Category Archives: Clubs/Societies

A Christmas Day Hockey Match at Rhyl

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 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.


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Rhyl Athletic F.C. win three Cups!

The season of 1923-4 was a very successful one for Rhyl Athletic Football Club.  In terms of the Welsh League their performance was moderate only, however for the first time in its history the Club won three cups in one season.

Photograph taken at Rhyl’s Belle Vue Football Ground at the Grange Road or “popular” end.

The Vale of Clwyd League Challenge Cup was the first to be won.  The Cup and medals were won when Rhyl’s second team triumphed over Abergele by six clear goals at the final at St. Asaph.

The Welsh National League Challenge Cup was the next Cup to be won.  The senior eleven beat Druids 2-0 in the final at Llandudno.  To reach the final Rhyl had beaten Denbigh 1-0 at Rhyl, Llanberis 4-0 at Rhyl, Llandudno 2-0 at Llandudno, and Bangor 1-0 at Colwyn Bay.

The third Cup in which Rhyl were successful was the North Wales Charity Cup, previously known as the Soames Cup.  In the final Rhyl overcame a strong Shrewsbury eleven to win by four goals to two.  To reach the final Rhyl had again beaten Denbigh, Bangor and also Mold.

The Rhyl Journal of May 24th, 1924 reported that “The winning of these cups should augur well for the future of the cup, and bring more interest to the future of the club.”

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Rhyl Cycling Club Masquerade Ball and Carnival

click on image to enlarge

A cycling club in Rhyl goes back as far as 1879.  The Rhyl Advertiser reported that a meeting of “Bicyclists” was held at 8 pm on Monday, April 28th, of that year at Reynolds’ Assembly Room, where it was decided to form a club to be named “Rhyl XL Bicycle Club”.  The annual subscription was set at five shillings, and the entrance at two shillings and sixpence.  All candidates for membership were to be elected by ballot.  Reynolds Assembly Rooms were located in the building, on the corner of High Street and Brighton Road, that was occupied by the William Roberts’ shop for so many years.

The programme below is dated September 1893 and advertises the Club’s Masquerade Ball and Carnival:

images with kind permission of Rhyl Library, Museum and Arts Centre

The local newspapers were full of all the details of the ball, marvelling at the variety of the costumes worn, and describing the night as “superb” and “grand”.  Almost 50 cyclists took part in the Grand Lantern Procession.  In describing the event a journalist in the Rhyl Journal misquoted Walter Scott by saying:

“One crowded hour of glorious life
– is worth an age of common place existence”

We still love our cycling in Rhyl, click to read about Rhyl Cycling Club, and the Bike Hub, and Marsh Tracks.

Also see a previous post on “Winged Wheels

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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

Epson050 edclick on image to enlarge

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”.



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Winged Wheels

We’re straying outside Rhyl and into Rhuddlan for this week’s post.  The photographs below show two Winged Wheels in Rhuddlan – it is very unusual to see two Winged Wheels opposite one another in one place.  There are none known in Rhyl and the nearest Winged Wheels to those in Rhuddlan are in Mochdre and Corwen.







What are “Winged Wheels”?   They are artefacts from the Victorian era, more specifically from the brief period when bicycles were the fastest form of road transport, and before the dominance of the motor car.  They are heavy, cast iron plaques, 24″ (61cm) in diameter – the badge of the Cyclists Touring Club, and they can be seen on buildings all over the country.  The CTC was founded in 1878 as the Bicycle Touring Club and was subsequently renamed the Cyclists’ Touring Club, which is still in existence today.







In the 1880’s and 1890’s cycling became very popular with the professional classes with the invention of the new “safety bicycle”.  These cyclists had influence and money to spend, and they demanded a grading system for Hotels and Inns, and also discount.  Proprietors of such hostelries added “CTC” to their advertisements to encourage cyclists to patronise their hotels, cafes and shops.  By 1888 the Winged Wheel became the official endorsement of the CTC,  to have one adorning your premises was the ultimate accolade and it demonstrated that you welcomed cyclists and provided the facilities that cyclists might need.  The Wheels were issued to be painted black with white wings and lettering.

One of the Rhuddlan Winged Wheels is on The New Inn, the other is on a private residence.  Does anyone know the history of this building and why it might have displayed the Winged Wheel?  Does anyone remember any Winged Wheels on buildings in Rhyl which have since been removed?

For further information:


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Best in show.


The Rhyl Canine Society was started in 1945 and by 1947 had already staged seven shows, each one a greater success than the last.  An account of the show was reported in The Rhyl Journal stating that the Chairman, Lt. Col. Robert Girvan of Prestatyn considered that the Society’s shows were the best patronised in North Wales.  He said that the success was due in large measure to the excellent work of the committee, which comprised an extremely capable secretary in Mr Arthur Forber, an excellent show manager in Mr Cornelius Jones, and an outstanding ring steward in Mr W.H. Butler, nobly assisted by Mr Woolam.  Col. Girvan also spoke of the magnificent work done by the ladies committee and thanked the donors of gifts offered for competition to aid the funds of the Society.


Cups were won by entrants from Llandudno, Penrhyn Bay and Ewloe but the Society’s Cup for best puppy and the Wychland Shield for the best gun dog in the show were won by Mr. J.R.A. Rynn’s “Lenart Lola”, a pointer of Dalton, Islwyn Avenue, Rhyl.  The M.H. Hughes Cup for the best wire terrier puppy in the show was won by Mr Philip Thomas’ “Lynedoch Chorus Girl” of Sandstorm, Dyserth Road, Rhyl.


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