Wednesday, 30 March 2016


Abergele & Pensarn share the railway station shown above. The train is travelling from Llandudno to Chester. [The station opened 1848 the same year as Rhyl and on the same Chester-Holyhead line.]

Pensarn is a coastal suburb of Abergele. Pensarn beach is sometimes referred to as Abergele beach. Below: an early shot of the main road (looking westwards) followed by a seaside card postmarked 1920.



Click on any image to see a bigger version.

The charm of the place was that it was a less busy than either Rhyl or Colwyn Bay; the downside was that it failed to develop much.
By the 1960s when the following cards were produced Pensarn was not much to write home about:



The North Wales Holiday Camp in Pensarn, is well remembered by locals. Here is a snap of the camp shop:


Nestling on a hillside the far side of Abergele is Gwrych Castle, a Grade 1 Listed country house built in the 1800s. 


Pictured below are Gwrych Castle's Italian marble stairs, followed by a popular feature decades ago: the miniature railway aka model railway.



The above card of the train ‘Belle of New York’ at Gwrych Castle Station came up for sale recently on Internet, hence the seller’s logo in the middle of the picture.

Gwrych Castle on Wikipedia:

Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust:

The building is featured on the first of these two multiview cards of Sunray or Sun Ray Guest House, Abergele -


Sunday, 27 March 2016


Above is a composite of two pix taken this year in Rhyl by Fred Burns. They are of the SAME sign with the place name removed.

The question: What is the missing name?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

Below is a photo of a works plate bearing an inscription.
The question: To what does 105 refer? (You are looking for a one word of seven letters).
The correct answer would score 1 win.

You have until the end of Saturday 2nd April 2016 to send your entry. Second tries not accepted! The result will be published on Sunday 3rd April 2016 around Midday.

Colin Jones / email:



Pier Hotel, Belvoir Hotel

Last Sunday I posted the above Rhyl image from a card dated 1904. The question: What is the name of the building nearest to camera?
The answer: Pier Hotel.
It was in East Parade on corner of Church Street, on opposite corner to the Westminster. The Pier Hotel's previous names had been Family Hotel (probably) and then Belvoir Hotel (certainly).


Also posted was a picture of a keyring.The question: What Rhyl attraction does it advertise specifically (2 words)?
The answer: Knights Caverns.
Here is the picture re-angled and with name restored:

Knights Caverns was/were part of the Palace Fun Centre, 38-45 West Parade  just to your right of Edward Henry Street. The photo below was taken this month by Yours Truly and it reveals changes:

The caverns have been replaced by a Lazer Zone - whatever that is.

Scoring 1 win for the Pier Hotel and/or 1 win for Knights Caverns:
Dilys Bagnall 1, Jane Shuttle 1, The Great Gareth 1 and Sue Handley 1. 

Sue says: "How the price of parking has gone up! We now pay £1 for 4 hours in Brighton Road car park. After 1st April it will be £1 for 1 hour - that is a rise of 75p an hour. Makes my blood boil!"


Thyme Out the cafe that opened during December 2015 in White Rose Centre has branched out and is now operating outside Superdrug as well. This photo was taken yesterday by Yours Truly:

Superdrug, Thomas Cook

Clintons Cards of 53-55 High Street have gone and Bill Ellis noted that they took their fascia. This revealed the name of a former business Fosters which Bill thinks was a menswear shop. Photo taken yesterday by Yours Truly:

Clintons Cards

TUE 4th APR 2017 UPDATE: On the subject of Knights Caverns in the Palace Fun Centre, the following card has landed here at Jones Towers by supernatural means.

Click on the card to read small print.

This name is for indexing purposes: John Jones Publishing Ruthin.

WED 6th JUN 2018 UPDATE: Further to the above reference to the old Pier Hotel (originally Belvoir Hotel), its distinctive bay windows are about to bite the dust in this amateur snapshot dated 1984.

The building was demolished to make way for part of the White Rose Centre development.

Below is a rarity, a 2-inch diameter powder-and-mirror compact for carrying in a handbag. It advertises the Pier Hotel when Fred Henson was proprietor; Mr. Henson was around in 1950s so the compact is perhaps more retro than vintage.

powder-and-mirror compact for handbag

The compact is about 2-iches in diameter and made of an early form of plastic called bakelite.
Another name for bakelite is polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride (not many people know that). 


Friday, 25 March 2016


Included here for its rarity value is this blurry 1960-ish shot of Terfyn Pella caravan camp which was and still is on Rhyl Coast Road, far side of Lyons Robin Hood camp – nearly on the Prestatyn boundary. The phrase terfyn pella translates as 'furthest limit'.

Now renamed Terfyn Pella Caravan Park, the business was started by Lionel and Sarah Anne Burton in 1947; it is currently run by daughter Anne and her son Stewart and daughter Diane. Good luck to them for the coming season.



Brussels is the latest European capital to experience a terrorist incident and be reminded that joining American oil wars in Arab countries can be dangerous. 

European countries get drawn into supporting US state terrorism and military violence because of the EU's membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

We need to quit NATO, especially if US voters elect as President the seriously weird Donald Trump whose hotel & casino businesses declared bankruptcy four times between 1991 and 2009.

He is unstable.


