Friday, 29 April 2016

AN OUTDOOR MAN


Sorry to report that David Thomas has passed away. Dave made several contributions to this blog and to Rhyl life in general. He is pictured above in 2007 during his year as Mayor of Rhyl, with a lifeboat man and schoolkids at the 75th Anniversary of Foryd Bridge. Photo by Tony Mottram.

Dave was from Llandudno way, but he had been in Rhyl a long time. He worked at the fun fair in the 1960s and ‘70s and did some market trading such as selling sweets at Tir Prince. He liked to be in the open air and liked Rhyl’s open spaces such as Brickfields Pond.

Dave and I first met in late 1990s in a residents’ campaign to try and stop Denbighshire council and Welsh Water from destroying the heritage value of Marine Lake. We failed; the biggest sewage tank in Wales was put under the lake and the original walls of the lake were ruined.

Rhyl’s dead-loss Labour councillors just let it happen, and this was one factor in Dave's deciding to stand for election himself as an Independent. I remember helping him by doing some leafleting on the housing estate where he lived, The Reso. He didn’t win.

Dave, like so many others regardless of their personal or political beliefs, had to join the Labour Party to get elected and I watched him get drawn into the party culture and the workplace culture of the council chamber - and further from grass roots.

He was elected to the cabinet of Denbighshire council where he served as lead member for Regeneration, and this was his downfall. He infringed a Labour Party rule that prevents Labour councillors from being in cabinet in an authority where Labour does not have a majority.

[Be aware! Labour Party candidates don’t tell you about the rule when they come round asking for your vote.]

Therefore like others before him, Dave was expelled from the party. He stood for re-election again as an Independent and again didn’t win. The double whammy of being stabbed in back by Labour and then snubbed by the electorate hit him hard; it took him a while to recover.

Eventually Dave was drawn to Botanical Gardens where in recent years he helped to run a horticultural project. Last I heard from Dave was about a week before he died and he made no mention of feeling ill, so the news of his death came as a shock.

I took the following photograph in 2012 at Botanical Gardens. Dave was more or less standing in the way as I lined up a shot of the pond. The photo catches him in contemplative mood, menthol cigarette hidden in the palm of his hand Reso-style.

So long Dave, thanks for what you did and what you tried to do.


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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

EARLY ENTERTAINERS

Rhyl entertainer

Recent mention of Adeler & Sutton's Pierrots on this blog brought some correspondence about early entertainers in Rhyl. Above is Charley or Charlie Harvey who was a prominent member of the Adeler troupe - no pun intended.

The photo was taken circa 1908 in Rhyl and shows Mr. Harvey wearing standard pierrot costume. Similar attire was still in use as late as 1940s. The following picture shows Rhyl Amphitheatre's resident Billie Manders' Quaintesques in 1941:

Rhyl concert party

Concert parties such as the two mentioned were principally theatrical. In that sense they differed from open air entertainers on our minstrel pitch even though the mix of comedy and music was somewhat similar.

The minstrel pitch on Rhyl sands is shown in the foreground here . . .


. . . and on your left in this shot dated 1905 taken from Queen's Palace:


The minstrel pitch was established in 1890s by the council to get minstrels (strolling players) off the streets and get some rental money out of them.

First to take up the pitch were the black-faced Tom Wood & his Merry Men, then came E.H. Williams' Merrie Men (from 1899) and finally Gilbert Rogers' Jovial Jesters (from 1907 until 1920s):

Tom Wood & his Merry Men
Rhyl, minstrel pitch
Rhyl entertainers

Before leaving the topic of early entertainers here are two rare images from the Gilbert Rogers era, both dating from around 1909 and showing the newer, smaller edition of the pitch:

Rhyl, minstrel pitch

Rhyl, minstrel pitch

The pix of Quaintesques and Tom Wood & his Merrie Men are from Bill Ellis' book Entertainment in Rhyl and North Wales. The remainder are from Yours Truly.

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Colin Jones / email: rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

QUIZ QUESTION # 135

Above are right-hand sides of two postcards. The upper one is postmarked 1973; the lower looks 1950s.
The question: Which is a Rhyl picture - the upper one or the lower or both or neither?

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The following photo is labelled 1973 but may be just a shade earlier.
The question: Where in Rhyl is the bus standing?


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This week you need correct answers to both questions to score 1 win.

You have until the end of Saturday 30th April 2016 to send your entry. The result will appear on this blog next day around noon.

Colin Jones / email: rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk


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QUIZ ANSWER # 134


Last Sunday I posted the above photograph taken this month by Fred Burns. The question: Where in Rhyl would you find this scene?


