Rhyl started to grow in the early nineteenth century. Prior to this the area, known as Morfa Rhuddlan, was a marshland prone to flooding. In 1794 an Act of Parliament was passed detailing the need for “embankment” and “fencing” to protect the land from the sea and to “cut” the marsh to improve drainage.
The Marsh Embankment Trust which had been set up to carry out the work then started selling plots of land. Rhyl began to grow.
The cut in Rhyl runs from the east at the River Clwyd, across town via Vale Road and Grange Road and then out towards Prestatyn.
In 1909 Rhyl Council began legal action against local butcher E.P. Roberts, who owned land alongside the Cut, to force him to clean the channel. Magistrates agreed that the Cut should be cleaned within 21 days but said all owners of land abutting the channel were defendants in the case, not just the butcher. This meant that Mrs Rowley Conwy of Bodrhyddan Hall and the Vicar of Rhuddlan had to do their bit, as did Rhyl Council – which found itself prosecutor and defendant in the same case!
Apparently, this idea of those whose land abutted the cut having to take responsibility for it arose again in the 1950’s, when the council decided to increase the rates for those affected. It was met with vehement opposition and the idea was eventually dropped. Can any of our readers expand on this story?
In a previous post “Newspaper snippets to make you smile” we included this piece from The Manchester Guardian of July 14th, 1932:
“Rhyl has been visited by a plague of frogs, after the heavy thunderstorm. Residents in the neighbourhood of the Botanical Gardens were surprised yesterday morning to see a ‘procession’ of thousands of frogs moving in the direction of the Rhyl Cut, a stream to the east of the town”
Many Rhylites have happy memories of playing in the cut as children. We fished for sticklebacks, collected tadpoles, tickled eels, observed newts, made dens and often fell in. Those seeking short cuts across town would often take the precarious route over one of the many pipes that intersect it. The daring would traverse the pipe like a tightrope walker, the more cautious would straddle it and pull themselves along.
The cut has an affectionate place in the psyche of many Rhyl people – we’d love to hear your memories of the cut.
History Points,which have QR codes across Rhyl, also features the cut – for those unable to scan the codes, browse the website to learn more about the history of Wales.