Sunday, 12 November 2017


Gaiety Theatre, Rhyl

In October last year I mentioned an A5-size booklet of fourteen arty black-and-white photos by Stephen Clarke titled 'Ocean Beach Rhyl' (published 2014) in a limited edition of 150.

Recently a companion volume turned up  the covers are shown above. ‘Rhyl Seafront’ (published 2015) is in same format and this too is limited edition of 150. Its fifteen images show parts of West Parade and the promenade.

Cover shot of Gaiety Theatre would be 1980s (it was demolished 1991). Presumably the other pictures are from the ‘80s as well. The text gives no clue as to the date or any other information because there is no text.

Clwyd Cream Ices' kiosk is featured and so is the Information Centre in a unit on the prom before it moved to Children’s Village. Also we have the arcades Stardust, Mint and Ronald Seldon's Sands; and Bumper Boats. The booklet is a time capsule.

To see the post about photographer Stephen Clarke’s 'Ocean Beach Rhyl' please click here:

The following refs are added here for indexing purposes: Cafe Royal Books, Craig Atkinson editor.

Colin Jones / email:

See my Rhyl videos on YouTube:

Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!



Last Sunday I listed some Rhyl places with every other letter removed.
The question: What are the full names of the places?

The example given:
-e-l-n-t-n / -o-d = Wellington Road

The answers:

1) -u-l-n-t-n / -r-s-e-t = Burlington Crescent

2) -a-n-l-a / -o-r- = Magnolia Court

3) -a-d-w-r-h / -r-s-e-t = Handsworth Crescent

4) -l-s / -o-i- / G-c- = Llys Robin Goch

5) -a-f-r- / A-e-u- = Walford Avenue

Did you get them all right?
Of course you did!


Alas, Daily Post reports that Rhyl has become North Wales' most crime-ridden railway station:

Criminals continue to make a bee-line for Rhyl because they have family/ friends/associates here, and they know the town is an easy place to get drugs, and policing is weak.
As far as I can see, little or nothing is being done to deter these people from coming. On the contrary they are welcomed by publicly-funded support projects including housing services.
Your taxes, dear readers, are being used to help Rhyl gain and keep a bad reputation.



Automobile Association

These amateur snaphots from the early 1930s relate to AA Box. No. 263 named ‘Rhuddlan Cross-Roads’. The telephone number was Rhuddlan 235. At the crossroads it was on the B. 5532 (now A5151 to Bodrhyddan Hall, Dyserth and Trelawnyd.)

Whenever passing I see the ghost of the AA Box in Rhuddlan and the one at Trefnant, Doctor.

Does anybody know who the patrolman is?

Colin Jones / email:


Sunday, 5 November 2017


Here are a couple of aerial shots; the guesstimated date is August 2010. Thanks to 'L' for sending these.

Above: Looking westwards across Towyn. Tir Prince is on your left.

Click on an image to see a bigger version.

Below: Looking eastwards across Towyn & Kinmel Bay towards Rhyl.

Colin Jones / email:

Don't forget my YouTube channel featuring Rhyl videos and slideshows. The channel is named RhylTime. Click here to see RhylTime's Top Ten:

Only YouTube items labelled RhylTime are mine.



Here are some Rhyl places with every other letter removed.
The question: What are the full names of the places?

-e-l-n-t-n / -o-d = Wellington Road

Now try these

1) -u-l-n-t-n / -r-s-e-t

2) -a-n-l-a / -o-r-

3) -a-d-w-r-h / -r-s-e-t

4) -l-s / -o-i- / G-c-

5) -a-f-r- / A-e-u-

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


Tuesday, 31 October 2017


Erdington Children's Homes Band at Rhyl, 1929

During October 2017 the following old posts were updated:

Former Co-op premises, High Street (2 updates) -

Foryd Bridge -

High Street, Polkinghorne’s Series -

Pleasure Boats / Gangways on beach -

Pleasure / Fishing Boats near harbour -

May Queen 1941 -

Sun Centre -

Universal Credit in Rhyl -

STOP PRESS! Bodycare is moving from High Street to White Rose Centre.
ALDI is moving from Wellington Rd to Marina Quay (was Ocean Beach).



October 2017 was a classic month for quotes about Republican President Donald Trump:

Republican Senator Jeff Flake said,
“We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country - the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations.”

