Monday, 21 September 2015

RHUDDLAN DAYS


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!"

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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. 

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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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENO4BIXUhog

Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!

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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."

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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.

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