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!


Saturday, 30 September 2017


Rhyl multiview postcard - probably 1960s

During September 2017 the following old posts were updated:

Bodrhyddan Hall -

Derbyshire Miners’ holiday camp -

HMS Rhyl / a dredger named RHYL -

Men’s Convalescent Home -

North Wales Police -

Sands / Pier -

WW1 Church Lads’ Brigade -

WW2 ARP wardens -

Rhyl multiview card - postmarked 1958

Tuesday, 26 September 2017


A surprisingly large amount of info and pix received here at Jones Towers is not about Rhyl but about towns and villages nearby.


Above: Bodfari railway station (opened in 1869). This shot dates from 1961, a year before the station closed down and is taken looking westwards towards Denbigh. Station buildings on your right were on the Chester bound platform. Last I heard the station was a private residence.

Below: An old image of  the present Tafarn Yr Heliwr/Sportsman's Arms on Denbigh Moors. The pub is in Bylchau near Denbigh or Llansannan according to whose directions you take. "You can't miss it," I suppose.


Above: A lofty view of part of Dyserth village on a card postmarked 1937.

Below: In Dyserth Parish Church aka St. Bridget's Church  the 15th century Jesse Window photographed circa 1930.


Above: Found in a batch of Prestatyn pictures, an image captioned Old Pigeon House, Talacre. I'm glad about the caption, otherwise I wouldn't have known what the hell it was.

Below: Fforddlas in Prestatyn. What shall we say – 1950s?  Fforddlas in Prestatyn is one word whereas Ffordd Las in Rhyl is two words often written mistakenly as one.


Above: Multiview card of Towyn near Abergele, postmarked 1955. The church bottom right is (Grade II listed) St. Mary's consecrated in 1873.

Below: This is a memorial at St. Michael's Church, 1 Peel Street, Abergele. The inscription reads: "Sacred to the memory of 33 persons who names are inscribed on this monument. They perished in the railway accident near Abergele on the 20th of August 1868 and their remains are deposited within this enclosure."
Click on the image to see bigger version.

The family names are (top to bottom left):- Farnham, Chinnery, Berwick, Aylmer, Franks, Askin, Cripps, Edwards, Farrell, Holmes;
(top to bottom right):- Ingram, Kellett, Lea, Lund, Owen, Outen, Parkinson, Roe, Scovell, Smith, Stearn, Strafford, Symes.

For details of the accident see Wikipedia:


Recently I've had meetings with film maker Mike Theaker who is planning a new Rhyl project. Mike has co-produced the most popular video on my YouTube channel where it is titled Rhyl 1960s: A Tale Of Two Seasons

Only the videos marked RhylTime are mine!

Colin Jones / email:


Thursday, 21 September 2017


The above appeared as a 2-page spread in Rhyl's tourist guide book 1959. The advert was out-of-date by then.
The question: How might you have known the advert was out of date?

Click on the image to see a bigger version.

No need to send me an email - just check your answers against mine on Sunday 1st October 2017 after 12 noon.


Recently a row broke out between Welsh Assembly member Neil McEvoy and his Plaid Cymru colleagues over the question of whether tenants of social housing properties (council and housing association) should be allowed - under certain conditions - to buy their homes as is the case in England.

Mr. McEvoy believes that tenants should have that right, but Plaid is ganging up with the Labour Party to bring an end to the right to buy in Wales because it reduces the social housing stock.
[Reducing would be welcome in places such as Rhyl West where we have too many Pennaf/Clwyd Alyn Housing Association properties.]

Private landlords can pitch their properties down or up market according to demand, but General Purposes social housing remains only for the comparatively deprived. Therefore it keeps poorer communities from being anything other than poor.
[That suits the Labour Party because tenants of social housing, if they vote at all, are most likely to vote Labour.]

I have been the tenant of a Pennaf/Clwyd Alyn Housing Association flat for 16 years and would not wish to own it under any circumstances - wouldn't even want it as a gift - but I don’t believe there should be a law to prevent others from buying theirs.

Those of us in Wales who voted to have our own government did not expect that twenty years later we would have one ready to pass a law that left us with fewer legal rights than people who happen to live in England.
Welsh Assembly members need to tread carefully here.


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.