Sunday, 28 February 2016

EUROPEAN UPDATE


Some anti-EU commentators are obviously not serious.

A few days ago the senior Tory Lord Michael Howard, whom I met many years ago in South Wales and never liked, let the cat out of the bag by saying that we ought to vote to leave in order to stay in.

The idea is to drum up a majority in favour of leaving and then use the voting figures as a lever to negotiate a more satisfactory EU deal than Prime Minister David Cameron was able to obtain.

A pact is being brokered between the EU and USA which would create the biggest free trade zone in the history of the world. Does Little Britain really want to be left out? I don't think so.

Perhaps the EU should call our bluff and say, "Go on then leave."

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Before the EU referendum takes place in June this year we have the National Assembly for Wales election on Thursday 5 May 2016. 

Llywodraeth Cymru aka Welsh Government deals with education, housing, transport and even runs the NHS in Wales. It matters!

Labour Party I regard as a millstone round the neck of Wales preventing us from modernising properly; Conservative Party does not seem to know whether it is coming or going over Europe. Other parties hold no appeal for this blogger except Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru is the only political party based entirely in Wales. It aims to represent all who live here regardless of their origins, and it is pro-EU.

In Vale of Clwyd (Rhyl & Prestatyn to Denbigh) our local candidate is Mair Rowlands and, even though Plaid has no history of winning around here, Mair will get my vote in this context.

Vale of Clwyd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mair-Rowlands-Plaid-Cymru-284134358444622/

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QUIZ QUESTION # 129


Above is a distorted image from a 1960s photo of a Rhyl building.
The question: What is the name of the building?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

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In Edwardian times in Rhyl we had Olympian Gardens.
The question: Where?
East Parade, West Parade, High Street, Wellington Rd or Vale Rd?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

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You have until the end of Sat 5th March 2016 to send your entry. Second tries not accepted. The result will be published on Sun 6th March 2016 around Midday.


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

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QUIZ ANSWER # 128


Last Sunday I posted the above photo taken last year by Yours Truly. On the blanked-out sign are nine words including two place names.
The question: What are the two place names?
The answer: Eversley Close & Cambrian Walk.
Eversley Close [yn arwain i / leading to] Cambrian Walk.

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Also I posted a photo taken this year by Fred Burns. On a blanked-out sign was a place name. The question: What is the place name?
The answer: Ronaldsway.
Usually this is written as one word like Ronaldsway airport, Isle of Man. The sign writer wasn't sure:

Ronaldsway

Scoring 1 win for each correct answer: Jane Shuttle 2, Sue Handley 2, Richard & Ceri Swinney 2, and The Great Gareth 2.

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Thursday, 25 February 2016

WESTBOURNE CAFE



George Owen MBE has 'chipped in' with this unusual item relating to the public auction in August 1946 of Westbourne Café on corner of Wellington Road and Westbourne Avenue, Rhyl.

It was a fish & chips eatery with ice cream kiosk outside - a popular place only a few yards from the entrance to Marine Lake Fun Fair. The auction included two houses round the corner, Nos. 2 and 4 Westbourne Avenue under same ownership as the cafe.

[In the background of the photo above are the gas works that stood where Aldi supermarket is now. These days there are shops on that corner with The Rhyl Bistro modern continental cooking upstairs.]

Here are further details from the 1946 auction brochure.
Click on any part to see a bigger version.




George says:
"In 1946-48 I lived with my parents, brother and sister in a flat over what was then known as the Donald Duck Cafe on the corner of Sandringham Avenue, almost opposite the Westbourne Café. Aged seven or eight, my Mum often sent me with a large enamel bowl to get six penny worth of chips which would be enough for the five of us. 

"The end of the war meant plenty of trade from the post-war holiday makers who flocked to Rhyl in the summer months and filled up the many busy guest houses in Rhyl West. Only a couple of years later, aged 10, along with a bunch of other schoolboy entrepreneurs, I used to stand outside Rhyl Railway Station with a purpose-built wooden truck my Dad had made (some less fortunate lads used old prams).