The answer: Dyserth Road.
The house appears to be No.103 Dyserth Road. In the picture is the rear of the building. Just out of shot, bottom right behind grey railings is a stream, probably The Cut.

Scoring 1 win for the correct answer: Sue Handley, Jane Shuttle, Richard & Ceri Swinney, and The Great Gareth.

Gareth says the house is called 'The Dingle'.

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My first inclination was to post part of the same house's side wall facing Dyserth Road. I wonder if you would you have recognised this. Alas, we'll never know!
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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.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

HELLO, EDWARD!


The above photo was sent by David Thomas after he had paid a visit to Marine Lake last Sunday.

He said, “This is a new addition to the miniature railway. It's Prince Edward Of Wales which was built in 1909 and then run at Marine Lake in 1911. The locomotive is undergoing a major refurbishment. Today was the first time it was fired up. It has a compliance test in June and should be in service this season.”

Thanks, Dave.

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You would find info about the more famous Edward after whom the loco was named by clicking here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_VIII

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Monday, 18 April 2016

BODELODDMENTS


The village of Bodelwyddan (pronounced Bodel-withan) is about 5 miles or 8 kilometres south of Rhyl and shares the same LL18 postcode, and is my kind of place: only one public house and more than sixty listed buildings. 


Its most famous landmark must be St. Margaret's Church or 'the marble church'. The old photo above is by Rhyl photographer Rae Pickard.

Much admired is the church's east window designed by father and son Michael and Arthur O'Connor in 1859:

East Window, Michael & Arthur O'Connor

Also widely known is Bodelwyddan Castle; the version that exists today is an 1830s rebuild. Here is a 1960s-looking scene of horse riders at the castle when it was Lowther College private school for girls:


In recent years the castle has been a hotel. Of the following cards the second is postmarked 2014 and finds the business renamed fancifully as Bodelwyddan Coast Hotel:

Bodelwyddan Coast Hotel

Do you remember the Wayside Cafe? This card is postmarked 1965:


Here are a couple of World War 1 shots of Kinmel Park Camp near Bodelwyddan. The lower one is circa 1917 and labelled "Canadian soldiers and civilian visitors".

World War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great War

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In present times Bodelwyddan is the home of Rhyl's nearest general hospital Ysbyty Glan Clwyd of which I am not a huge fan.
The population of the village may treble in a few years if the building of 1,700 new homes goes ahead; Denbighshire Council allocated land for this purpose despite bitter local opposition.

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The following references are added here for indexing purposes: Hovis bread, Warner Leisure Hotels.

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Sunday, 17 April 2016

QUIZ QUESTION # 134



The photograph above was taken this month.
The question: Where in Rhyl would you find this scene?

You have until the end of Saturday 23rd April 2016 to send your entry. The result will appear on this blog next day around noon.

Colin Jones / email: rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk


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QUIZ ANSWER # 133


Last Sunday I posted the above picture of Rhyl's fondly-remembered roller skating rink. The question: In what corner was the photographer standing - north east, north west, south east or south west?
The answer: south west.

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Also I posted the following image of the Pals Battalion from first year of World War 1. It is captioned The Pals leaving Rhyl Nov 1914. The question: What road/street/whatever are they in?
The answer: Palace Avenue.

At the far end of the street, on your left, is the Palace Hotel now Palace Apartments.

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Scoring 1 win for the correct answer to rink question and/or 1 win for Palace Avenue: Richard & Ceri Swinney 2, Sue Handley 2, Dilys Bagnall 1, The Great Gareth 2, Jane Shuttle 1.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

FLASHBACK #18


A few days ago a reader supplied this item. It is a photo of the northern end of High Street, Rhyl.

Left of centre is the Royal Hotel on corner of Sussex Street; the story is that the Royal sold most of its ground to provide space for building the Plaza Cinema. The Piazza restaurant stands on that corner now.

[Incidentally I see The Piazza listed in some places as 24 High Street and others as 10 Sussex Street. Good luck, historians of the future.]

In the photo, outside the hotel there is a kiosk that looks like a booking office of some kind. Even more interesting perhaps is the half-hidden poster attached to the railings, which seems to say: Adeler … / Pie … / Olympi … / Opp … / Dail …

Piecing out its imperfections, this becomes Adeler & Sutton’s Pierrots / Olympian Gardens / Opposite the pier / Daily at ...

The poster indicates that the scene must be before 1909 when Edwin Adeler gave up; twist my arm and I’ll say circa 1906. You can read more about Adeler & Sutton’s Pierrots in Bill Ellis’ book Entertainment in Rhyl And North Wales pages 17-19.