Republican Senator Bob Corker said,
"At the end of the day, when his term is over, I think the debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth telling, just the name-calling ... I think the debasement of our nation will be what he'll be remembered most for, and that's regretful."

American Professor of Economics Jeffrey Sachs said,
"I believe that at an individual level he is profoundly psychologically ill. He is a malignant narcissist and a sociopath."

Not much to argue with there.

MON 30 OCT 2017 – Ex-Trump election campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has admitting lying to the FBI about connections between individuals associated with the campaign and the Russian government's efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

MON 30 OCT 2017 AGAIN – Ex-Trump election campaign adviser Paul Manafort & his business associate Richard ‘Rick’ Gates, have been charged on 12 counts, including conspiracy against United States, making false statements and conspiracy to launder money.


Saturday, 28 October 2017


St. Mary's Convent School

St. Mary's Convent School

These recent acquisitions are postcards bearing bottom right the printed signature of Rhyl photographer Rae Pickard and the date 1912. On the back they carry the following message: "BROMESQUE" REAL PHOTOGRAPH by RAE PICKARD, RHYL. PRINTED IN RHYL.

The cards bear no further details. Mr. Pickard ranged far and wide in North Wales, so there is no guarantee that this production of 'Cinderella' was actually staged in Rhyl. Nevertheless I suspect we are looking at girls from our St. Mary's Convent School in Russell Road which was up and running by then.

Kinmel Bay-based cartoonist/singer/comedian Roy Lance clocked up a few pantos in his time, such as this one:

Jack and the Beanstalk

Roy is on your right as Simple Simon with Trevor Moreton as Dame in 'Jack and the Beanstalk' 1968-69 at Swansea Grand Theatre. Jack was played by pop singer Wayne Fontana; the cast included The Harmon Brothers (later known as The Chuckle Brothers).

If I have identified the wrong production I will go and stand in the corner.

This year at Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl, we have 'Sleeping Beauty':

Pavilion Theatre says, "The cast is headed by Vicky Entwistle, perhaps best known as Coronation Streeet’s Janice Batterby who plays the Bad Fairy Cararabosse. She is joined by Channel 5’s Milkshake presenter, Amy Thompson as Sleeping Beauty, Princess Briar Rose, and Hollyoaks’ Kathy Barnes, Sarah Jane Buckley, as the Good Fairy.

"The Queen of pantomime dames, Charles Burden, plays Nanny Glucose, and back by popular demand is Wales’ very own Sean Jones as Silly Billy who returns for his 6th consecutive pantomime at the Pavilion.
"There is a full supporting cast which includes two local talented dance schools, The Gay Harris Dancers and The North Wales School of Dance. Sleeping Beauty runs from Wednesday 13th December to Saturday 6th January, tickets are priced from just £9.50."
Incidentally, recent works by Denbighshire County Council at the Pavilion Theatre include the creation of a new restaurant area which has been given the name ‘1891’ because somebody thinks that’s when the Pavilion first opened. There are faults in this reasoning.
The present Pavilion Theatre which opened in 1991 could be described as a belated replacement for the famous domed Rhyl Pavilion (demolished 1974, opened 1908) but there is no connection that I know of between those two council-owned venues and the Grand Pavilion (destroyed by fire 1901, opened 1891).
The Grand Pavilion, about which I published a book in 2002, was a concert hall built at the shore end of our Victoria Pier by a private company which owned the pier at that particular time. It was not the start of a Pavilion dynasty so ‘1891’ is not an appropriate name for the restaurant.

If the link between the three disparate venues is simply the word Pavilion, then the restaurant might as well be named '1867' which was the date that the Bijou Pavilion opened halfway along the pier. Does all this matter? Well, there is already enough misinformation about Rhyl history out there without Denbighshire Council adding to it.


Wednesday, 25 October 2017



A message has arrived here at Jones Towers from Jan Gammie who says:

I am working as the researcher on a book being written by an old colleague of mine, Dafydd Rees, about The Beatles in 1963. We worked together in the press office at Decca back in the day, and have kept in touch over the years. He has been writing music books for over 40 years (if you google "dafydd rees author" you should find some previous publications on his Amazon page).

The latest project (well, I say "latest", but we have been on it for 5 years now!) is "1963 - A Year In The Life Of The Beatles". It essentially covers each day of that pivotal year, with a short narrative from the group's perspective, accompanied by a memoir from someone who encountered them in some way.