"In those days families came on holiday by train, which were frequent on a Saturday, and we would tout to carry the holidaymakers suitcases to the guest houses. "Can I carry your cases Mister!” would be the cry. At half-a-crown a trip it could be quite lucrative."

So, eight trips would net those boys £1 which was not to be sneezed at in the 1950s. £1 then would be worth more than £20 today.

Thanks George. Thought-provoking stuff!

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The following references are added here for indexing purposes: C Wesley Haslam auctioneers, Edward Hughes solicitor, Harold Smith accountants.

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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

HMS RHYL # 9


Recently to hand came this trio of unusual close-up photos of HMS Rhyl (F129). They were taken in 1964 at Portsmouth:




HMS Rhyl was a Rothesay class anti-submarine frigate of the Royal Navy built at Portsmouth, launched 1959, in service until 1983, and sunk for target practice in 1985.

For further notes and list of commanding officers see Wikipedia:

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Sunday, 21 February 2016

QUIZ QUESTION # 128


Above is a photo taken last year. On the blanked-out sign are nine words including two place names.
The question: What are the two place names?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

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Below is a photo taken this year. On the blanked-out sign is a place name:


The question: What is the place name?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

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You have until the end of Sat 27th February 2016 to send your entry. Second tries not accepted. The result will be published on Sun 28th February 2016 around Midday.

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


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QUIZ ANSWER # 127


 

Last Sunday I posted this drawing of Rhyl Pavilion by J.A. Elliott-Jones. It looks as if it dates from early days of the Pavilion, possibly before World War 1. The question: Was the artist facing north, east, south or west?
The answer: North.
The drawing shows the front of the Pavilion which, strangely enough, was illustrated less often than views from the sides.

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Also I posted the drawing below of a scene near Foryd Harbour by J.A. Elliott-Jones.
Click on it to see a bigger version.


The question: Was the artist facing north, east, south or west?

The answer: South or East.
Either answer was acceptable. To view those buildings including the Packet Inn at the junction of West Parade and Quay Street, from across the estuary, you would be facing South East.

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Scoring 1 win for the Pavilion and/or 1 win for the other answer: Dilys Bagnall 1, The Great Gareth 2, Jane Shuttle 2, Sue Handley 2.

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For 'artist'  read 'original artist or photographer'. Thanks to Sue Handley and Bill Ellis (both alumni of Glyndwr School, Rhyl) I can report that in late 1950s/ early '60s Mr. Elliott-Jones was an art teacher there. So he was copying from old pictures and could have been facing in any direction!

Mr. Elliott-Jones self-published some drawings including the two above and some are on display in the permanent collection of the museum at Rhyl Library.

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Thursday, 18 February 2016

TOPPING UP THE LAKE


Rhyl's Marine Lake opened in 1895 having been created artificially as an ornamental boating lake. In this blog much has been said already about the site, its fun fair and miniature railway, but the images in this post have not appeared here before.

Above is a card posted 1908. Pictured would be the east shore (nearest to town) where most activity has taken place because of the wider space. In the background are hints of Westbourne Avenue.

Click on any image to see a bigger version.

Below is a card postmarked 1907. At a very early stage swimming had been introduced on the south shore. The water was muddy!

Bathing pontoon

The most enduring aspect of the lake is its miniature steam railway based in the north east corner. The following card is likely to be circa 1912:


Marine Lake Fun Fair was Rhyl's first permanent fairground and it drew big crowds between the two world wars:



Here are a couple of my favourites from later times. The first features the Marine Lake train Joan against  a backdrop of Ocean Beach Fun Fair: 


And here are the pedal boats called Splash-Cats on a card postmarked 1976 when the new Rhuddlan Borough Council were making a serious attempt to breathe new life into the place:

Splash-Cats

The trouble with water is that it looks inhospitable on cold dark days. The final shot was taken on Ist January 2016 by Fred Burns with your intrepid blogger in attendance:


For a long time the site has been little more than a mildly-interesting dog toilet, and maintenance by council is expensive, so the challenge must be how to make it more cost effective.