Across the road from the hotel, in the same position as it is today is W.H. Smith. This company was the first chain store in the world - not many people know that. 

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Rhyl Life notes with much regret that Ken Trehearn formerly of Vern’s Amusements in West Parade (pictured above) passed away on Saturday 30th March 2016. Here is a link to Ken’s obituary in Daily Post:

Picture from Rhyl History Club.

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Sunday, 10 April 2016

QUIZ QUESTION # 133


Above is an undated 1960s-ish picture of Rhyl's fondly-remembered roller skating rink.
The question: In what corner was the photographer standing - north east, north west, south east or south west?

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New to this blog is the following image of the Pals Battalion from first year of World War 1. It is captioned The Pals leaving Rhyl Nov 1914.
The question: What road/street/whatever are they in?

You have until the end of Saturday 16th April 2016 to send your entry. The result will appear on this blog next day around noon.

Colin Jones / email: rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk

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QUIZ ANSWER # 132


Last Sunday I posted the above photo in which two place names have been obscured by black dots. The question: What are the place names?
The answer: Knowles Ave (on your left) and Ridgeway Ave (right).

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Also I posted a group of adverts for nine businesses in same building.
The question: Where in Rhyl was the building?
The answer: Sussex Street.
The businesses were in The Market Hall, originally Sussex Street Baths, and later known as The Old Market. [Peacocks store is on that site now.]
Here is the advert with header & footer intact, showing ten businesses:
Sussex Street Baths, Rhyl

The Rhyl Football Club programme from which this item is taken is dated 11 September 1954.

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Scoring 1 win for Knowles and Ridgeway and/or 1 win for Sussex Street:
Dilys Bagnall 1, Jane Shuttle 2, Sue Handley 2, The Great Gareth 2.

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The following references are added here for indexing purposes:
Woodworkers Supply Stores, Bickley drapery, Williams baby infants wear, Clwyd Snack Bar, Vickerys toys games, Williams linens, Simpson pets, Shaws Stores, Meesons sweets, Newhome wallpaper paint.

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

TRANSPORT TOP-UP


Above are a couple of variations on a photo that appeared on this blog years ago courtesy of John Powell. These are from an other source and labelled "LNWR Rhyl Station, up platform looking west 1925".

LNWR or L&NWR (London & North West Railway) ceased operating in 1922 so either the name of the company or the date are wrong.
John says LMS (London, Midland & Scottish Railway) 1932, and I jolly well believe him!

Here is a snapshot that includes the William Roberts coal yard (where Morrisons is now). It is undated but feels pre-World War 2 and seems to have been taken from Vale Road Bridge. Very evocative:


Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

Below is an unusual snap taken in 1962 during the hovercraft trials. A British United Airways employee shields his face from the wind and spray:


The following two photos from 1976-77 show lost shops in background. William Roberts' shop on your left in the first, and Woolworth's store on your left in the second.


Finally a poignant, rainy-day image dated 1981 taken on the promenade more or less opposite Quay Street. That must be a fragment of Schooner Inn on your left. I wonder who the conductor is.


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Colin Jones / email: rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk

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.


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Sunday, 3 April 2016

QUIZ QUESTION # 132


Above is a photo taken last year in Rhyl by Yours Truly. Two place names have been obscured by black dots.
The question: What are the two place names?

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From a 1950s football programme here is a group of adverts for nine businesses in the same building.
The question: Where in Rhyl was the building?


You have until the end of Saturday 9th April 2016 to send your entry. The result will appear on this blog next day around noon.


Colin Jones / email: rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk

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QUIZ ANSWER # 131


Last Sunday I posted the above composite of two pix of the SAME sign with the place name removed. 
The question: What is the missing name?

The answer: Frederick Street.

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Albion Works

Also posted was the above photo of a works plate bearing inscription. The question: To what does 105 refer? (one word of seven letters).
The answer: Michael.


Michael is miniature steam train 105 at Marine Lake, built in the 1920s, here photographed in 1985, and currently in working order.
Albert Barnes & Co. were the makers (not Rhyl Amusements Ltd the name under which Mr. Barnes ran Marine Lake Fun Fair). 
Albion Works was and still is the name of the Ffynnongroew Road site where Arriva Bus Depot is now.

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Scoring 1 win for Frederick Street and/or 1 win for Michael:
Richard & Ceri Swinney 2, Dilys Bagnall 1, Sue Handley 2, Jane Shuttle 2 and The Great Gareth 2.

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A few days ago in Sidoli's, The Great Gareth (Gareth Morris) handed me these previously-unpublished snaps that he took in 1974 during demolition of Rhyl Pavilion: 




Thanks, Gareth.

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