We have stories from musicians who played on the same bill, fans who saw them in concert, waitresses who served them in restaurants, and try though I may, I just haven't been able to find someone to share a memoir from when they appeared at The Ritz Ballroom in Rhyl on the 19th/20th July of that year. 

I wonder if you know anyone who saw them on either of these two dates, and who would be happy to share their memories of the evening, and growing up in Rhyl in the early '60s - was there much to do for young people/local music shops/coffee bars, etc. 

Over to you, dear readers. Did you see The Beatles at The Ritz? If so, send an email to me in the first instance and I will forward it to Jan.

Colin Jones /


Sunday, 22 October 2017


arts centre, cinema, theatre, conference venue

As Labour enjoys popularity and the Conservatives descend into disarray yet again over Europe, Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales - holds its own very well as a pressure group within the Welsh Assembly. Its four MPs and MEP are hard at work too.

Last Friday at the party's annual conference, at Galeri in Caernarfon (pictured above), Plaid's leader Leanne Wood expressed support for Catalonian independence and condemned the violence by Spanish state police that shocked us all in television news reports.

Plaid’s position on Brexit is same as Labour’s. Both parties believe that leaving the European Union is a bad idea but they are going along with it anyway as long as leaving the EU (a political institution) does not mean having to leave the single market and customs union as well.


Plaid wishes to see the establishing of a Welsh Government fund to help businesses across any transition period, and an end to the scapegoating of migrants who came to UK lawfully and in good faith and have contributed a lot to strengthening the economy.

Leanne moved on to talk about the need to expand rail transport within Wales (including electrification of the North Wales Coast line) and about Education being the route out of poverty, and Community Action being an antidote to deprivation and budget cuts.

The speech touched on other issues but avoided controversies within the party such as arguments for and against legalising drugs, and for or against banning the sale of council & housing association properties.

Certain elements within Plaid would prefer to have a new leader before the next National Assembly for Wales election in 2021. Why they feel that way is a mystery; they are anonymous and therefore cannot be questioned about the matter.

Colin Jones / email:

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




Last Sunday I said that in late 1940s this family appeared in a one-off Sunday show at Queens Theatre, Rhyl. The little girl became a big international star. The question: What is her name?
The answer: Julie Andrews.
Pictured above with Julie are mother Barbara and stepfather Ted Andrews. They were at the Queens on July 25th 1948 when Julie was 12 years old.


Interesting to note that on this kind of engagement the biggest names did not necessarily appear on stage last. Position on the bill would suit their travelling arrangements.
If you never seen Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins (1964), The Sound Of Music (1965) or Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) do try to catch up!
Ms Andrews is 82 years of age and still working.

The following acts are added here for indexing purposes:
Tommy Casserley, Mabel Somers, Mark Rivers comic, Ian Glen magician, Tattersall and Jerry.

Also I said that in late 1950s this popular singer topped the bill in a Sunday show at the Queens. The question: What is her name?

The answer: Anne Shelton.
To be precise I could have said mid 1950s, but either you recognised her or you jolly well didn't . . .

Anne Shelton had a strong clear voice ideal for theatres. Click here to see her singing on YouTube:



A request has flooded in from John W. Davies for additional Rhuddlan pix. As a Rhuddlan boy myself, Mr. Davies, I am only too delighted to present a few more images including Parliament House:

The image above dates from before World War 1. Exterior plaque says:

This Fragment
Is the Remains of the Building
Where King Edward the first
Held his Parliament
A.D. 1283
In which was passed the Statute of Rhuddlan
To the Principality of Wales
Its Judicial Rights
And Independence

The plaque has been renewed since then. The words remain the same but their layout is more straightforward.

Below: This Raphael Tuck postcard published in 1930 is captioned Bridge End, Rhuddlan, which makes me wonder what the other end of the bridge was called.

On the far side is Gittins' Garage and Marsh Hotel, Lower High Street which became Marsh Warden, Station Road (demolished in 2014).


Above: Nice example of an image created in a studio for use far and wide with the name of the location superimposed. Somebody must have thought Rhuddlan was a seaside resort. This is a card postmarked 1934.

Below: Hylas Lane, Rhuddlan, in late 1960s/early '70s. The white cottage on your right is Hylas Bach which may be associated with (or a downsized version of) Hylas-fawr which appears on old maps.

