Friday, 28 April 2017


Lot of works going on in Rhyl at present. The scene above is part of the Marina Quay development on the former Ocean Beach Fun Fair site, and so are these two:

The big unit on corner of West Parade and Sydenham Avenue has an entrance in the same place as the fun fair's main entrance was. The resemblance ends there.

The Marina Quay development will bring more shoppers to Rhyl, but will it take more trade away from our town centre? We'll have to wait and see.

All photos in this post were taken this month by Yours Truly.
Click on any one to see a bigger version.

Further along West Parade there is nothing doing on the derelict plot of land at top of John Street, but the Skytower is getting a lick of paint in advance of further decoration.

Across the road, at top of Water Street, work has commenced on site of the demolished Honey Club (previously Rosy O'Grady's, originally Monica Hotel). The plan is for a Premier Inn. Not much to see at present because of a high fence.

Near top of Queen Street the scaffolding is a work of art and should be preserved:

Near Rhyl Golf Club, opposite Lyons Robin Hood Holiday Park, large moles have become a problem.

No, it's just more flood defence work:

Nothing doing on site of the demolished Grange Hotel in East Parade, but the Pavilion Theatre's facelift is coming along nicely and plans to your left of the theatre include a Travelodge hotel and a pub.

At present the theatre looks like this from Conwy Street:

Disregard the works outside. The shows go on as usual. This musical, for instance, is on Mon 1st May to Wed 3rd May. Details from Pavilion Box Office Tel: (01745) 33 00 00

Sorry to have to note here that my pal Fred Burns the photographer, who has been operating a studio at 44 Bedford Street, Rhyl, for more than ten years has opted for early retirement due to illness. Fred and I worked together on several projects and had a lot of laughs.
By coincidence, GMG's wedding dress shop next door at No.42 has closed down because proprietor Geraldine also is afflicted by illness. One-person businesses have a fragile existence.



During April 2017, eight older posts were updated:

Brexit / Regrexit!

Coventry Co-op Camp, Kinmel Bay -

Jolly Boys Football Club -

Knights Caverns, Palace Fun Centre -

Ocean Beach Fun Fair/1970s -

Promenade boating lake (pedal boats) -

Rebecca Trehearn -

Stoke-on-Trent Children's Holiday Home -


Colin Jones / email:


Friday, 21 April 2017


Previously in this blog have been references to the Post Office that used to be in Rhyl High Street in days of yore, but no clear illustration until now. The date 1959 appears on the back of this photo:

Avondale Cafe, E.B. Jones

The building has long gone. It was opposite the present Boots chemist, on a site where now we have a pair of charity shops: British Heart Foundation at No.44 and Scope at No.42.

I thought I remembered a red pillar box outside. Memory plays tricks!

To your right of the Post Office was formerly Avondale Restaurant which, by the time the photo was taken, had become combined-Avondale-Cafe-and-shop belonging to E.B. Jones & Co Ltd.

Cyclists, please take note of the two chaps in the picture. They are doing what you should be doing in town centres, i.e. walking along pushing the bikes and not riding. 




We are used to US President Donald Trump saying the opposite of what he used to say, now his hand-holding friend UK Prime Minister Theresa May has followed suit.

Mrs. May insisted that there would be no General Election until 2020 and then announced there would be a General Election only five weeks after local council elections 2017.

She hopes to see her Conservative Party returned with more MPs so that she and her Brextremist colleagues could force through Parliament some iffy parts of her Brexit strategy.

Mrs. May says that “the British people” voted to leave the European Union. This is not true. More than 48 per cent of us voted to remain in the EU. We believe that leaving would be a silly and unnecessary upheaval, and we will NOT be silenced – not now, not ever.

So come on Plaid Cymru, Scottish Nationalists, Lib Dems and Labour. Get a grip on the General Election campaign, take enough seats to stop this Brexit bandwagon in its tracks, and then concentrate on the three Hs: housing, health and heducation.


THU 27th APR 2017 UPDATE: Latest poll by The Times newspaper and YouGov reports the tide has officially turned against Brexit. For the first time since the referendum, a majority of people are saying Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU. [Regrexit!]

