Sunday, 17 September 2017


Last Sunday I posted this photo of a slice of Rhyl townscape. The question: What might you have found here in the 1960s?

The answer is a hotel.
The photo shows corner of Kinmel Street and Elwy Street where Mrs. B.C. Black presided over 'The Central' hotel/guest house/B&B. Her description of the place as being two minutes from the prom and sea might have been a tad optimistic - but that's how landladies tended to be.

[Grammatical note – I tend to write ‘a hotel’ rather than the more correct ‘an hotel’ because the latter now seems archaic. For the same reason I write ‘will’ where ‘’shall’ would be appropriate. Learn the rules then ride roughshod over them, that’s my motto.]

That rounded corner is rather nice. It helps to compensate a little for the angular inelegance of the new-ish medical centre nearby:

Like many small towns in Wales, Rhyl is a remarkably inelegant place. Perhaps this is because - as a poor nation - we can afford only the cheapest and nastiest architects.
Rhyl has also become very prosaic; if you have any poetry in your soul Rhyl would kill it stone dead.

The town is sinking under the weight of people who arrive here already deprived and lacking in spending power.
The latest big name retailer to announce closure of their Rhyl branch is Dorothy Perkins/Burton whose High Street premises are due to close in January 2018.

Top floor of the building in the 1950s & '60s was the Regent Ballroom. Click here if you wish to read previous posts about this:



Of the above, the late Les Slee of Molineaux Road, Rhyl, said: "This is a picture of Military College of Science (later RAMTS) Group 37A taken in Rhyl in September 1941 after the passing-out parade following completion of apprenticeships. I am on the right-hand end in the middle row. One of the officers in charge was Colonel A. T. 'Goldie' Gardner who was a test driver for MG cars. He had only one arm.
     "These boys went all round the world as Artificers reparing motor vehicles, instruments and guns, and some never came back alive. Quite a few of us (including me) got married to Rhyl girls and settled happily here."

In the photo below, Mr. P.T. (Phil) Trehearn is shown far right in fundraising mode. As President of Rhyl Individual Traders' Association (RITA) he started a war comforts fund and organised the local British Red Cross Penny-a-Week Fund. Mr. Trehearn became a member of Rhyl Urban District Council during the war. Photo supplied by Peter Trehearn.

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

The image above was supplied by Eric Hughes whose wife Doreen commented as follows:
"At Marine Lake Fun Fair my father, the engineer Albert Barnes was resident director. When the war began I was only 13. The fairground was open as usual on summer evenings and I used to help out there. My father's workshops in Westbourne Avenue were requisitioned by the Army. He experimented with apparatus to be fixed on the front of tanks to explode land mines.
     "The picture above shows an example of a rolling device. In the background is a government inspector. The outcome of the experiments was a device involving flailing chains, which was actually used by the military."

The image below was supplied years ago by Mr. Joe Cooper of Prestatyn. It shows 'C' Company Home Guard GPO Rhyl (that's right, Dad's Army) with a serious gun known as the Northover Projector.

All four images so far are from the book 'Rhyl In The Second World War' by Yours Truly which was published in 2003 and may be available from local libraries.

The one below, showing 'F' Company Home Guard Rhyl, came to hand too late to be included in the book.

Further information on all of these matters would be welcome. 

Colin Jones / email:

See my Rhyl videos on YouTube:
Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!


Sunday, 10 September 2017


Below is a slice of Rhyl townscape photographed today by Yours Truly.

The question: What might you have found here in the 1960s?

No need to send me an email - just check your answers against mine on Sunday 17th September 2017 after 12 noon.


These days  Tir Prince Raceway in Towyn near Abergele is the place for trotting races but the 1967 advert below harks back to similar events at Prestatyn Raceway.
Click on it to read the small print.

Night Trotting, eh?  We have that in Rhyl West – it's the druggies on a mission to pick up more stuff.



Yesterday in London thousands of people marched in protest against the British government's plan to leave European Union. I am not surprised. Our European citizenship is too valuable to throw away.

If any future British government tried to interfere with workers' rights, consumers' rights and other protections conferred on us by the EU, we could see civil unrest on a massive scale.

We are not Americans, we are not Chinese, we are Europeans –  and now that barriers between European countries are down they must stay down.


Thursday, 7 September 2017


On 31st August a recent photo appeared with a place name blanked out.
The question: What is the missing name?
The answer: Llys Catrin.
Here is the original photo. Click on it to see the restored name.

