Category Archives: 1950’s

The lights go on at Belle Vue

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9,000 spectators poured into Belle Vue for its first floodlit match on the very chilly evening of Monday, October 31st, 1955.

The crowd was entertained prior to the 6pm kick off by Rhyl Silver Band, conducted by Reg Little, and accompanied community singing.

The floodlighting of Belle Vue was the brainchild of a former manager of Rhyl F.C., Mr Ernie Jones, and Chairman of the Club Mr Arthur Barritt.  The cost was a very reasonable £500, the amount having been kept down by the contribution of much voluntary work.  In the souvenir programme Ernie Jones offered thanks to the following :  Mr Roy Stubbs, Mr George Ricketts, Mr Spencer Evans, Mr George Jones, Mr Tom Roberts, Mr Eric Davies, Mr Brian Baxter, Mr Gwynne Jones and Mr Dewi Wynne.  Mr Jones added “without their advice and assistance the scheme would never have come into being”.

This blog has previously looked into floodlighting at Rhyl football matches, “Football by the Electric Light” to read again, click here

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It was quite a line up for this inaugural floodlit match.  The game was between Rhyl and Bolton Wanderers. Among the Bolton players were the England internationals Nat Lofthouse and Malcolm Barrass.  Rhyl’s eleven included guest players Jack Kelsey (Wales and Arsenal), Ray Lambert (Wales and Liverpool), John Charles (Wales and Leeds Utd.), Trevor Ford (Wales and Cardiff City) and Billy Liddell (Scotland and Liverpool).  The programme indicated that Tom Finney (England and Preston N.E.) and Billy Wright (England and Wolves) would also appear for Rhyl.  Unfortunately this was not be, as they were both in the England team due to play Ireland at Wembley two days later.  However, this gave Mr Brian Gough Roberts and Ireland international Billy Hughes the opportunity to play.

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The Rhyl Journal reported the match with the headlines “The lights go up on ‘Wembley of the Coast'”, “Full house for first floodlit match at Belle Vue” and “Bolton and guest internationals provide soccer feast”.  The score was not actually recorded in the report, as such, but this non footballing blogger thinks it ended 3-1 to Bolton.  Lofthouse scored two and Barrass scored a penalty in the first half, in the second half John Charles replied for Rhyl scoring “a beautiful goal”.

The Bolton team and several of the visiting players were guests of Rhyl F.C. at the Marine Hydro on Monday night.

Many thanks to Jane Barrett for sending us the souvenir programme, which belonged to her late great uncle Mr George Jones of Meliden.

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Filed under 1950's, Sport

Goldilocks – Christmas 1959

There was plenty going on in Rhyl during the Christmas period of 1959.  The front pages of the December issues of the Rhyl Journal and Advertiser had advertisements for a wide array of entertainment.  The Ritz Ballroom was advertising dances on Christmas Eve, Boxing Night and New Year’s Eve.  At the Regent Ballroom there was “Merry Xmas Dancing” – a Grand Xmas Eve Carnival, a Grand Boxing Night Carnival and a New Year’s Eve Carnival Ball.  The Pavilion featured too – the Flint and Denbigh Hunt Supporters’ Dance was advertised for December 4th and Rhyl Rugby Club promoted their New Year’s Eve Annual Carnival Ball.  If dancing wasn’t your thing there were advertisements for the many cinemas in the vicinity: the Plaza, the Regal and the Odeon in Rhyl, the Palladium and Scala in Prestatyn  and the Luxor in Abergele.

The front pages of the Journal throughout December featured advertisements for the Rhyl Children’s Theatre Club’s fourteenth production  – “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to be held at the Queen’s Theatre.  It ran from December 26th until January 2nd, twice daily.



GoldilocksLadies and Gentlemen of the Chorus

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There was a report of the show in the Journal of January 7th 1960 under the headline

“Rhyl’s Own Pantomime”

“Happier Spirit than Ever” – CTC Producer

“After the fall of the final curtain on the Rhyl Children’s Theatre Club’s Christmas  pantomime, ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ at the Queen’s Theatre, Rhyl on Saturday night, the producer Mr Joseph Holroyd, stepped forward to the front of the stage to express thanks on behalf of all taking part for the wonderful support they had received.  He voiced particular thanks to Rhyl Entertainments Ltd and the staff of the Queen’s Theatre for the help they had given in so many ways.”

The Club had put on fourteen performances in front of splendid audiences.  Mr Holroyd finished, amid applause, by saying that the Pantomime for the following Christmas, 1960, would be “Aladdin”.



Filed under 1950's, Clubs/Societies, Entertainment

Ysgol Llywelyn 1953

Alan Pennington has kindly sent this wonderful photograph of a fancy dress competition at Ysgol Llywelyn.  It was taken 60 years ago, in 1953, to mark the Queen’s Coronation.

