19th Sept 2015 to send your entry.
Second tries not accepted.
The result will be published on Sunday 20th Sept 2015 around Midday.

Colin Jones / email:



Last Sunday I posted the above photos. Only one is Rhyl.
The question: Is the Rhyl photo at the top, in the middle or at the bottom?
The answer: At the bottom.
At the top is Maes Derwen, Rhuddlan; in the middle is Maes Ffyddion, Rhuddlan. They are both off Vicarage Lane.
At the bottom is Pen y Maes Avenue, Rhyl.


Also posted was the snapshot below taken in 2000.
The question: What are the names of these two people?

Sidoli's ice cream parlour, Rhyl

The answer: Dominic Sidoli (left) and Bill Ellis.

I took the snap in Sidoli's ice cream parlour; it shows Bill in his usual corner seat.

Scoring 1 win for locating the Rhyl photo and/or 1 win for the two names: Sue Handley 2, The Great Gareth 1, Jane Shuttle 1, Geoff Hughes 2, Richard & Ceri Swinney 1.



Mid October sees the departure from Rhyl Library of Shirley Quinn after 45 years' service.

Shirley is taking the opportunity of voluntary redundancy brought about by Rhyl Library having to make space for Denbighshire council's rent office & advice centre from the town hall.

Formerly Shirley Lunt of Christ Church School and Rhyl Grammar, she joined the library in 1970 and has worked under library bosses Patrick Kerrigan, Rhona Aldrich, Lawrence Rawsthorne, Alastair Barber and currently Lucy Williams.

Shirley has family connections that go way back into Victorian Rhyl and a Rhyl history collection of her own. At the library she has been particularly helpful on the subject of local history. When referring enquirers to the library I would always say, "Ask for Shirley!"

She has known all the Rhyl history writers from J.W. Jones (Joe Swan) onwards - and that means all of us.

Best wishes to Shirley and her husband Jack.


Saturday, 12 September 2015


Labour Party

Today (Saturday) Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party.

His opponents seem to believe that Mr. Corbyn could not lead Labour to a victory in the next General Election. How disingenuous! None of the four candidates could have achieved that.

Mr. Corbyn and I share the belief that bombing Arab nations makes things worse not better, and we share the view that the European Union's partnership with NATO may be too close. [His views on other aspects of the EU seem a bit ambivalent.]

That partnership has meant the sprouting of American military and spy bases in Europe and nearly in Crimea if Mr. Putin had not intervened by removing Crimea from the EU.

Russia would not have wanted an American base right under its nose in Crimea any more than the USA would have wanted a Russian base right under its nose in Cuba.

When it comes to domestic policy this blogger would not be in favour of renationalising industries.

I remember when electricity, gas, telephone, water and so on were run by trade unionised, pension-heavy, government lackeys and jobsworths. In those days the services and utilities were less efficient.

On Rhyl Labour Party the phenomenon of Corbynism is not likely to have much effect in the short term. I can think of several Labour councillors who joined the party because that was the way to win around here.

They would have been just as comfortable wearing a blue rosette to win in a Tory-dominated town.


Colin Jones / email:

See my Rhyl videos on YouTube:
Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!