Welmar Estate
Also a badge was posted from a campaign by The Visitor newspaper.
The question: What was the campaign about?
The answer: Point Of Ayr Colliery.
Here is the badge with the message restored.

The campaign was part of a struggle to keep Point Of Ayr Colliery in use before its eventual closure in 1996.
You can read about the colliery and Point of Ayr in general in Wikipedia:



George Ellis of Colwyn Bay found a reference to the Country Club in Rhyl and wondered where it is/was.
It stood on the corner of Rhuddlan Road and Ffordd Derwen on the site of the present Ffordd Derwen pub. This advert is from Rhyl Urban District Council's tourist guide book of 1948.

In the advert are intriguing references to Ralph "Muffit" Moffat of radio station AFN (American Forces' Network) in Munich and a brochure about High fidelity recordings - Made in your own home . . .

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

In the same guide are details of the council's coupon system in which their coupons were worth twice their face value  even in car parks!

voucher scheme


Thursday, 31 August 2017


During the summer months visits to this blog fell by a third compared with the previous winter. Even so, the total number of pageviews now exceeds half a million. Last time I looked, the figure was  500,829.

During August 2017, these old posts were updated:

Albert Cronshaw / Cronkshaw -

Diane Heirene (2 updates) -

Garden of Remembrance -

Kinmel Hall's Chinese Hall -

RAOB (‘The Buffs’) -

Rhyl Amateur Swimming Club -

Rhyl Rollers skating team -

Winkup’s Camp -

World War 1 / Kinmel Park Camp -


North Hoyle (2003) - £80 million
Rhyl Flats (2009) - £198 million
Gwynt y Môr (2015) - 2700 million

Colin Jones / email:

See my Rhyl videos on YouTube:
Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!



In the above photo, which was taken this month in Rhyl, a place name has been blanked out.
The question: What is the missing name?

Below is a badge from a campaign by The Visitor newspaper.
The question: What was the campaign about?

No need to send me an email - just check your answers against mine on Thursday 7th September 2017 after 12 noon.


Monday, 28 August 2017


E.H. Williams

Rhyl is an August resort; this month the town has seen plenty of visitors. Nevertheless you would be hard pressed to produce a long list of the attractions. 'Rhyl's 40 Attractions' above is from circa 1904.

- Of items relating to the short-lived Queen's Palace in West Parade, Constantinople was a large model version of the Turkish city of Istanbul. The management installed this after taking out a similar representation of Venice ('Little Venice'). 

- Bijou Pavilion was a tiny theatre on the pier for troupes such as Adeler & Sutton’s Pierrots. Later it was renamed Pier Pavilion. It is under the blue dot in the image below.

 - Phrenology is the study of size and contours of the head as an alleged indication of character and mental abilities. Phrenological Lectures were presumably by Arthur Cheetham who, if you crossed his palm with silver, would feel your bumps.

- The Doll Man would be Professor Millar (sometimes written as Miller) who operated Rhyl's first Punch and Judy booth featuring his 'talking dolls' on the prom opposite Queens Hotel - just west of High Street:

- Victoria Hall Concerts is an interesting item. I suspect Victoria Hall to be the upstairs premises in Market Street known at other times as Lyric Hall and Central Hall. My reasoning is as follows:

Here is a comparatively recent pic of the premises. Underneath the red dot is inscribed the year 1890. So the building was in existence when the list was drawn up and yet the only Hall named is Victoria.

Round the margins of the list are adverts for Sandoe's books and stationery and a plug for E.H. Williams who rented the council-owned minstrel pitch on the sands for comedy & music shows by E.H. Williams' Merrie Men.


Monday, 14 August 2017


Last month a bumper crop of Rhyl Miniature Railway (Marine Lake) postcards came up for sale on Internet, unused and therefore undated. Below are examples that have not appeared previously in this blog.

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

'Atlantic' Type Locomotive by Bassett-Lowke
'Atlantic' Type Locomotive by Bassett-Lowke

Marine Rifle Range, Foryd Hall
Miniature Railway & Marine Rifle Range
Foryd Hall top left

Central Station, Funland Arcade
Central Station & Funland Arcade

Rae Pickard
By Rhyl photographer Rae Pickard

No. 101 - Joan
No. 101  - 'Joan'

No. 105 - Michael
No. 105 - 'Michael'

No. 44 Clara - built in USA
No.44 'Clara' - built in USA

Centenary 1911-2011

To see all posts relating to Marine Lake please click here:



Above is a reminder that in the 1920s the fun fair at Marine Lake was sometimes known as Ocean Beach before the newer site was developed.
Westbourne Cafe is just about discernible centre left.
The remarkable Figure Eight Rollercoaster would have been fairly new when this aerial photo was taken. On its far side, Oakland Avenue seems in the process of being created.
There is something peculiar built on decking over the water centre right.