Alan is the clown holding the book, which he says “was a special prize given by Prince Cox himself who judged the entries.  It was he who put on the circuses at the Pavilion of blessed memory”.

Coronation fancy dress resized

Thank you Alan.

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Filed under 1950's

Your holiday in Rhyl, 1955.

The creators of the Rhyl Tourist Guide for 1955 came up with the great idea of featuring a real family in their brochure, describing how they spent their holiday in Rhyl.  Apparently many people applied to be the “Ideal Family” featured in the brochure but a Liverpool family was selected and was featured, complete with photographs.

“Dublin born John Reilly* (40), more than 6 ft. tall, a stonemason.  He has worked in cathedrals all over the country.  He was a “Redcap” during the war.  Molly Reilly, born in North Wales thirty four years ago.  Blonde and smiling, worked in an income tax office.  Maureen (11), tall and healthy, with the Grammar School Entrance examination very much in her life at the moment.  Michael (7), the imp of the family, full of fun and a real “lad”.  Geraldine (5), with her pretty face and fair hair she makes friends wherever she goes.  A typical happy British family, so let’s see how they spent a holiday in Rhyl.


A stroll along the promenade is the usual order after settling in.  This particular Saturday was not a bright day so Father decided the family on the Pavilion Circus.  What a splendid show for the kiddies.  Clowns, acrobats, animal acts, jugglers, in fact everything we expect in a good circus show.  Afterwards the Clowns and the Circusettes thrilled the kiddies by coming round to meet them personally.  Back to the hotel for a really good meal at five o’clock and then a pleasant stroll in the setting sun, then with sandwiches and milk for the kiddies, tea for Mother and away to comfortable beds.


Sunday was a glorious day and soon after a good breakfast the family made for the beach.  The sea was lovely and warm, and so inviting that both Mother and Dad had to join in with the kiddies in a paddle.  Everyone’s so friendly at Rhyl, little Geraldine soon found a pal to help in searching out the treasure in the sands.  In the afternoon, Maureen and Michael wanted to explore the attractions on the Promenade, so Mr and Mrs Reilly settled down in a comfy deckchair while the youngsters took a trip in a paddle boat on the Pool by the Pier and had a lovely ride around the Children’s Cycle Track.  Here tricycles and bicycles are supplied and there is no danger of being run down by a car.  Later, they all had fun in the Children’s Paddling Pool on the West Parade, sailing boats and getting themselves thoroughly wet.

paddling pool

Another fine day on Monday and a visit to the Beach for a few more sand castles.  But plans must be made for evening entertainment because the Rhyl Shows are so popular that it is wise to book.  While the children enjoy a paddle, Mum and Dad walk along to book seats at the Amphitheatre, then have a stroll along the Pier with its magnificent views  of the Beach and the Welsh Mountains behind.  Finally, a visit to the Punch and Judy Show, where even Father saw something new and original to laugh about.  For a change, in the afternoon, it was decided to take a walk up to the Botanical Gardens along the Grange Road.  What beautiful flowers there are and what delightful walks and quiet sheltered gardens.  Mr and Mrs Reilly are enjoying a stroll through this vast rose covered archway, while the kiddies work off a bit of surplus energy in the children’s playground alongside.  Bowls, Tennis and Putting are all available in the Botanical Gardens.  Dad and Michael had a pleasant hour on the Putting Green while the girls visited the Aquarium and Conservatory.  After a cup of tea in the Gardens Cafe, from which they could watch the Bowls and the Tennis, back to the Hotel for a wash and brush up and the evening meal.  With plenty of time to spare, it was pleasant to stroll down to the Amphitheatre for 7.30pm.  The Quaintesques are a happy party, just the show for a family to see.  Plenty of comedy, dancing, singing and music.  Maureen, lucky girl, won a teapot at competition time.


Tuesday was not quite so promising so the Water Show, at the Bathing Pool, was Father’s idea because, after all, if it’s wet there’s plenty of covered seating, and if it’s fine the children can bathe even while the show is on.  Comedy and acrobatic diving and many dainty swimming numbers by the Phantasettes, make up an excellent morning’s entertainment.  After lunch, and do not a minute too soon for the kiddies there was a visit to the Marine Lake Amusement Park.  Phew!  Some place for thrills!  They had a wonderful time.  The Rhyl Express is one of the nicest miniature railway trips in the country.  It goes the whole way around the vast Marine Lake.  Charlie Chester had heard of the Ideal Family and came out specially to meet Geraldine when they visited the Queen’s Theatre that evening – first house, so that the children could have an early night.  They did not go to sleep very early though, they were still laughing at the antics of Charlie Chester and his Show.

