Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Cartoonist entertainer

Roy Lance (Gordon Roylance) and his cartoons from the Rhyl Leader newspaper have featured previously in this blog. Recently, via his grand-daughter Dawn Brown, I made contact with his daughter Antoinette known as Toni who has supplied the material in this post.

Roy was born in 1922 in Padgate near Warrington. He left school aged 15, went to work for The Warrington Guardian as a cub reporter and started to draw cartoons for the paper. This developed into an act and he was known locally as ‘The Boy Wonder Singing Cartoonist’. With the money he earned he put himself through art school.

Cartoonist entertainer

Roy and his wife Irene (née Thompson) met as young teens – she was also from Warrington. During World War 2 Roy was based at RAF Cosford. He wasn’t able to fly because of his colour blindness so he did art work at the base and was put in charge of entertainment. Irene was a dancer and choreographer. The couple married after the war ended.

Here is Roy (sporting a fashionable but temporary moustache) with Irene in 1950:
Cartoonist entertainer, Irene Thompson

Toni says, “They had their honeymoon in a bungalow at Sandy Cove in Kinmel Bay, and liked the area so much they subsequently bought a bungalow in Foryd Road, which is where I was born, and in 1961 they had a house built on a plot of land further up the road in Moelwyn Avenue North where they lived until my dad died in 2006.”

In addition to doing cartoons and art work, Roy became a variety artist who did summer seasons and pantomimes in many places. Toni says, “He was a great comedian. He did a wonderful Charlie Chaplin impersonation and sang too as he drew his cartoons on stage.”

Cartoonist entertainer

In Rhyl, Roy did several summer seasons at the Coliseum on the prom (before and after it was roofed) and several more in 1960s at Derbyshire Miners’ camp in Marsh Road, sometimes working evenings at the Robin Hood camp as well.

As a versatile performer he was a good choice for parts in pantomimes – including Dame.
Pantomime dame

Roy spent two years as the resident comedian/compère at The Cabaret Club in Manchester, and in the late 60s he did regular summer variety shows in Llandudno where he was very popular:

Over the decades, Roy’s other venues for summer seasons and pantos included Bridlington, Cleveleys, Filey, Morecambe, New Brighton, Pwlleli, Scarborough, St. Anne’s-on-the-Sea, Swinton near Manchester, Westcliff-on-Sea and Whitby, to name just a few.

Toni says, “He had many friends in show business, working with many of them over the years - people such as Bruce Forsyth, Frankie Howerd and Ken Dodd. When Morecambe and Wise made their only Rhyl appearance in the mid ‘60s my Dad compèred the show.”

Cartoonist entertainer

So there he is. The late, great Roy Lance – cartoonist, caricaturist, singer, impressionist, comedian, joke writer, compère, performer and producer. Thanks for the information Toni, I was wondering about Roy and I’m much the wiser now.

The following names are added here for indexing purposes:
Robinson Cleaver, Clive Stock, Norma Hughes, Willie Wyse, The Mintings, Roy Minting, Andrea Wardale, Paul Leonard, Vince Rita Starr, Bernadette Corlett, Lesley Anne Riding, Jimmy Webster, Albert Tinkler, Brian Elliot.

MON 16th JUL 2018 UPDATE: Recently auctioned on Internet was a programme for the Morecambe and Wise appearance at Rhyl Pavilion.
Brian Pendleton told me that he was there that night and the theatre was only half full even though M&W had a TV series at the time.
On the bill were Fred & Audrey Atkins (ventriloquism), Burden and Moran (magic) and the Petter Sisters about whom I can find no info.
Roy Lance is listed as "our resident compere" and certainly earned his money that night – he trod the boards four times.
The auction item failed to fetch much more than £20, perhaps because of the dodgy-looking signature and the fact that Morecambe is spelled wrongly throughout.

Click on the image to see a bigger version.

Ernie Morcambe and Eric Wise, eh? I wonder if that double blooper was mentioned in their act that night – or in Roy's!


Sunday, 28 August 2016


Above is a photo taken this month by Yours Truly showing a derelict house or bungalow abandoned years ago.
The question: Where in Rhyl would you find it?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

Below is an image of a soccer team, Rhyl Football Club in fact:

The question: Does the image date from 1940s, 1950s, 1960s or 1970s?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

You have until the end of Saturday 3rd September 2016 to send your entry. The result will appear on this blog next day around noon.

