Couple of weeks ago it was my pleasure to visit Mike Davies at his home in Vale Road, Rhyl. Mike has a mass of material relating to family history and the social history of Vale Road. Below are some of his items.
Click on any image to see a bigger version.
Above: One of the V-J Day (Victory over Japan) parties in 1945 in Rhyl marking the very end of World War 2. Mike thinks the name of the place in the picture may have been Cut Street; he is the toddler below the red dot.
The chap below the blue dot, cheering with the others, is believed to be Adrian Henri who was destined to gain fame as a poet and painter. From my own collection here he is in calmer pose later in life:
Adrian Henri has been quoted as saying, "From the age of sixteen through to the early (1960s) I did summer jobs in Rhyl's fairgrounds, trying to support myself as a painter over the winter, painting in a little builder's hut off Vale Road."
You can read about Adrian Henri in Wikipedia:
Above: Returning to Mike Davies's material, this map dated 1880, shows a large expanse of water on your left. It was nicknamed 'Tarleton's Lake' because Captain John Tarleton, one of the Commissioners of Rhyl, owned the land around there. [You may have noticed a Tarleton Street off East Parade.]
Residents dumped rubbish in the water and an accident occurred in which two boys drowned before the 'Lake' was done away with.
The map is in Rhyl Library should you wish to study it in finer detail.
Below: Mike worked for food wholesalers G. & W. Collins in Marsh Road in a building opposite the present Good News Family Church. Working on the delivery side and later as a sales rep, Mike visited all the Rhyl cafes, restaurants and hotels.
I particularly like his picture of Forte's Medina Restaurant in High Street. If Forte's were there today it would be next door to your left of Costa:
The pic dates from late 1950s/early 1960s. Mike says that at Forte's was operated by the Bracchi family and there was a dance floor upstairs; also there was a dance floor upstairs at Evans' Clwydian Cafe on corner of High Street and Wellington Road where the Granite camping shop is now.
From Mike's collection here is a very rare picture of the Royal Hotel, High Street, Rhyl, in Edwardian times. The hotel stood on the corner of High Street and Sussex Street where The Piazza restaurant is now:
Here is a detail from the above:
The following shot is of a lounge or dining room inside the Royal Hotel. Note the wonderful dresser on your right of the picture. It is not a Welsh dresser, it is Flemish (from Belgium):
That same piece of furniture is a family heirloom on his wife's side (her family used to operate the Royal Hotel) and now stands in Mike's living room. Here he is leaning on it, photographed by Yours Truly!
My thanks to Mike and his childhood sweetheart/wife, a delightful lady who was christened Glynne and is known as Lynne. She dodged my camera in case people got the impression that she knows a lot of about Rhyl history when in fact she doesn't - so don't ask her!
Best wishes to them both.
Colin Jones / email: email@example.com