  • Thank you the reader who wrote to tell me that a group is being formed already to campaign for a return to EU if the Government takes us out.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


Griffiths & Snape, Contractors, Rhyl Housing Scheme, 1926
Angels at the Men's Convalescent Home, Bedford Street, Rhyl

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Staff of J. Wynne-Ellis, Plumber Fitter Glazier 
Postmen of Rhyl (very smart - no shorts!)
Snap of Rhyl Urban District Council binmen on the prom
The White Rose Motors, Rhyl
(in white coats are drivers)

Further info about these pictures and similar items would be welcome.
Colin Jones / email:



On Sunday 9th  I posted the black-and-white picture shown below. The question: At junction of what two streets is the lamp post standing?

The answer: East Parade and Bath Street.

Far right is Children's Hospital on the prom. The building had been the Baths Hotel the road to which became - and remains - Bath Street.
The hotel was there as early as the 1820s managed by Miss Summers & Miss Stevens. It was a respectable inn and bathing establishment with a lending library. It was converted to hospital in 1873.

Also I posted a pic of a hanging lamp shade. The question: Where in Rhyl would you find this item?

The answer: Rhyl Railway Station (Platform 2)

Here is a wider view in a photo taken this year by Yours Truly:


Sunday, 9 April 2017



This is a drawing of Rhyl Lifeboat saving the four-man crew of ‘The Temperance’ which was a Belfast ship caught in a gale and stranded off Pensarn, Abergele, early in January 1857. This, and an account of the incident were published that same year in The Illustrated London News weekly magazine.

The drawing is a good example of a newspaper illustration before photography, i.e. a work of the artist's imagination. Rhyl Lifeboat had no name in those very early days. Point of Ayr Lifeboat was also sent to aid 'The Temperance' but this capsized near Rhyl and all 13 members of the crew were lost.

As for ‘The Temperance’, the vessel is described in the magazine as a brigantine and elsewhere as a schooner. Thanks to Paul Frost MBE of Rhyl RNLI Lifeboat station for supplying the following links via which the difference can be fathomed:

Schooner -

Armchair sailors please note that the label MARITIME which used to appear in the list - on your left at the top of the page - has been done away with and the posts therein dispersed under the labels FORYD HARBOUR, HMS RHYL, HOVERCRAFT and LIFEBOAT.
The few oddments that wouldn't fit into those categories are now labelled RHYL HISTORY.



Recently on Internet were photographs from a family album. The photos were marked Rhyl 1923. Here is an edited selection for your delectation. The people are not identified but the images convey the fun that was Rhyl - surely one of the most friendly resorts.

sea paddling

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

beach sands


Fairfield Links

The last one is marked Fairfield Links. Obviously nothing to do with Fairfield Avenue. Any ideas of the whereabouts, anyone?

Colin Jones / email:



In the black-and-white pic below you will see a Victorian lamp post of the kind you may fancy for your garden.
The question: At junction of what two streets is the lamp post standing?

In the colour pic (which was taken this year) is a hanging lamp shade with interior decorator appeal.
The question: Where in Rhyl would you find this item?

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

No need to send me an email - just check your two answers against mine on Tuesday 18th April 2017 after 12 noon.



Things I like about Rhyl are the clear skies and the flatness of the terrain (no steep hills) and that living here is cheap and comparatively safe, but there are invisible dangers.
In North Wales almost 300 people aged over 25 die per year because of air pollution, including 42 per year here in Denbighshire.
See story by Steve Bagnall in Daily Post:

Sunday, 2 April 2017


On Saturday 29th April 2017, The Co-operative Bwyd (Food) shop at 97 High Street, Rhyl, will close down. The Co-op stands on part of the site previously occupied by the Regal Cinema and originally by Britannia Inn.

Some years ago I went to the Co-op to take part in a meeting of regular customers. There we were told by an Area Manager that the branch would be changing status from supermarket to convenience store so that it could be open longer hours.

At the meeting I mentioned that the derelict offices above, which had been occupied by The Visitor newspaper, had become spattered by seagulls and other feathered friends and the windows needed cleaning. Soon they were cleaned and have not looked that bad again – yet.

In recent years the security staff have been laid off and sales staff reduced in number. The Co-op has two doors in High Street and a goods entrance in Clwyd Street near a day centre for substance abusers (ask your elected representatives why it has to be there).

Shoplifting is said to have been a factor in the shop's closure but I have not been able to get official confirmation of this.


Roy Turner (pictured above with wife June) passed away at end of March in Spain at age 88. Roy and June were helpful to me a dozen years ago when I was writing about the local music scene – and several times since. Roy’s knowledge and understanding of Rhyl were impressive and so was the clarity of his memory.

