Saturday, 20 January 2018


In this blog there have references to E.H. Williams' Merrie Men before but not until now has there been a photographic portrait of E.H. in solo pose. Here he is in all his glory, waxed moustache an' all:

Merrie Men

E. H. (Edward Henry) Williams led his Merrie Men at the minstrel pitch on the beach in Rhyl from 1899 until 1906. He rented the pitch from Rhyl Urban District Council and turned his troupe into a real crowd-pulling act combining comedy and music.

Nearly spoiled by artificial colouring is the following picture of his Merrie Men performing a black-faced routine on the minstrel pitch.

minstrel pitch

[Note there is a building on left of the picture advertising saddle horses for hire not just donkeys.]

The Merrie Men came to be regarded as a valuable asset in the town, and Mr. Williams' work on behalf of local charities won even wider approval.

The image below shows the location of the minstrel pitch far left (opposite High Street) in relation to the pier (opposite Church Street). The pitch was taken over in 1907 by Gilbert Rogers' Jovial Jesters.

As for E.H. Williams Esq., he appears to have wound up living in London. Contrary to info published in other places, Edward Henry Street in Rhyl was not named after him.