Hylas Bach

Round the corner on same side of road is Rhuddlan Primary School which opened in 1935, expanded to include infants in 1954 and changed name to Ysgol y Castell in 1972.


Above: Eisteddfod Genedlaethol = National Eisteddfod of Wales. The 1985 event is listed as having been in Rhyl.
This modest paperweight is a reminder that - not for first time - it was actually in Rhuddlan at The Showfield aka Brookes' Field, south of the Rhyl town boundary.
Y Rhyl a'r Cyffiniau = Rhyl and surrounding area.

Below: Despite the black-and-white format, this image of The Parish Church of St. Mary, Rhuddlan, is probably less than 20 years old. The church was founded way back in the 13th century, i.e. 500-600 years before the town of Rhyl was invented.

Doan forget, Rhuddlan Local History Society has its own website:


Sunday, 15 October 2017


Here is a rare set of advertisements from a 1938 housing brochure, sent in by ex-Rhylite Robert Jones of Dyserth.
Thanks, Robert!

Click on any part to see a bigger version.

In the above the "five up-to-date Picture Houses" would be Plaza, Regal and Odeon - all built in the 1930s in High Street - and the older Cinema Royal also in High Street but this had probably closed down by the time the brochure was circulated; the fifth would be Queens Theatre which showed cinema films off-season.

Burns Drive

Click on any part to see a bigger version.


This last one is a reminder that Rhyl Urban District Council ran the gas supply and other utilities before World War 2.

Price guide: £1,000 in 1938 would be about £60,000 in today's money. Not much for a new house!

The following references are added here for indexing purposes:
Botanical Gardens, Halifax Building Society, Harold Smith accountant agent, Burns Drive, Kinard Park Estate (2 refs), London and Lancashire Insurance Company Ltd, Tom Edwards insurance, Barnett & Soans of Prestatyn, Griffiths Farm Tre-Llewelyn Trellewelyn, Astons Furniture.



Above: In the late 1940s this family appeared in a one-off Sunday show at Queens Theatre, Rhyl. The little girl became a big international star.
The question: What is her name?

Below: In the late 1950s this popular singer topped the bill in a Sunday show at the Queens.
The question: What is her name?

No need to send me an email - just check your answers against mine on Sunday 22nd October 2017 after 12 noon.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017


Rhyl town centre changes so often that a stroll round at any time of year reveals something new or new-ish. The photos in this post were taken yesterday, Monday 9th October 2017 by Yours Truly.

Above is corner of Wellington Road & High Street which not long ago was home to Boomers toys and gifts and way back in time the Mostyn Hotel. Now we have 'Golden Razor' offering haircut, shave and additional hair- removing treatments.

I was sorry to see the closure of Oldhams Bakery in Wellington Road opposite the ex-Post Office, and pleased to see the worthy replacement - Sandbank Bakery's shop in Russell Road opposite Liffy's:

Now, to your right of legendary Jay's Cafe/restaurant in Market Street is Clwyd Bakeries. My pal Jill and I liked this clean and tidy place and added it to our list of approved Rhyl snack bars:

Aquarius, Jay's Cafe

At 11 Bodfor Street, sandwiched (sorry!) between The Bodfor pub on your left and Cash Converters on your right, is Courden's Coffee House & Bistro. Not tried yet.

The following shot was taken while standing in Sussex Street and looking through the gap between George Hotel & Baptist Church. Demolition of buildings on northeast side of Queen Street affords a dramatic view of the Skytower, at least temporarily.

On northwest side of Queen Street, in the building known for decades as Adelphi Fish Restaurant and recently as Chilli Pink, there now stands Jafflong Spice. Restaurants of the name Jafflong are invariably Indian.

On corner of Water Street and West Parade, on the site of the demolished Honey Club, the Brewer's Fayre pub restaurant and Premier Inn hotel are at long last taking shape opposite the Skytower:

The following names are added here for indexing purposes:
Office2Home stationery, Portal Entertainment games, Grade 1 Barbers, Aquarius Market Street.

Colin Jones / email:

Don't forget my YouTube channel featuring Rhyl videos and slideshows. The channel is named RhylTime. Click here to see RhylTime's Top Ten:

Only YouTube items labelled RhylTime are mine.