Roy had been amongst other things a local businessman and councillor. I used to think of him as one of the few remaining – if not the last – of the great Rhyl councillors dating back the days of Rhyl Urban District Council which was a more powerful body than the present town council.

Despite his advancing years and many changes in landscape of the town, Roy stayed in tune with Rhyl and ready to offer information and advice. My impression is that if we could have given Rhyl to Roy he would have sorted everything out. How many other people could you say that about? He was a remarkable man.

Photographs in this blog post are by Yours Truly.

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:


Friday, 31 March 2017


Photo by Chris Pedota / The Record

I was pleased to see US President Donald Trump defeated in his bid to replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act with some half-baked scheme of his own. Millions more Americans would have been denied proper health care if he had succeeded.

Mr. Trump has not managed to get his travel ban through either – and I hope in due course the authorities will tell him where he can shove his idea for a proposed wall across the Mexican border.

There is growing support for the idea that Michelle Obama should stand against him at the next Presidential Election in 2020.


Picture from The Guardian newspaper

On Wednesday this week Prime Minister Theresa May gave the European Union formal notice of the not-very-United Kingdom's decision to leave.

According to United Nations statistics published in December 2016, the EU as a whole is the largest economy in the world. If it is damaged by UK withdrawal, the principal beneficiary would be the second largest economy in the world - the US - with whom we have a 'special relationship'.

Oh, I see.

The EU refuses to settle a deal on its future relationship with UK until AFTER terms & conditions of leaving are agreed. So eventually Mrs. May will have to ask MPs to approve the agreement-about-leaving without being able to tell them exactly what happens next.




Recently Rhyl Life's pageviews have been averaging about 10,000 per month, and nearly 60 per cent of readers are overseas. During the course of this month twelve old posts were updated:

Abergele villages -

Baptist Church -

Circus elephant -

David Archer (criminal) -

Early Lifeboat houses -

'Hate' newspapers -

High Street (The Cross) -

Junior Tradesmen’s Regiment, Kinmel Camp -

Promenade illuminations -

Queen's Palace fire -

Rhyl VAD Red Cross Nurses -

Waterpark (The cost of) -

New readers please note that this blog has been selected for preservation by National Library of Wales for use by researchers in the future, so do get in touch if you can offer photos or info relating to Rhyl. The material does not have to be old to be interesting.

Colin Jones / email:


Friday, 24 March 2017


Rhyl Life will not be covering in depth the council elections that take place soon, but here are a few tips:

1. This time round, voting Conservative would not be a good idea. It might encourage Tory Brextremists in Westminster who would drag us out of the EU at any cost regardless of damage to Wales.

2. On a local level, beware of Rhyl Labour Party's poor record in keeping the town up to standard and their tendency to claim credit for big schemes that are little or nothing to do with them.

3. Consider voting for Plaid Cymru - The Party Of Wales even if you have never done so before. Plaid is the ONLY political party based entirely in Wales and it works on behalf of everybody who lives here.

4. In the absence of Plaid see if you can find a Lib Dem or Independent candidate worthy of your support.




Photo of Nicola Sturgeon ©Reuters

Watching TV coverage of the Spring Conference of Scottish National Party I was moved by the passion and positivism of speeches by Nicola Sturgeon (leader) and others.
Good luck to the Scottish National Party in their bid to gain a second referendum on Independence; they should keep at it until they get the result they want.
Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood has a vision of Britain becoming four independent countries in loose alliance instead of the present UK in which England can and does force its will on the rest of us.



Ten days ago I posted a couple of photos taken this year.

Question 1) Where in Rhyl would you find the above scene?
Answer: Under the H-Bridge.
Behind Rhyl Tyre & Battery Centre, 117 Marsh Road. Photo by Dave Williams. Thanks, Dave!


Question 2) Re: the photo below, where was the photographer standing?
Answer: On the H-Bridge.
Looking over the wall and across Arriva Bus Depot towards a row of derelict business units at rear of Terence Avenue.

The photographer was Yours Truly standing on tiptoe.

Colin Jones / email:



This being Red Nose Day, let’s salute early Rhyl entertainers in whose acts comedy played a big part. These images are all new to this blog:

Tom Wood Rhyl

The above is from the 1880s. Tom Wood's Merry Men was the first troupe at our council-owned 'minstrel pitch' on the sands. Minstrel shows were a combination of music & comedy. Tom Wood was a professional comedian who died aged 27.