Rhyl people would not be short of ideas if anybody bothered to ask.

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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

FLASHBACK #16


In this blog there is mention of the Coliseum on western promenade being established in 1921 as an open air theatre. It was owned by the council and leased out to 'concert parties' of singers, musicians, dancers and comedians .

One of the earliest, if not the first, leaseholder was Billy Churchill whose show Uncle Billy’s Jolly Boys could not have been there more than half a dozen years but made quite an impact because long after the troupe had gone the public were still referring to the Coliseum as “the Jolly Boys”.

The longest lessee was Will Parkin who took over the theatre in 1927. He inherited Mr. Churchill’s mantle of Uncle Billy, and presented professional shows there until the 1950s.

In Bill Ellis’ book 'Entertainment In Rhyl And North Wales' (published 1997) you would find an entire chapter about Will Parkin. Since then - nearly 20 years - I have been looking for a Parkin picture that Bill had not included, and here it is:

Optimists

Click on the picture to see a bigger version.

This pic is from the late 1920s when the troupe was called The Optimists; Mr. Parkin is the one sitting on a surreal animal. By early 1930s, a time of economic depression in UK, they were called The Super-Optimists!

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

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

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Sunday, 14 February 2016

QUIZ QUESTION # 127


 

Above is a drawing of Rhyl Pavilion by J.A. Elliott-Jones which looks as if it dates from early days of the Pavilion, possibly pre-World War 1.
The question: Was the artist facing north, east, south or west?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

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And here is a drawing of a scene near Foryd Harbour by J.A. Elliott-Jones.
Click on it to see a bigger version.


The question: Was the artist facing north, east, south or west?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

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You have until the end of Sat 20th February 2016 to send your entry. Second tries not accepted. The result will be published on Sun 21st February 2016 around Midday.

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

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QUIZ ANSWER # 126

 

Last Sunday I posted this photo taken on New Year's Day 2016 in Rhyl by Fred Burns. Hidden behind the big bush is a place name. The question: What is the place name?
The answer: Cramer Court.

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Also I posted a cutting from a pre-World War 1 publication, an advert for Vaughan's chemist, with the phrase 1, Vaughan Street removed. The question: What is located there now?
The answer: RSPCA Animal Welfare Clinic.

Here is the advert in full supplied by Dave Williams – thanks, Dave!


The advert says Corner of Abbey Street. The shop is not on the corner of Abbey Street but there was commercial value in saying so because Abbey Street was a busy shopping street with a lot of footfall.

Here is the corner photographed on a dull day last week by Yours Truly:

Bedford Street, Vaughan Street

On your left of RSPCA is Fred Burns' photographic studio (formerly Phoenix photographic studio) in Bedford St and on your right - behind playground - is Bromleys upholsterers in Vaughan St.

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Scoring 1 win for Cramer Court and/or 1 win for RSPCA: Dilys Bagnall 1, Jane Shuttle 1, Sue Handley 2, The Great Gareth 2.

Gareth wonders if there was a connection between E.E. Vaughan chemist and the name Vaughan Street.  Possibly In 1880s one of the Rhyl commissioners (forerunners of councillors) was Edward Vaughan who could have been a chemist and may have had the street named after him.

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HALL OF SHAME

Last year in North Wales a large number of food outlets were checked for food hygiene and rated on a scale of 0-5 with 5 representing the best.

The following Rhyl businesses managed to score only 1:

Brothers Cafe Takeaway, 13 Kinmel Street;
Nash Care Home, 10-12 Churton Road;
Premier Convenience Stores, 135 Wellington Road;
Seagull International Foods, 32-36 Bedford Street.

Hospital patients and visitors should note that the voluntary group League of Friends at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan, scored only 1.