Sunday, 8 October 2017


Marcus Laurence Elwin "Mark" Oliphant

If I had asked, What is the connection between Rhyl and Hiroshima? you might have sent a sarcastic reply – but a link has been established by journalist/author Andrew Ramsay of Adelaide, South Australia. This morning I received an email from Andrew saying:

“I am currently in the UK . . . conducting research into an historic biography I have been commissioned to write on Sir Mark Oliphant, an eminent Australian nuclear physicist who was integrally involved in the development of the atomic bomb while he was working at Cambridge and Birmingham Universities from 1928-1950.

“My interest in Rhyl stems from the discovery that Sir Mark (then Professor Oliphant) was on holiday in Rhyl with his wife and two young children on the day that he learned the bomb he had helped to develop was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

“. . . I am very keen to gain an historical snapshot of what daily life in Rhyl might have looked like at that time (August 6, 1945)."

My reply was as follows:

Rhyl is generally busy in August, and in 1945 the Queens entertainment complex in West Parade was fully operational with dancing nightly at the Queens Ballroom on the ground floor and variety shows at the Queens Theatre on the first floor.
At Rhyl Pavilion (a big domed building on the promenade) the Manchester Repertory Company, which had been resident there during most of the war years, presented a play every week. The Pavilion had Sunday concerts by visiting orchestras (dance bands).
At the open air Coliseum theatre on the prom there was a show titled Stars In The Air by the resident Will Parkin troupe featuring Frank Formby (George's brother). At the Pier Amphitheatre there was a regular concert party, Billie Manders - a female impersonator - and his Quaintesques.
On the prom near the pier the Open Air Bathing Pool ('The Baths') presented swimming displays by Miss Sunny Lowry the English Channel swimmer.

Wartime canteens were still open and there would have been plenty of 'squaddies' around because the Army's base at nearby Kinmel Park Camp was still training young soldiers. Among the public there must have been a certain amount of euphoria at the end of the war in Europe and a huge sense of relief.
Here in Rhyl we had the usual victory parties and 'Welcome Home' parties for military personnel returning from overseas. The local business community continued to hold fundraising events to help alleviate severe cases of hardship but - generally speaking - Rhyl had a good war. The Army and/or Civil Service had requisitioned lots of hotels and boarding houses and many businesses such as garages and workshops, and the Government had paid all the bills.
The future for businesses looked considerably less certain. So underneath the veneer of celebration and fun there was an undercurrent of unease and a creeping awareness that the war had changed everything.

While Andrew Ramsay carries on researching for his book, you would find some basic information about Mark Oliphant in Wikipedia:


Saturday, 7 October 2017


There is an argument in favour of no longer commemorating very old wars (i.e. wars beyond living memory) because it is inappropriate to celebrate mass murder and mass suicide.
The social history of wartime however remains fascinating. Here are more local military images from near or during World War 1.

B Squadron, Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry (LHRY) at Rhyl, 1908
Ferry Hotel, Kinmel Bay, in background
World War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great War
Note on rear of this says Grenadier Guards at Rhyl, 1913
Click on any image to see a bigger version.

World War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great War

World War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great War
1st Battalion, Welsh Regiment at Kinmel Park Camp
near Bodelwyddan, 1915
World War 1, World War One, First World War, The Great War
Rhyl Volunteer Training Corps, April 1916
- not Rhyl in background
Colin Jones /


Sunday, 1 October 2017


Marine Lake, Ocean Beach

On Thursday 21st September 2017 I posted this 2-page spread from Rhyl's tourist guide book 1959. The advert was out-of-date by 1959.
The question: How might you have known the advert was out of date?
The answer: Alhambra Cafe (bottom right):

The Alhambra was a concert hall/dance hall and 1,100-seater restaurant built in the 1920s, long before the Ocean Beach site became a fun fair. In the early 1950s, as the fun fair was being developed, the Alhambra was divided into two units.

By 1959 when the advert was published, the part illustrated had been renamed Playland arcade/cafe, and the part to your right of it had become Ritz Ballroom. The name Alhambra had disappeared.

Ocean Beach Fun Far

The image above appears in book 'Rhyl Music In The Ritz Years 1955-1968' by Yours Truly. It is from the Harry Thomas Archive.
Thanks, Harry!


Readers report that some images have disappeared from Rhyl Life and other Google blogspot sites, leaving empty spaces.
I believe Google employs people whose job is to change things for the sake of change and fix things that ain't broke.
Perhaps the situation will right itself in due course.

Colin Jones / email:

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