Below is ostensibly a shot of Foryd Harbour but shows how the fun fair eventually reached West Parade. This is a card postmarked 1961.
By that time, Marine Lake Fun Fair and Ocean Beach Fun Fair were both operating. The clanking, the swirling, the screams . . .
Bottom left corner of the picture would be part of Ritz Ballroom, and the 'Casino' to your left of the big wheel would be an amusement arcade.


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 '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.

Colin Jones / email:

See my Rhyl videos on YouTube:
Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!


Monday, 31 July 2017


The above photos were taken yesterday in Rhyl by Yours Truly.
Question 1: What do these two buildings have in common?

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

No need to send me an email - just check your answers against mine on Tuesday 8th August 2017 after 12 noon.


Nigel Kerry, now resident in Clun, Shropshire, is hoping for a picture of the Roma Coffee Bar, West Parade, late 1950s/early '60s. 
Here is an advert for the Roma mentioning Ray Rowlands and His Band; Ray was a drummer from St. Asaph.
This is from 1958 and appears in 'Rhyl Music In The Ritz Years 1955-1968' by Yours Truly.
Click on it to read small print.


Sunday, 30 July 2017


sunlight moonlight wonderful time
Postcard by Bamforth & Co. Ltd. (1930s)

During July 2017, ten old posts were updated. They are as follows:

Boer War aka South African War / Hugh Owen Hughes -

Bridges in Rhyl -

Floral Hall: another image -

Llandudno tram -

Llandudno Telegraph Hotel aka Randy’s Bar -

Prestatyn: more old images -

Rubbish disposal / Clwyd Alyn -

Steam train in Rhyl: another image -

Towyn near Abergele / Cambria Holiday Camp -

Water Street / Orama Radio & TV -

RAF pilot
Rhyl Urban District Council chairman and airman J. Parry,
probably in Manchester Evening News (1957)

Well well, a councillor that knew how to fly a plane . . .


Tuesday, 25 July 2017


I have never quite reconciled myself to British pop singers adopting American accents when they open their mouths to sing, and bending and twisting notes. The cynic in me suspects these devices are for disguising poor diction and the lack of ability to pitch accurately.

There was and still is a local audience for classically trained singers, such as the John Ridding Opera Company (above) photographed during a summer season in Rhyl. They toured in Wales, Scotland and England and possibly elsewhere from the 1890s to 1920s.

Rhyl Pavilion

The card above advertises their 1910 productions at the New Pavilion & Marine Gardens development. The Pavilion was the iconic domed edifice on the promenade, and Marine Gardens was on its eastern side - where a roller skating rink was created nearly forty years later.

The following is by Rhyl photographer Ernest Jones of 3 Kinmel Street:

The Ridding Company has not been mentioned previously in this blog and nor has Rhyl Choral Society, a local army of enthusiastic amateurs. Here they are photographed by Wills Jones in 1908 on the prom:
Click on the image to see a bigger version.

How handsome the gentlemen look in their evening suits, and how pretty the ladies in their dresses. Dear me, where did we all go wrong?

Colin Jones / email:

See my Rhyl videos on YouTube:
Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!


Thursday, 20 July 2017


Here are some bus items to add to the strength transport pix in this blog. Above: the earliest form of bus, a coach and horses. This one is in Rhyl and ready to depart on a trip. The word TOURIST is just about visible on side of the coach. The image is from a card postmarked 1913.

Above: Brookes Brothers open-top white double decker outside the White Lion Hotel, High Street, Rhyl (where Jobcentre Plus is now).
On the front of the bus is an advert for E.B. Jones, grocers; on the side is advert for a Rhyl Pavilion show titled This Woman Business.

Below: Crimson Coaches vehicle near the Llanberis Pass. It is made by Vulcan of Southport. Crimson is one of the lesser known Rhyl firms, and the driver in this instance is 'Will Llanfair'.

Llanberis Pass


Above: Late 1930s snapshot of a Crosville Motor Services U8 that ran between High Street, Rhyl, and Sandy Cove in Kinmel Bay.

Below: Late 1950s probably. The double decker is near corner of High Street and West Parade, with Woolworth's (now B&M) on your left.

Crosville's 5000th bus, circa 1980 at Marine Lake end of Wellington Road, near an Esso petrol station and an Elf service station.