See Daily Post for more details of the survey:

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Thursday, 11 February 2016

SIR DDINBYCH / DENBIGHSHIRE

Book

First of April this year marks the 20th year of Denbighshire’s administration of Rhyl. The ancient rural county and brash young seaside resort have been uneasy partners - and there seems to me to have been a mutual lack of understanding.

This book dates from 1996, the beginning of the period. It was compiled by staff at Denbighshire Record Office (Ruthin).

The book is not arranged by place names, so Rhyl photos are sprinkled among images of the county’s other towns and villages, and there is no index. Finding a picture quickly is not easy.

Rhyl seafront is well represented. Other shots are interesting; the following one of High Street viewed from Vale Road Bridge caught my eye.


It was taken on Friday 1st July 1960 when I was aged 14. Where was I? Sitting in a stuffy classroom, watching summer rain trickling down the windows, and waiting for summer break . . .

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These references are added here for indexing purposes: Alexandra Hotel pub, Worthington brewery, William Roberts shop.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

SIR Y FFLINT / FLINTSHIRE

Book

Rhyl was part of Flintshire from the very beginning of the town until the mid-1970s. This book was compiled by staff at Flintshire Record Office (Hawarden) and published in 1996.

The 10 chapter headings are: Flint, Mold, Buckley, Prestatyn, Rhyl, St. Asaph, Hawarden, Holywell, Industrial Deeside, Flintshire Villages.

The Rhyl chapter runs to 12 pages containing 20 illustrations, of which the following is my favourite.
Click on it to see a bigger version.


Pictured is White Lion Hotel in High Street, Rhyl, c.1900. The White Lion was replaced by a Crosville Bus Station (whose fuel smells linger in the memory) and then by the present Jobcentre Plus.

This book's text has inaccuracies as in the companion volume about Denbighshire, but the pictures can be enjoyed for what they are. You would find both books in local libraries.

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These references are added here for indexing purposes: T Parry publican, Roberts bakery.

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MON 20th FEB 2017 UPDATE: Just arrived here at Jones Towers is this 1903 photo of White Lion Hotel's stable and coach yard.
Seems reasonable to suppose that the yard was in what we now call St. Helens Place and that we looking towards High Street:


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Sunday, 7 February 2016

QUIZ QUESTION # 126

 

Above is a photo taken on New Year's Day 2016 in Rhyl. Hidden behind the big bush is a place name.
The question: What is the place name?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

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Below is a cutting from a pre-World War 1 publication, an advert for Vaughan's chemist, doctored by your crafty blogger: 


The question: What is located there now?
The correct answer would score 1 win.

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You have until the end of Sat 13th February 2016 to send your entry. Second tries not accepted. The result will be published on Sun 14th February 2016 around Midday.

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


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QUIZ ANSWER # 125

Rhyl, Dom Bierkeller

Last Sunday I posted this picture of a derelict bus that used to belong to Gold Star buses of St. Asaph. On the side is a Rhyl attraction advertised as The Dom Bier Keller. The question: When the bierkeller closed what replaced it?

The answer: Breaks.


In the 1970s when First Leisure Corporation were running Ocean Beach and the fun fair's satellite businesses, they had a Dolphinarium there and this was replaced by the bierkeller.

Eric Hughes, First Leisure's Director of Technical Services, takes up the story in the book Rhyl At The Fun Fair published in 2001:
"The Dom Bierkeller was a huge success but, after we experienced behavioural problems among some customers and difficulty in finding suitable entertainment, it was closed and replaced by the present Breaks Snooker Club and Sports Bar."

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Also I posted the photo below taken on New Year's Day 2016 in Rhyl by Fred Burns. A place name has been blanked out. The question: What is the missing name?


The answer: Eleri Close.

Eleri is a lovely Welsh female name of uncertain origin. Very near is Owen Close. I wonder whether Eleri & Owen are names of the builder’s children. Readers who know please tell me.

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Scoring 1 win for the bierkeller question and 1 win for Eleri Close:
The Great Gareth 2, Jane Shuttle 2.

