Rhyl History Club recently welcomed students from Goldsmith’s University (M.A. Design Programme) who are conducting research into town redevelopment focussing specifically on Rhyl. The students visited Rhyl at the end of May and were very interested to learn something of the history of Rhyl from members of our club. They received a copy of Rhyl History Club’s Digital Archive which will assist them with their project. We all enjoyed our meeting with the students at the “Rainforest Diner” in Rhyl’s new SC2 and we look forward to being of further assistance to them with their project in the future.
In 2002 Rhyl History Club obtained a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a Digital Archive. The archive serves as a record of Rhyl’s cultural heritage.
Over 750 photographs and postcards have been scanned into the archive over the years, which otherwise could have been lost. We made CD’s of the archive and have taken it out into the community to care homes, community groups and clubs etc.
What we have never been able to do, due to the shortcomings of the software, is to share our archive online.
To read more about “The Beach Mission” click here.
The North and South Wales Bank (now the HSBC bank) is seen here on the left under construction c. 1900. It was, and still is, a magnificent building.
The bank had operated in Rhyl from February 1856 from old Bodfor House with a manager and apprentice, on the same site – the corner of Bodfor Street and Wellington Road. In 1880 the bank moved to premises in the Town Hall where they employed 10 clerks and it remained here until completion of the new building. The bank amalgamated with the Midland Bank in 1908. The base was made from locally quarried Talacre stone whilst Ruabon red bricks were used in parts of the upper stories. It boasted a very large strong room and claimed that it was thief and fire proof. When built it was ‘prepared for electricity’ awaiting its provision by the town authorities.
Thanks to Maggi Blythin for this article and photo.
The following is from “The Buildings of Wales. Clwyd (Denbighshire and Flintshire)” by Edward Hubbard (1986):
“By J.Francis Doyle of Liverpool, 1899-1901, for the North and South Wales Bank. Brick and stone, three storeys, quadrant corner with a huge shell hood and Ionic columns above.”
Click on the following link to read about Rhyl Town Hall
We have had, once again, a busy year. Interesting speakers at our monthly meetings, a trip to the Terracotta Warriors in Liverpool, a visit to the new Rhyl High School and a wonderful Christmas lunch at The Bistro on Wellington Road. Committee member Shirley Williams became a “Freewoman of Rhyl” and our programme secretary and past Chairman Rufus Adams presented a Centenary lecture “Lloyd George and the 1914-18 War”.
The website has had fewer “posts” this year but was still visited regularly. We had over 50,000 views by 12,000+ visitors from 74 countries. The U.K. topped the table with over 42,000 views, then came the U.S.A., Australia, Canada and New Zealand – we also had views from unlikely countries such as Kazakhstan, Albania and Lebanon. Our five most visited pages/posts were:
The editor’s pick for a post to revisit from over five years ago is “Football by the Electric Light”
BFI Player introduces this wonderful film of a hockey match played on Christmas Day at Rhyl in 1920 with: “Happy Festive Hockey” and the players do seem to be having lots of fun.
Click on the link to watch the film: “Christmas Sports at Rhyl, 1920”
The site goes on to explain:
“The weather seems good, with no-one shivering in their kit – though the women do wear hats. There is no Christmassy setting of snow or any other seasonal prop in evidence at this hockey match for ‘mixed ladies and gentlemen’, where banter and banjo-mimicking seems to engage both sides’ participants as much as bully-off and dab-hand dribbling. Meeting, not beating, seems to be the point here.
This match took place on the site of the former Claremont Hydro hotel, along Brighton Road, Rhyl – a hydropathic hotel which had an indoor baths for relaxation and health treatment. The Claremont Hydro later became a men’s convalescent/retirement home called Y Gorlan, and the building was demolished in the early 1980s.”
The local paper reported that a hockey match was played on Grange Road between Rhyl Mixed (five ladies and six men) and Grosvenor Ladies (assisted by four men) on Christmas Day, the score was 1-1. Presumably this is the same match – take a look at the film, the Claremont Hydro (Y Gorlan) can be clearly seen and is that St. Winifred’s with the tower? Is that the railway running between the pitch and the Claremont? So is this Grange Road, where Elwy Drive is today?
When did hockey begin in Rhyl? This quote is from Hockey Wales : “The modern forms of Hockey that we know and love today really only began to grow from the English public school system of the 19th Century. The first recognised Hockey Club began in 1849 in London and it was only a matter of time until Wales became involved, with hockey introduced around the 1890s.”
Indeed, the first mention of hockey in Rhyl appears to be in The Rhyl Record and Advertiser on November 1st 1890:
“THE HOCKEY CLUB.”
“The practises of the Rhyl Hockey Club have so far been very encouraging, and it is hoped ere long to arrange a match with a Liverpool team. It is a game full of interest, and anyone can soon learn it which is certainly an advantage. I hope the tradesmen will support it, for I believe it has been formed principally to afford them recreation, and the half holiday can be pleasantly spent at the game. I invite those gentlemen interested in the game of Hockey to send in a few notes on the game each week, but they must be strictly local.”
How nice to have local sporting fixtures arranged on Christmas Day. A time when such simple things didn’t have to compete with everything that is on offer today.
Local history of interest to us all. What charming and uplifting recollections, which will bring a lump to your throat and reminds us of what Christmas should be about.
From the onset in 1848, the festive season was duly celebrated by both patients and staff at the North Wales Hospital. The senior staff decided to organise a dance during the first festive season, as detailed in the first annual report:-
“At the commencement of this year, we indulged the patients with a dance – seventy of the patients, males and females, assembled, about six o’clock in the evening, in the corridor on the female side of the house, which was decorated for the occasion with evergreens, &c. A piano forte was procured, and dancing was commenced with great spirit and was kept up till nine o’clock. During the evening the males were supplied with a moderate allowance of good ale, and the females with tea and a little negus. It was truly gratifying and affecting to witness the decorum as well as the joyous delight of these poor…
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