Category Archives: General

Our Summer Trip 2017.

Rhyl History Club has had many and various Summer outings over the years – and almost without exception they have been hugely enjoyable.  This year’s trip to Caernarfon yesterday was a great success, a good time was had by all.  In the morning some of our group visited the castle, including the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, others visited Segontium.  An excellent lunch was taken at the famous historic inn – The Black Boy.  However, the highlight of the day was our afternoon “Town Tour – a guided walk through the streets of the Medieval town of Caernarfon” with our informative and entertaining guide Emrys Llewelyn.

Emrys is passionate about his town and is exceedingly knowledgeable about its history.  He has a wonderfully humorous style, weaving anecdotes and funny stories into the wealth of history that he presents.  Thoroughly recommended!!  See Trip Advisor for more reviews

Many thanks to Rufus Adams and Maggi Blythin for their organisation.

Our programme for 2017-18 will be available shortly – check this website for updates.  Our year consists of monthly lectures/talks, a Christmas lunch and a Summer outing – we look forward to seeing members old and new in September.

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The Sea and the Skylark

Gerard Manley Hopkins Photocredit: Wikipedia

On a recent walk along the promenade, the sea on one side and the golf links and dunes on the other, a skylark rose from the ground and treated us to its song and wonderful aerial display, which is the essence of Spring. This brought to mind the poem “The Sea and the Skylark” which was written by the famous Victorian poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1877.  Hopkins spent three years at St. Beuno’s College, Tremeirchion and whilst there he was sent to Rhyl for five days for “the good of his health”.  In the book “Gerard Manley Hopkins in Wales” Norman White writes: “It was not the ideal place for Hopkins to relax in, and with nothing to do but twiddle his thumbs he – not surprisingly – produced yet another poem contrasting the permanent grandeur and fresh beauty of nature’s phenomena with the sordidness of man – ” The Sea and the Skylark”.   White goes on: “Unfortunately, walking on Rhyl sands, without means of escape from the petty architecture and shrill tourist vulgarities, Hopkins’s disgust was evoked”    ( So, Rhyl had its detractors in the 19th Century!  The poem below contains the line “How these two shame this shallow and frail town”)

The Sea and the Skylark

On ear and ear two noises too old to end
Trench – right, the tide that ramps against the shore;
With a flood or a fall, low lull-off or all roar,
Frequenting there while moon shall wear and wend.

Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend,
His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeined score
In crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour
And pelt music, till none’s to spill nor spend.

How these two shame this shallow and frail town!
How ring right out our sordid turbid time,
Being pure! We, life’s pride and cared-for crown,

Have lost that cheer and charm of earth’s past prime:
Our make and making break, are breaking, down
To man’s last dust, drain fast towards man’s first slime.

To read more about the poem see the Guardian’s Poem of the Week

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The “Infamous” Rhyl Station Bracket Box

Spotted by a Rhylite recently in an article in the Saturday Guardian was a reference to “The Infamous Rhyl Station Bracket Box”.  Obviously this required further investigation!  Rhyl Station’s bracket box, which stood on the main platform behind the main entrance buildings, is in The Isle of Wight Postal Museum along with over 200 others.  The owner, collector Arthur Reeder, is also a member of the Letter Box Study Group and it was via this group that a fellow member, Elaine Warner, told him about the Rhyl box.  rhyl-station-bracket-post-box006Here’s what Arthur had to say:

“She had reported it’s poor state and so whilst on a holiday in Porthmadog I made the trip to see what was becoming an increasingly rare form of postbox. The only one left of this type now still in use can be found at Llandrindod Wells Station.