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Writing this post brought to mind the year 2000 when I visited Eric Hughes several times at his home in Ffordd Derwen, Rhyl.

Eric told me his story of Marine Lake and Ocean Beach Fun Fairs and I wrote everything down, edited & published the manuscript in 2001 using community facilities. (Eric had been manager of both sites and therefore he was expert on the subject).

The resulting book, Rhyl At The Fun Fair by Eric Hughes, is a true classic and worth seeking out; Denbighshire libraries should have it.

Book

Eric was a nice gentleman, very kind to me in my role as a novice writer about Rhyl history. He passed away in 2011, and I miss him.

On your left at top of this page you would find BOOK LIST, an attempt to compile a complete list of books about Rhyl. If you know a book that ought to be there and isn’t, please let me know:

rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk

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Thursday, 4 February 2016

SEAFRONT WEST


The western side of the seafront, loved by generations of children, has been well featured in this blog. You would find many of its attractions categorised under labels on your left near the top of this page.


Here are a few more images, starting with the relatively uncluttered way it looked in 1960s from the junction of - probably - River Street.



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Earlier, in 1940s this was the scene near Queen Street. Robins is now Harker's Corner Cafe - and on opposite corner was Savoy Café:


Click on any image to see a bigger version.


Above: the ornamental fountain in 1930s. The fountain had been opened in 1892 with a big splash of publicity but the water had been turned off by the time this picture was taken.

The fountain was scrapped during WW2 (1939-46) to provide metal for the war effort.

Below: a picture showing the cycling and tricyling opposite the Queens is always welcome, even a badly-coloured one: 



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Here are a couple of contrasting shots of the bandstand to the east of Rhyl Pavilion, in the area that became eventually a roller skating rink. The first must have been taken during or just before WW2:


The lower picture above shows the original bandstand on the same part of the prom. The date would be circa 1901 because in the background there is work in progress on building the Queen's Palace (opened 1902).

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Who could resist this striking pic of Punch and Judy opposite West Parade instead of what became the customary position east of High Street? It is Rhyl's first P&C man, Professor Millar and his talking dolls, on a card postmarked 1905:


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SUN 14th FEB 2016 UPDATE: Here is an additional image of the cycling park (aka cycling track) in Pier Gardens (aka Queens Gardens!) on a card postmarked 1930:


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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

SEAFRONT EAST


The eastern side of the seafront, far from noisy attractions in the west, has a relaxing atmosphere preferred perhaps by older residents and visitors.

Below: Sandhills that used to be at the east end of the beach. Eventually these were removed by Flintshire council. Some observers felt sad to see this natural part of the landscape disappear.


The following snapshot of an unknown family is dated 1929 and has East Parade in the background. Love the cloche hats - I do wish they would come back into fashion!


Click on any picture to see a bigger version.

Spaces on eastern prom for exercise on bowling greens and tennis courts shown below, and there was swimming at The Baths (see under the label SWIMMING on your left near top of this page).


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This rare pre-WW2 item shows the Sportsland amusement arcade in East Parade, near to High Street. The picture came from Peter Trehearn; the arcade was run by his maternal grandfather (his mum's dad) Bernard Bestwick who also had an arcade in Barmouth.

Bernard Bestwick, Trehearn

Mr. Bestwick's other business in Rhyl included the Joyland amusement arcade in Queen Street, and silver plating factories in Bedford Street and off Vale Road. Here is a photo of him from Peter's collection:


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The postcard below shows the prom east of the pier just as I remember it as a kid in early 1950s. On your left are chalets that were for hire if you preferred a little more privacy by the seaside - and could afford it.


Below from Rhyl History Club is an image showing the Floral Hall being built at the end of the 1950s, and from my own collection a later image of the gardens outside what was - by then - the Royal Floral Hall.


These postcards of the Rock Gardens and hotels in East Parade including the Westminster have a 1960s/70s period charm:

rock gardens

You know I would end with a donkeys picture, didn't you?


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These references are added here for indexing purposes: Marine Drive, super speedway.

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

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.

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