Shirley Williams – the first honorary freewoman of Rhyl

Rhyl History Club are proud to report that one of our long term members, Shirley Williams, has recently been made an Honorary  Freewoman of the town.  Shirley is only the third person to receive the prestigious award, and is the first woman.  The award has previously been given to the late Roy Turner and Peter Robinson

Shirley has a very impressive list of community activities over the years, including involvement with Rhyl Youth Club, Rhyl and District Rounders League, Rhyl and District Operatic Society and the Nancy Clarke School of Dance. Shirley has fulfilled many and various volunteer roles, too many to mention, including thirty years for the Glan Clwyd Branch of the British Heart Foundation (she is now their Vice Chair) and “front of house” at Rhyl Pavilion Theatre. She was a founder member of Clwyd Coast Credit Union.  In 2017 Shirley attended HM the Queen’s Garden Party after being nominated for her long standing charitable work by Rhyl County Court, where she still works as a Court Usher.

Rhyl History Club sends Shirley many congratulations on this thoroughly deserved award.

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Our new season

It’s that time of year again – our new season starts this coming Monday, September 10th.  We meet at Rhyl Community Fire Station on the Coast Road. The programme, which has been amended slightly since its first publication, is shown below. All welcome, for further details see our “About us” page.

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Celebrated cigarettes – made in Rhyl.

Tobacco has been around in the U.K since the sixteenth century.  Cigars were the most popular method of smoking in the 1700’s and this evolved into the cigarette by the early/mid 1800’s. Sir Richard Doll made history in the 1950’s by establishing beyond doubt that smoking caused lung cancer.  However, health risks were known long before this – the Children’s Act of 1908 banned the sale of cigarettes to children under 16 and the following article is from the Rhyl Record and Advertiser of 1909:

“Cigarette smoking is injurious in many ways.  In the first place the smoke breathed into the lungs forms a fine coating over their delicate surfaces and prevents not only the intake of oxygen but the escape of the body’s poisonous gases.  This means retention of these poisons and that is the most common cause of disease.  Retained poison in the blood means that the brain and nerves are starved and poisoned and this condition is, of course an absolute bar to clear and consecutive thinking.  The will power suffers most of all.”

Unfortunately, progress was halted when cigarettes were included in army rations during World War One which hooked a generation of men.  By 1949 81% of men and 39% of women in the U.K were smokers.  The Office for National Statistics UK reports that in 2016 15.8% of the U.K.’s population smoked (17.7% of men and 14.1% of women).
Rhyl History Club member Maggi Blythin has found this fascinating advertisement and local information:

“In the late 1800’s smoking wasn’t seen as a health hazard and around this time automated cigarette making machines came into being. Simon Eisiski lived in Rhyl during the later part of the 1800s and early 1900s. He was a Russian Jew born in 1868. He married a Jewish girl, Bertha Goldstein from Manchester in 1898, and by 1901 they were living at 76 Wellington Road with a 1 year old daughter. Simon s occupation was given as Tobacconist and, as shown above, he advertised ‘Celebrated Cigarettes’.
Eisiski became a naturalised British subject in 1904. He died in 1908
The photograph below shows Queen Street at around the time that Simon Eisiski had his shop at 30a.”
To read more about Queen Street at the end on the nineteenth century, click on “Spotlight on Queen Street”

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E.B. Jones

Rhyl History Club member Maggi Blythin has shared photographs and information about E.B. Jones’s with us – do you remember any of the shops?

E B Jones were a chain of grocery shops in North Wales.They had branches in many towns and the Head Office was in Water Street in Rhyl. This is taken from a letterhead from 1921.

 

These are some of the oldest photos showing the shops in Rhyl, Ruthin and Colwyn Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shows the RhylHigh Street branch, above which was  the Arundale Café  which was also owned by EBs:

 

These are some of the staff who worked in the Head Office in the late 40s and early 50s.

 

 

When the bigger supermarkets started to take over E B Jones started to close their shops and finally the Head Office in the 60s.
One shop in Deiniolen retained it s name and is now a coffee shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Maggi.

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Morfa Bach Chapel and a Silver Key.

We have received an enquiry from a Mr Evans via History Points. He has come across a solid silver gilt key, which reads:

“MORFA BACH CHAPEL RHYL 1st OCT 1965” on one side and “PRESENTED BY REEMA (CHESTERFIELD) Ltd.” on the other.

Does anyone know the story attached to this?  What event did it mark?  We would love to find out.  Please leave a comment below if you can help.

A few years ago Rhyl History Club member Beryl Worthington allowed us to publish her memories of Morfa Bach Chapel, to read them again click here.

 

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Rhyl bans “The Exorcist”

Who went to see “The Exorcist” in the 1970’s?  Possibly not in Rhyl ?  This interesting poster is currently for sale at Drew Pritchard‘s shop in Conwy. The controversial film, which is an adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel,  was submitted to the British Board of Film Classification in 1974.  It tells the story of a young girl possessed by a demon.  Rumour had it that it caused some people to leave the cinema, faint and even vomit.  This is from the BBFC’s website:

“in spite of its more sensationalist moments, the BBFC considered that The Exorcist was suitable for an X certificate to be issued without cuts. As the BBFC’s Secretary, Stephen Murphy, said at the time, ‘It is a powerful horror movie. Some people may dislike it, but that is not a sufficient reason for refusing certification’.”

and

“the film was a huge popular success at the box office and the public as a whole did not seem overly concerned. Despite this, a handful of local authorities bowed to the demands of pressure groups and banned the film in their areas, which only added to the reputation of the film.”

We think that the film was eventually shown in Rhyl – can our readers confirm this?

 

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