The ‘infamous’ Rhyl bracket box was actually a locally made version in pine of what was a standard issue oak wooden box supplied by The Ministry of Works carpenters.
The physical construction of these boxes is quite a work of art and the round tops are made with strips of wood joined together to form the arch. Unlike the ‘standard oak’ versions, this box had additional wooden beads around the front and sides‎ and a smaller aperture which is somewhat at odds with the standard boxes. I would describe the Rhyl box as slightly more ornate!
Also, unlike the standard boxes, this one was not fitted with a nickel plate surrounding the posting aperture engraved with a crown and VR, but it had been hand painted instead.
Getting this part reproduced is probably what gave me the greatest satisfaction as although I had copied what I found under all the layers of paint, I was sceptical that it could ever have been hand painted due to the intricate works?
But a local guy in Harrow Middlesex, where I lived at the time, showed me just how good some of these signwriters actually are at their trade.
Wishing to reproduce the original enamel plate, I contacted another local company called Messers. Garnier of NW London, and they not only said making a plate wasn’t a problem, but that they had actually had the Royal Mail contract for such things since 1904! So due to this little wooden box, I had also bumped into yet another contact that stood me in good stead with replacement vitreous enamel signs for those damaged and missing on subsequent postboxes.
At the time of my visit, the station was being prepared for closure of most of the station buildings…I think to convert it to a supermarket?
All I saw was the painted outline of where it had been for 100 years on the wall behind some barriers. Having travelled all that way to see it, I wasn’t very pleased! I asked around and no-one could remember it going but it was a now a building site. I was eventually directed to where the station master could be found and he told me that it had been there up to a week or so before. He also told me it had been out of use for ages and had been boarded over for a good year due to a fire and heavy vandalism. He had asked for it to be removed by Royal Mail but hadn’t heard anything more. He presumed Royal Mail had come to collect it? So that would have been that apart from a cleaner disagreeing and saying she had seen it outside in the skip!!!
A trip round the hoardings to the skip in front of the station buildings revealed the box dumped inside. I dragged it back out to take a couple of photos and had to push the front back into place where it had been kicked in. The top circular beads were also in the skip so we knocked them back on but there was no sign of the door. I asked what was to become of it and the obvious answer was..it was going to be dumped.

So the next question was…can I have it then? I spent the remainder of my holiday in North Wales and the following week in Chester with this lump of old burnt smelly timber‎ in the back of my vehicle. But as it had survived all that time I thought it would be quite possible to give it back some semblance of self respect.

The “infamous Rhyl Bracket Box” (right). They are termed ‘bracket boxes’ as they resembled the old style of bracket clocks

This postbox is what gave me the bug to start collecting and here we are in 2017 with a museum and 235 postboxes on the Isle of Wight.
There will always be a special place and affection for postbox number 1 in my collection.”
Click here to see the bracket box in various stages of restoration.

 

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2016 – a summary.

It’s been a great year for our website/blog.  We’ve had 15,914 visitors making 41,491 views.

We had our busiest day ever on April 24th when we had 476 views  – the day we published “Kinmel Park Camp”

The most popular day for visiting our site is a Sunday and the most popular hour is 9pm.

We had visitors looking at our site from 85 countries.  The top five were U.K., U.S.A., Australia, Canada and France, but we also had visitors from Mozambique, Uruguay, Kazakhstan and Iceland.  The map below illustrates where in the world we have been viewed.

wordpress-stats-1Our five most popular posts published this year were:
Kinmel Park Camp
Farewell to the Grange
The Cut
Farewell Old School – Welcome to the New
My Personal Memories of Rhyl

We published 43 posts.  Visitors found their way to us mainly via search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.), but also via Facebook, Twitter and links from other sites.

In November we were contacted by the National Library of Wales inviting us to participate in the UK Web Archive.  The UK Web Archive is a partnership between the National Library of Wales, the British Library and the National Library of Scotland, to preserve website for future users.  This means that an archived copy of our website will form part of their permanent collections.  Our site will remain accessible as hardware and software changes over time and it will also be catalogued through the websites of both the National Library of Wales and the UK Web Archive.

Going forward, we have included a page on our website for readers’ enquiries with a comments box included.  This is an experimental addition which will be reviewed over time.  We have also refreshed our “Links” page.

Many thanks to those who have contributed and to all you lovely readers.  We wish you a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

 

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Merry Christmas

christmas

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December 24, 2016 · 7:59 pm

Rhyl films on BFI player.

Wow.  Wonderful old footage of Rhyl and its people as you’ve never seen them before.  Sit back and enjoy the show, thanks to the British Film Institute.

Click on a title to watch the film:

“Flying week at Rhyl” 1920 

“Rhyl May Day” 1920

“Rhyl Cycling Club Outing to Nant Hall, Prestatyn” 1903

“Children leaving Christ Church Schools, Rhyl” 1902

“Children leaving the National Schools, Rhyl” 1902

“Peace Day Celebrations at Rhyl” 1919

“Lifeboat Day at Rhyl” 1920

“Buffalo Bill’s Visit to Rhyl” 1903

“Royal Visit to Rhyl” 1902

“Highlights of the Royal Welsh Show – Rhyl” 1956

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