Colin Jones / email:



Last Sunday I posted a photo taken earlier this year, with place names blanked out. The question: What are the two missing names?

The answer: Sudbury Close and Haddon Close.
Here is the photo with names restored:

Chatsworth Road Estate

This is part of a Wales & West Housing Association estate sometimes called Chatsworth Road Estate on the site of former Derbyshire Miners' camp, Marsh Road.

Scoring 1 win for the correct answer: Dilys Bagnall 1, Sue Handley 1, Jane Shuttle 1, The Great Gareth 1. 


[In the original post there was a second question based on an old picture of a village "not far from Rhyl". The question has been withdrawn because the person who sent me the pic had misidentified the village and now believes it is a place near Wrexham. Hey ho. Thanks anyway!]


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.


Friday, 26 August 2016


Recently on Internet this coin-shaped token came up for sale. It appears to be made of a soft material such as cardboard. The face bears the name Rhyl Cocoa House Company Limited, and the back bears the number 1.

According to Rhyl History Club's Maggi Blythin there were two cocoa houses under different ownership. The first was in High Street (opened 1878) and the second was on a corner of Bodfor Street and Kinmel Street (opened 1885).

That corner may have been 34 Bodfor Street where the Imperial Hotel is now, because the location has a track record in catering. Before the Imp there was a cafe run by the Bracchi family who may well have utilised former Cocoa House premises.

The cocoa would have been a type of drinking chocolate. Not long ago an offshoot of the Cadbury company tried unsuccessfully to revive the idea of cocoa houses. See Wikipedia:

As for the token, what was it for? A loyalty token? A gaming chip? Your guess would be as good as mine.

While on subject of catering, here is another 1930s view of the art deco style cafe at Open Air Swimming Pool ('The Baths') on prom:

Osborne's Cafe

The cafe is sometimes referred to as Osborne's.



If you have never thought there might be something creepy about Nigel Farage, this picture of him with US Presidential candidate Donald Trump would be a good place to start. They have in common that they wish to destroy the way we live.

As for the EU referendum, I see that our right-wing newspapers are trying to justify the Leave vote by saying that the predicted big fall in the UK economy has not happened. Of course it hasn’t. We have not left.


Sunday, 21 August 2016


Above is a photo taken earlier this year with place names blanked out.
The question: What are the two missing names?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

You have until the end of Saturday 27th August 2016 to send your entry. The result will appear on this blog next day around noon.

Colin Jones / email:



Last Sunday I posted the above part of a Rhyl photograph taken a few days before by Yours Truly. The question: Where was I standing?
The answer: on footbridge over railway in Westbourne Avenue.
Here is the wider view:

Westbourne Avenue

In Victorian times this was the location of a (possibly manned) railway crossing from Westbourne Avenue to Marsh Road. It was known as the Pen y Braich crossing, the reason being that Pen y Braich was the former name of Westbourne Ave.


Also posted was the following card typical of its era. The question: Was the picture taken before or after 1930?

The answer: Before 1930.

The era is between the wars (1920s and 1930s). The basket chairs were there in both decades. At a glance I might have said "after 1930" but the postmark tells a different story. It would pencil-in as 7 SEP 28 therefore the picture could not have been taken after 1930:

In the pic itself there are no helpful clues to the date, so it was a good for a guessing game. What a tease I am.

Players needed both answers correct to score 1 win. All of them got the right bridge but the wrong side of 1930. No winners this week!


I have been trying to contact Rhyl resident Jim Taylor the artist/musician. Jim if you are reading this, please email your phone number to:


Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Old paddling pix reflect innocence, charm and the enduring fun of looking at your feet under water - what will you step on next! These three have not appeared before in Rhyl Life:

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Caroline Richardson II

The one in the middle is circa 1910. The final pic is a 1923 shot by Rhyl photographer Rae Pickard showing paddlers with the lifeboat Caroline Richardson II.



The photo below taken recently by Yours Truly shows the spattered state of the derelict post office in Water Street. Pity the cabbies in the rank opposite who have to look the mess every working day. Owners of private property  which this is  owe it to the community to keep their premises looking clean and tidy.

Birds are being encouraged by cafes, pubs and restaurants that provide outdoor seating for customers, and by take-aways. These businesses (and their permission-givers) fuel the problem. The solution is not killing birds, who have as much right to be here as we do, but educating people to do their eating indoors.