Wednesday, 23 March 2016


The little town of Abergele is more or less half way between Rhyl and Colwyn Bay. It is many centuries older than Rhyl, and seems to have a slightly more Welsh flavour. The picture above of Market Street, Abergele, is a card postmarked 1915.

The following card of County School is postmarked 1911. The school opened in 1899, became Abergele Grammar in 1945 [and was absorbed the present comprehensive Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan in 1967]:

Below is a 1930s picture of the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, still a cornerstone of Abergele:

Catholic Church

This church also takes care of Christ The King, Gors Road, Towyn.

I visited the Luxor Cinema, Abergele, in early 1960s with school pal Peter Hollis. We went to see an Army comedy 'On The Fiddle' aka 'Operation Snafu' starring Alfred Lynch and Sean Connery, and were underwhelmed.


The Luxor changed name to the Glynn Cinema before closing down. Comparatively recently Pete became a resident of Llanfair Talhaiarn (Llanfair T.H.) high up to the south of Abergele. Part of it looked like this circa 1907 and probably still does:

Llanfair T.H.

This Llanfair T.H. postcard of Williams "The At Home" Tea Rooms is undated:

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Here are a couple of other Abergele villages: Dolwen undated at the top, and then St. George circa World War 1:

The St. George picture is detailed and impressive enough to be the work of Rhyl photographer Rae Pickard (unsigned).

By way of contrast here is a 1950s/'60s shot of council houses and a butcher's shop at Llanddulas:

MON 20th MAR 2017 UPDATE: Below are more old/vintage images of various Abergele villages.
Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Belgrano - The Bell Stores (undated)

Betws yn Rhos - card postmarked 1969

Llanddulas - card posted 1904
Rhyd-y-Foel as seen from Llanddulas
Rhyd-y-Foel card postmarked 1913
Rhyd-y-Foel (undated)
St. George - Kinmel Arms card posted 1907


Sunday, 20 March 2016


Here is a sandy old Rhyl image from a card posted in 1904:

The question: What is the name of the building nearest to camera?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

And here is a colourful keyring:

The question: What Rhyl attraction does it advertise specifically (2 words)?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

You have until the end of Sat 26th March 2016 to send your entry. Second tries not accepted! The result will be published on Sun 27th March 2016 around Midday.

Colin Jones / email:



Gordon Hemm was a Merseyside architect and illustrator best known for works such as the image above of Pier Head, Liverpool. There is not much info about him on Internet; he seems to have passed away in 1950s.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered the following undated image of Rhyl Pavilion by Mr. Hemm:

The contours of the old Pavilion look better here than in real life. Further details about Gordon Hemm, and his activities in Rhyl and North Wales, would be most welcome.

Colin Jones / email:


THU 12th NOV 2017 UPDATE: Just arrived here at Jones Towers a postcard titled Rhyl From Kinmel Bay by Gordon Hemm.


Sunday, 6 March 2016


Last Sunday I posted a distorted image from a 1960s photo of a Rhyl building. The question: What is the name of the building?
The answer: Plastirion Hotel.
Here is the original image in full:

In Edwardian times in Rhyl we had Olympian Gardens.
The question: Where? East Parade, West Parade, High Street, Wellington Rd or Vale Rd?
The answer: East Parade.
Olympian Gardens was a light entertainment venue like a small theatre. The blurry little photo below is not up to standard, but if you click on it you might be able to see the name Olympian Gardens above a doorway.

This is the part of East Parade between High Street and Church Street. To your right of the Olympian Gardens entrance is the HQ of Rhyl & Potteries Motor Coaches which became – within living memory – Brookes’ Garage.

Circumstantial evidence points to the theatre's performance area being a room above the garage and/or a large tent on the roof.

Scoring  1 win for Plastirion Hotel (nobody got Olympian Gardens!): Dilys Bagnall 1, Jane Shuttle 1, Sue Handley 1 and The Great Gareth 1.

Thanks to Gareth and Bill Ellis for comments.


Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Here are some roller skating pix that have not appeared previously in this blog. The first , an amateur photo of possibly a family group, was taken at the Queen's Skating Rink on the former Queen's Palace Ballroom in West Parade:

In the background a poster refers to Rhyl Town Band (skating to a live band would have been thrilling and there was space enough for seats to accommodate listeners). The poster also refers to Pictures at 3 & 7; these were movie shows and probably the roots of the Futurist Cinema that operated in the building later.

Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

Below is another shot from the Queen's, an un-named roller hockey team. Neither of these Queen's photos is dated but if we were to say they were 1910-1920 period we wouldn't be far out.


The open air roller skating rink that opened in late 1940s on the prom, more or less opposite Water Street, has been featured here but not the following images

In the foreground of the first is an enclosure that looks like a place where you could do a Charlie Chaplin and run the risk only of knocking down another Charlie Chaplin:

This sepia view taken from the east side of the skating rink shows the rink's position vis-à-vis the old Pavilion - right alongside:

The white construction on your left bearing the words ROLLER SKATING pre-dated the rink. It was a curved bandstand in art deco style -  and it replaced a more elaborate Victorian job that had stood a few yards away. The changeover seems to have taken place at the end of the 1930s:


Colin Jones / email:

Don't forget my YouTube channel featuring Rhyl videos and slideshows. The channel is named RhylTime. Click here to see RhylTime's Top Ten:
Only YouTube items labelled RhylTime are mine.