Thursday, 19 February 2009


The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and not the views of the town council.

The black-and-white image above is a postcard issued to commemorate the opening of Ysbyty Frenhinol Alexandra / Royal Alexandra Hospital. You may have noticed that the year 1900 is inscribed above the building's main entrance, but the official opening was in 1902.

The hospital had a pre-history as a children’s convalescent home at more than one seafront address. The Alex, as it is affectionately known today, was named after its patron Princess Alexandra of Wales who laid the foundation stone.

The hospital is pictured without its east wing (on the side nearest to Prestatyn); this was added in 1908. The setting looks almost rural; the present coast road between Rhyl and Prestatyn was not created until about 20 years later. Today the hospital is still one of our most handsome buildings despite many alterations.

The colour snap is my attempt at capturing an image of the Alex’s ‘Flying Fox’ weather vane. The story is that the Duke of Westminster was a big contributor to the building fund, and in 1899 he promised that if his horse Flying Fox won its next race on July 14th at Sandown Park he would send a further £10,000. The horse duly obliged and the Duke – being a gentleman – sent the money. The weather vane commemorates the gesture.

The following is a cutting from a national newspaper published in 1902:


MON 20th JUL 2015 UPDATE: Just arrived here at Jones Towers, an early (undated) image of the rear of Royal Alexandra Hospital with garden instead of a car park:

TUE 10th JUL 2018 UPDATE: Below is the original monochrome shot of the above by Rhyl photographer Rae Pickard. A note on the back says it's a side view of the building.

Rae Pickard