SUN 13th MAY UPDATE: Pleased to report the derelict post office is being demolished. The following photos were taken today by Yours Truly.
This one is the view from Town Hall -

- and this is a rear view through the fence:

The building was not a pretty sight. The replacement is to be a short stay car park which may not be pretty either, but at least it will be useful.
All is not entirely well at the small, privately owned replacement post office in High Street. Customers have been grumbling to me about queuing times and the staff's lack of courtesy.

Colin Jones / email:


Sunday, 14 August 2016


Above is a part of a Rhyl photograph taken a few days ago by Yours Truly.
The question: Where was I standing?

Below is a picture postcard typical of its era.
The question: Was the picture taken before or after 1930?
You have a 50/50 chance of being right!

You need both answers correct to score 1 win.

You have until the end of Saturday 20th August 2016 to send your entry. The result will appear on this blog next day around noon.

Colin Jones / email:



buses coaches

Last Sunday I posted the above picture of early-1920s-looking punters waiting for a trip to start from the booking office of White Rose Motor Tours, Rhyl. The question: On corner of what two roads/streets is the booking office?

The answer: West Parade and Water Street.
It is the corner where Les Harker's Monte Carlo arcade is now, photographed last week by Yours Truly:


Also I posted a photo taken earlier this year with a place name blanked out. The question: What is the missing name?
The answer: Buckley Avenue.
Here is the photo with the name restored:

Scoring 1 win for each correct answer:
Dilys Bagnall 1, Jane Shuttle 2, Sue Handley 2, The Great Gareth 1, Richard & Ceri Swinney 1. 



Recent hi-tech flood defence work in the west end involved widening the promenade and then covering the new space with good old-fashioned grass. The result is that Rhyl is a safer and greener place, although no doubt plenty of people will find fault with it.

West Rhyl Coastal Defence Scheme

This scheme, like virtually all major schemes around here for decades, was made possible by European Union grant aid. It has long been policy of the EU to channel resources from the richer parts of Europe to poorer parts such as Wales. This Robin Hood aspect of the EU is often overlooked.

sea defence

Don't run away with the idea that It's our money anyway. Wales is a net gainer from UK's membership of the EU.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016


In a recent warm spell, Rhylites were heard to complain, It's too hot! Well it was hotter in the early 1980s on board HMS Rhyl according to an account by sailor Stephen Griffin published in Daily Mail newspaper.
Click on the image to read small print.

This item was provided by Dilys Bagnall - thanks, Dilys.

The unrelated photo below is from my own collection; HMS Rhyl is shown on 28th March 1967 in Malta:

To see all posts relating to HMS Rhyl please click here:



Above is a card published by Bamforth and postmarked 1975.

MON 16th JAN 2017 UPDATE: Below is the same Rhyl photo used on a differing card by Bamforth. The single-storey Coliseum Theatre is shown to better advantage in this version.

Bamforth & Co. Ltd of Yorkshire still exists. The company made 'saucy' seaside postcards from 1910 onwards; these are famous and collectable.

Less well known is that Bamforth made a series of short comedy & novelty films 1898-1915. You could find a list of them on Wikipedia:

The following 1950s image may or may not be a Bamforth but certainly is in the spirit and tradition:

rockets to moon

[The first rocket to land on the moon was in 1959 and the first manned mission landed in 1969.]

Not a Bamforth but this multiview card carries the same timeless 'let's get away from it all' message:

I've forgotten all about work at Rhyl


Sunday, 7 August 2016


In the picture above are early-1920s-looking punters waiting for a trip to start from the booking office of White Rose Motor Tours, Rhyl.
The question: On corner of what two roads/streets is the booking office?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

Below is a photo taken earlier this year with a place name blanked out.
The question: What is the missing name?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

You have until the end of Saturday 13th August 2016 to send your entry. The result will appear on this blog next day around noon.

Colin Jones / email:



Last Sunday I posted the above photo of a stone or plaster carving in Rhyl depicting a medieval-looking building such as a castle or church. The question: Where would you find it?

The answer: Bodfor Street, above Costigan's.
Here is a wider view:


Photo by Dave Williams. Thanks, Dave.

Also I posted a classical design bearing the inscription Rhyl Urban District Council 1900The question: Where would you find it?