Wednesday morning’s weather was nice enough to tempt the family to a sea trip and view Rhyl from the sea.  It was very enjoyable – the air was so fresh and there was still time to walk to the Garden of Remembrance and afterwards try out those unique, and oh! so comfortable, Continental basket chairs.  Warm weather indicated an outdoor evening and so the Pavilion Gardens Skating Rink saw our Family vainly trying to keep their feet amongst other skaters on the Rink during the public skating session.  Both Dad and Mum found friends to keep them afloat.  It was Mum’s first experience of skating and she enjoyed it thoroughly.  Later during the evening there were skating exhibitions, roller hockey and lots of comedy to end a very pleasant evening at about 9pm.


On Thursday it was an early start as the whole day was to be spent discovering the beauty spots of Wales.  There’s a wonderful stretch of wild mountain scenery within easy reach of Rhyl – Swallow Falls, Llyn Ogwen, Llanberis Pass, Snowdon and A host of other picturesque scenes.  Whether you go by rail, car or motor coach no one can afford to miss this beautiful country.  In the evening, after a very full day out, Maureen took the other children to bed whist Father and Mother had a quiet hour in one of Rhyl’s attractive Hotel Lounges and then on to join with the many hundreds od other young folk in dancing to the music of a famous Dance Band.  Mum loves dancing, Dad’s not quite so keen, but everyone was so friendly that even he had a go at be-bop before the night was over.

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Like every other family on holiday Friday was shopping day, of course.  Presents must be bought for Grandma and all the other people left at home.  In Rhyl’s shopping centres they found plenty to choose from at a reasonable price.  In facy it was difficult to decide what not to buy.  The Coliseum Fresh Air Theatre was on the programme for the evening.  It wasn’t really warm, but the theatre is so sheltered that one could almost have been under cover.  Will Parkin always puts on a good show here, and this year’s was no exception.  As Friday night was the last night of the Holiday the children, as a special treat, stayed up to see the illuminations.  They were thrilled to see all the little incandescent frogs, ducks, butterflies and funny little men amongst the rocks and gardens of the East Parade.  They are still talking about the set pieces showing fairy tales and nursery rhymes in coloured lighting.  The Pavilion Dome with its ever changing colours so fascinated them that they had to find out how it all worked.  Strip lighting along the full length of the promenade completes a magnificent display.

Saturday comes and like all  things the holiday draws to an end, but after packing there was still time to have a run round to make sure that nothing had been missed.  O dash, there’s that nice putting green green on the East Parade where we promised we’d have a game.  There’s the Bowling Greens on the Promenade, too.  We didn’t walk along the new Promenade to watch play on the Rhyl Golf course.

So we close our story of the Ideal Family Holiday, typical of the Holiday that you and your family can spend here.

You too can feel rejuvenated is you will take a week or a fortnight at Rhyl.  Turn now to the Entertainments we plan for 1955 and to the Hotel and Boarding House Advertisements.  Choose your accommodation from the many types offered.  If we can help you at the Publicity Office, we will do so with pleasure”

*names have been changed


Filed under 1950's, Tourism

Rhyl F.C. – top of the league!

The report in this week’s Rhyl Journal describes how Rhyl Football Club are hoping to roll back the years with a new museum celebrating the team’s illustrious past.

It would surely take a whole volume of books to do justice to Rhyl Football Club’s proud history, but here is a little snapshot from October 1951 when the headlines in the Rhyl Journal and Advertiser on the 4th read:



“The Lilywhites are there again – proud leaders of the Cheshire League!  Witton, who had not fallen at Belle Vue sinceseason 1948/9 were well beaten last Saturday, Rhyl being much superior than the final score of 2-1 in their favour suggests.”

Amongst the teams below Rhyl in the league were Witton Albion, Tranmere Rovers, Crewe Alexandra, Bangor, Wrexham and Chester.

“Before the start of the Rhyl – Witton Albion game at Rhyl on Saturday, Mr Glyn Roberts, a director of the club, in his capacity as chairman of Rhyl F.C. Supporters’ Social Club, handed over a cheque for £200 to Mr Tom Cookson, chairman of Rhyl F.C.  The money is yet another contribution from the Social Club, to the football club towards maintaining a first class team in Rhyl.

Thanking Mr. Roberts and the Supporters Social Club, Mr Cookson said he hoped their endeavours would go from strength to strength during the season.”

Photograph shows: 3rd from left, Lewis Edwards, 4th from left receiving the cheque is Tommy Cookson from Glyn Roberts.  5th from left and standing next to Mr Cookson is Herbie Evans.  Frank Beech is to the right of Mr Roberts.  Can anyone name the other men?


Filed under 1950's, Clubs/Societies, Sport

Clwyd Street School 1955

Another gem from Graham Evans.  This is a Clwyd Street School class photograph from 1955, possibly of Std. 5.  We look forward to more information via your “comments”.  Click on the photo to enlarge.


Filed under 1950's, Memories, People