Friday, 7 August 2009


‘Rhyl - The Town And Its People’ by J.W. Jones, published in 1973, was the first substantial book about Rhyl history to be written by a resident. His second and final book ‘Rhyl And Roundabout’, published in 1976, was a collection of his pieces from Rhyl Journal. The two books are must-read items for anyone interested in local history. They are both out of print but can be found in Rhyl Library.

J.W. (Joseph William) Jones (1903-1985) was the son of a furniture maker. He served two years as a war reserve constable in Liverpool City Police, and then became landlord of the Swan Inn, Russell Road, Rhyl, from 1944 until 1958 - hence he was known to many as ‘Jones The Swan’ or ‘Joe Swan’. In addition to local history he was involved in local drama productions and light entertainment.

The lower picture shows Plas Gwyn, 21 Russell Road, a Grade II listed building two doors down from the Swan. Plas Gwyn was his home for many years. Anyone got a picture and/or some memories of Joe to share? If so, please get in touch. The email address is:


This reference is added here for indexing purposes: Wilderspool brewery.]


TUE 27th JUN 2017 UPDATE: Here is a picture of J.W. Jones from the back cover of 'Rhyl And Roundabout'. 

Jones The Swan, Joe Swan

Every so often I take 'Rhyl And Roundabout' and read it again. It is packed with interesting snippets of information. Not rich in photos (it's not that kind of book) but I do cherish its pair of Marine Lake pix dated 1911:

Harum Scarums, Bioscope

The first pic shows a concert party of entertainers named Harum Scarums at 'The Empire Pavilion' on the Lake site; the other is of the Bioscope cinema next door. Bioscopes were usually travelling cinemas but this one looks fixed.

If you had been asked if there was ever a cinema at Marine Lake you would have said no, wouldn't you? Go on, admit it.


SAT 21st JUL 2018 UPDATE: On the subject of obscure early cinemas here is the YMCA Cinema & Theatre at Kinmel Park Camp, Bodelwyddan. This is a card postmarked 1919.

World War  One, First World War, WW1, Rhyl