Tuesday, 8 August 2017


On Monday 31st July 2017, Question 1 was: What do these two buildings have in common?

Price Evans shop

The answer: They were both music shops.
At the top is the part of North Wales Women's Centre, Water Street, that used to be Price Evans Music Shop which sold sheet music, musical instruments and records. I bought my first jazz records there in the very early 1960s and recall the husband-and-wife team behind the counter and their daughter T(h)eresa, a wild child around my own age. I wonder what happened to her.
Previously the building was named Harmony House, home of the music shop Box & Co. (originally Box & Stansfield) operated by bandleader and saxophone/clarinet/guitar player Albert Williams. In the book 'Rhyl Music In The Ritz Years 1955-1968' I described Water Street as the Tin Pan Alley of Rhyl. Dance band musicians looking for gigs would hang out next door in Ellis' Bar.
These days it seems unlikely that Jobcentre Plus would accept that as looking for work.

The other picture shows Chilli Pink Express at 42 Queen Street, a food take- away & delivery service. To an older generation of Rhylites the building will always be Greaves Record Shop.

Bill Ellis says that Greaves was previously in Market Street where R.K.M. wool shop is now. Bill remembers queuing outside with guitarist Dennis Rothwell to buy ‘Apache’ by The Shadows. That would have been 1960.

[Going further back in time, ex-Musicians' Union branch secretary Morgan Borthwick remembers the Gold Charm jewellery shop in Market Street on corner of Glanglasfor as a record shop named R.G. Jones, and sheet music was sold at Alan Edwards’ sports shop on corner of High Street & Russell Road where Detour clothes shop is now. Thanks, Morgan.]

Question 2: How are the following people connected with Rhyl?
a) Albert Cronshaw
b) Mrs. Blake and Miss Grimwood.

The answers

Albert Cronshaw was a well known character at Marine Lake Fun Fair. The following is from 'Rhyl At The Fun Fair' by Eric Hughes:
"In the 1930s as a visitor to Marine Lake Fun Fair I saw lightning artist Albert Cronshaw who could paint up to 100 complete pictures in one day. [Wouldn't I love to find one of those! - Ed.] 
Eric continues, "Albert Cronshaw also operated Spider and the Fly (or Spider Racing Game). This was a competitive game for a number of players: a large spider's web was depicted on a back wall, by turning a handle you sent a spider creeping towards the centre of the web where a fly was revolving. If your spider was first to stop the fly, you won a prize. It was not a straight- forward speed game, the handle was fitted with a clutch device that slipped if you turned too fast."

Mrs. Blake and Miss Grimwood were in a news story retold in 'Rhyl In The Second World War' by Yours Truly:
"In Rhyl on April 12th 1945, tragedy struck in a spare room in Brighton Road. Two middle-aged ladies, Mrs. Frances Gertrude Blake and her companion Miss Muriel Elsie Grimwood, committed suicide. They were overwrought after experiencing difficulties in finding suitable accommodation. The ladies were financially secure but said to be mentally unsound. They were found in bed facing each other with hands clasped. An inquest the following month found that Mrs. Blake and Miss Grimwood had died of poisoning caused by an overdose of sleeping pills."


SAT 19th AUG 2017 UPDATE: Although Eric Hughes refers to Albert Cronshaw more than once by that name, the following image is captioned Photo by Cronkshaw

Were Albert Cronshaw and Cronkshaw the same person and, if so, which spelling would be correct I wonder.

SUN 21st JAN 2018 UPDATE: In the book ‘Strange Requests And Comic Tales From Record Shops’ by Graham Jones (published in 2013)
a former sales rep named Martin Palmer says,“The most unusual shop I visited was Greaves Records in Rhyl. The owner maintained a shrine to Elvis in a corner at the back of the shop; yes, a proper shrine! It didn’t do much for the atmosphere of the shop, in fact they should have renamed it Graves!”

SUN 13th MAY 2018 UPDATE: In Rhyl, homage to Elvis continues in the shape of a model outside Millie's Fish & Chips Diner, 57 Water Street near junction with Crescent Road.

What was that song? Ah yes, 'There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis' by Kirsty MacColl. All the elements of a good quiz question there!