Tuesday, 7 March 2017


Above is a typical Victorian cabinet card produced in this case by the photographer J. Brown of 3 Kinmel Street, Rhyl.

The card is signed by the subject, J. Rhydwen Jones. The name is remembered as part of Rhydwen Jones and Davies, a furniture shop in Queen Street – and we have Rhydwen Drive and Rhydwen Close in Rhyl.

J. Rhydwen Jones was one of the Rhyl Improvement Commissioners (forerunners of Rhyl Urban District Council) and was Chairman of the Commissioners for the two year period ending May 5th 1879.

He had been the contractor for the present Rhyl Town Hall which opened in 1876. [The word ‘contractor’ may not have meant exactly the same in that context as it does now.]

If he were around today I would ask J.R.J. why the front tower is leaning.

SAT 26th MAY 2018 UPDATE: On the subject of early photography in Rhyl, J.W. Jones' book 'Rhyl And Roundabout' refers to an 1866 trade directory which lists only one photographer.
J.W. says, "The photographer was Signor L. Volpé of Shipley Street (now part of Kinmel Street). I have never come across any of his work; there must be some his Cartes-de-Visites still around somewhere."

What an interesting quote! The photographer's name looks like a mix of French and Italian and may be a Eurofake. Shipley Street we think of as an old name for part of Brighton Road and not Kinmel Street. Any road up, a Volpé card has turned up here at Jones Towers:

Click on the image to see fine details.
I would like to know more about this photographer. If a genuine foreigner, he would have stood out a mile in Rhyl of the 1860s. The logo below is on back of the card and gives his first name as Louis and family name as Volpe without accent over the é.


THU 18th OCT 2018 UPDATE: The railway photo below carries no information about date or place. It gives the signor's name as (not Louis but) Luigi Volpé'.

railway construction

The following is a detail from above:

railway construction

Colin Jones / email: rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk