Thursday, 25 February 2016


George Owen MBE has 'chipped in' with this unusual item relating to the public auction in August 1946 of Westbourne Café on corner of Wellington Road and Westbourne Avenue, Rhyl.

It was a fish & chips eatery with ice cream kiosk outside - a popular place only a few yards from the entrance to Marine Lake Fun Fair. The auction included two houses round the corner, Nos. 2 and 4 Westbourne Avenue under same ownership as the cafe.

[In the background of the photo above are the gas works that stood where Aldi supermarket is now. These days there are shops on that corner with The Rhyl Bistro modern continental cooking upstairs.]

Here are further details from the 1946 auction brochure.
Click on any part to see a bigger version.

George says:
"In 1946-48 I lived with my parents, brother and sister in a flat over what was then known as the Donald Duck Cafe on the corner of Sandringham Avenue, almost opposite the Westbourne Café. Aged seven or eight, my Mum often sent me with a large enamel bowl to get six penny worth of chips which would be enough for the five of us. 

"The end of the war meant plenty of trade from the post-war holiday makers who flocked to Rhyl in the summer months and filled up the many busy guest houses in Rhyl West. Only a couple of years later, aged 10, along with a bunch of other schoolboy entrepreneurs, I used to stand outside Rhyl Railway Station with a purpose-built wooden truck my Dad had made (some less fortunate lads used old prams).

"In those days families came on holiday by train, which were frequent on a Saturday, and we would tout to carry the holidaymakers suitcases to the guest houses. "Can I carry your cases Mister!” would be the cry. At half-a-crown a trip it could be quite lucrative."

So, eight trips would net those boys £1 which was not to be sneezed at in the 1950s. £1 then would be worth more than £20 today.

Thanks George. Thought-provoking stuff!

The following references are added here for indexing purposes: C Wesley Haslam auctioneers, Edward Hughes solicitor, Harold Smith accountants.