Merry had given way to Merrie by the time E.H. Williams & his Merrie Men took over from Tom Wood at the pitch. Mr. Williams was a canny self-publicist well known in Rhyl. Edward Henry Street is thought to be named after him (because we already had a Williams Street).

A few routines by E.H. & his M.M. who are shown above on the minstrel pitch, were captured by Rhyl film maker Arthur Cheetham. These included the 1899 knockabout sketch illustrated below. The still is from the book 'Wales And Cinema' by David Berry:

Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

Arthur Sutcliffe, Bert Erroll

Above is a card postmarked 1907 - Adeler & Sutton's Pierrots at a kiosk on the pier. Halfway up the ladder is Arthur Sutcliffe. The lady at the foot of the ladder is no lady, it's female impersonator Bert Erroll.

Below is a 1907 photo of Adeler & Sutton's Gay River Company posing opposite East Parade near sandhills. Front centre is Frank Dunlop who has been described by Bill Ellis as the company's leading man, and on your right of him is - yes - Bert Erroll again.

Finally an item from Easter 1912 or '13: Jolly Boys visiting the ornamental fountain opposite West Parade to render the song 'By The Fountain' which was generally popular at the time.
Later the name Jolly Boys was used in 1920s by Billy Churchill's resident troupe at the Coliseum on the prom. Perhaps it was a generic term for this kind of daftness.

[Incidentally, the song 'By The Fountain' had words by F.E. Weatherly and music by Stephen Adams who was a Liverpool-born composer of mainly religious songs. Stephen Adams and his brother James have both been suspected of being Jack the Ripper - and that's no joke.]

FRI 21st APR 2017 UPDATE: Speaking of Jolly Boys, what do you make of this Jolly Boys Football Club card postmarked 1911?

Names of the personnel illustrated, who appear to be younger than the entertainers of same name, are listed here for indexing purposes:
B, Craighill, J. Lamb, T. Burns, C. Manley, R. Jones, W. Jones, W. Davies, H. Lloyd, T.A. Williams (Captain), H. Jones (Chairman), G. Simcock, J.E. Pritchard (Vice Captain), T. Roberts.


Thursday, 16 March 2017


If scaffolding is your delight, take a trip to Queen Street, Rhyl, where the northeast side between The George Hotel and the former Savoy building is being renovated. The project is being carried out by Denbighshire council with funding supplied by Welsh Government (WG had owned most of the properties for years and done nothing useful with them).

The proposed new use is mainly retail and partly residential.

Denbighshire is in bed with Neptune Developments who are partners in the schemes involving our former Sun Centre and forthcoming Waterpark. In the council’s own words:
“Denbighshire has recently signed Heads of Terms with Neptune Developments for a comprehensive redevelopment of the Rhyl Waterfront area for which the Queens Market site (including the Queen Street premises) is included within the “extended project area”. The Council is being actively encouraged to acquire freehold properties within this extended project area to both control and influence regeneration.”

So the authorities have their beady eye on the Queen Street to High Street block, north of Sussex Street. Pity they did not act soon enough to acquire Queens Market for demolition and redevelopment as a department store. We might have been able to offer Marks and Sparks new accommodation instead of having to let them go to Prestatyn.

Oh well, never mind. Regeneration is the name of the game, not Regret. The scheme in progress is good news for Queen Street and a step forward for the town centre.

Photo taken today by Yours Truly.
Colin Jones / email:


Tuesday, 14 March 2017


Rhyl in the 1930s played host to many stars but few as internationally famous as American bass baritone singer Paul Robeson whose one-off performance at the Pavilion in 1934 was a very big event.

The late Jack Griffiths, ex-councillor and author of a history of the Parish of Rhyl and the Parish Church, was a boy usher at the theatre that night. Jack told me, "It was sensational. I've never seen so many people on Rhyl promenade. Huge crowds waited just to catch sight of him."

After his appearance in Rhyl, Paul Robeson made the films 'Sanders Of The River' (1935) and 'Showboat' (1936). Hear him sing his famous song Ol' Man River from 'Showboat' on YouTube:

He returned to Wales to make the 'The Proud Valley' (1940) in which he played a coal miner – his favourite film:

film movie

The late Paul Robeson is held in esteem and affection in Wales to this day. Read about his achievements and his political activism in Wikipedia:

The following references are added here for indexing purposes:
Harold Holt agent promoter, Lawrence Brown piano, Julian Shelley Trio.