Wall plaque

The answer: Victoria Road.
The plaque is on the gable above Nos. 6 & 7 The Terrace, Victoria Road (at Ffordd Las end). Original name was Council Terrace; it was one of the first projects by Rhyl Urban District Council which had been formed only two years earlier. Here is a wider view:

Council Terrace

Photo taken in July 2016 by Yours Truly. 

Scoring 1 win for getting both answers correct is Dilys Bagnall. Dilys is this week's sole winner and I know she is going to be uncontrollably pleased.



Regeneration of the Abbey Street-Aquarium Street area is still in progress. The snapshot below was taken a few days ago by Yours Truly, showing part of Abbey Street that used to be grim houses of multiple occupation, i.e. the HMOs that everybody used to complain about.

The perimeter of the newly-created green space named Gerddi Heulwen is a building site. A big question is, What kind of people are going to occupy the new properties? It makes no sense to create social housing for general needs in a town where there is no work.


Saturday, 6 August 2016


In the National Assembly for Wales aka Welsh Assembly, where Plaid Cymru is now the second biggest party to Labour, the team above will be Plaid's shadow cabinet for the next term.

Back row (left to right): Dafydd Elis-Thomas / Neil McEvoy whose portfolio includes Tourism so I hope we'll see him up here / Adam Price / Rhun ap Iorwerth / Llŷr Gruffydd / Simon Thomas / Steffan Lewis.

Front row (l to r): Bethan Jenkins / Siân Gwenllian / Leanne Wood leader / Dai Lloyd / Elin Jones. Elin is the Presiding Officer (Chair if you like) of the National Assembly.

Leanne Wood says, "I have vowed to make sure The Party of Wales becomes the most effective opposition in the history of the National Assembly for Wales."


Wednesday, 3 August 2016


Kinmel Bay Rhyl entertainer

Brian Pendleton was born in 1931 in Prince Edward Avenue, Rhyl, and went to St. Anne's School and Emmanuel. The above photo of Brian was taken circa 1950 at Golden Sands holiday camp in Kinmel Bay where he performed impressions of radio comedians such as Frankie Howerd and Al Read, sang a bit, drove a van and did some joinery. He was versatile!

Below: Saxophonist Albert Williams on guitar, 'Uncle Vic' Dodd on double bass, Brian on washboard, and trumpeter Bill Roberts on piano, at Golden Sands doing the song 'Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier'.

Kinmel Bay, Rhyl

The song was from a Walt Disney film of the same name (1955) starring Fess Parker as the American folk hero and frontiersman who became a politician. Brian made the coonskin cap out of an old fur coat. Note the background: a mural decoration by local cartoonist Roy Lance.


In 1958 Brian moved to Robin Hood camp in Rhyl (under same ownership as Golden Sands). His knowledge of joinery came in handy in constructing the Pavilion at Robin Hood. The building had been previously an army gymnasium at rear of Ferry Hotel, Kinmel Bay.

Here, looking for all the world like a vocal group, are (left to right): Albert Williams again / pianist Rod Williams / alto saxist Harry Elliott who was related to music hall star G. H. Elliott / clarinettist, saxist and arranger George Bazeley / drummer Benny Humphries. The photo was taken in 1960s at Robin Hood:

Kinmel Bay, Rhyl

Incidentally, Benny Humphries was brother of guitarist Frank whose name I mis-spelt as Humphreys in the book Rhyl Music In The Ritz Years 1955-1968. Hey ho.

Brian stayed at Robin Hood until 1974 as Entertainments Manager, and then worked for a while at Miller's Cottage camp in Towyn before fate returned him to Golden Sands. Below in 1980s at the camp are the highly-rated organist Ian Savagar and drummer Fred Williams:

Kinmel Bay, Rhyl

Meanwhile Brian had become Media Resource Officer at Rhyl High School (from 1975 until he retired in mid 1990s). He was at the school daytime and at the camp in evenings. Well I did he say he was versatile.

The following is an end-of-season party circa 1980 at Golden Sands. The bearded gent at the back is manager Bill Blake. In the yellow top is Esther Davies and the big baby is her son Kevin:

It was a pleasure to meet Brian Pendleton last month and listen to him reminiscing. At 85 years of age with a clear memory, he is in enviable form and long may he continue! This photo of Brian is by Yours Truly:

Kinmel Bay Rhyl entertainer


SUN 4th FEB 2018 UPDATE: The image below of Miller's Cottage camp in Gainc Road, Towyn, is taken from a card postmarked 1950.


Now the site is a caravan park: