Hello everyone. Trying to get used to the site and just noticed a a pending comment from Delyth A Macrae who has a copy of the postcard I’ve just posted. I would really like to have a copy so Delyth how can we get in touch ?
This is the card I was looking for. It shows my Dad stood by his bike outside the then Woolworth’s store. I remember this card being in a colour version as well, if anyone has it please let me know. Interestingly, it also shows a Policeman on point duty at the junction of Llanfair Road. Now that innovation might solve the awful sequencing of traffic lights that we have to put up with today. “Technology improves things”, not in this case.
I noticed they were doing some work on the river near Ysgol Glan Morfa last month and now I know why. I’ve just been reading Kath Evans’s story about new flood defences for Abergele. In the story, Malcolm Medlicott, mayor of Abergele, says he clearly remembers the 1971 floods.
That was 30 years ago this July. Here are some photos my father took at the time. Kath was kind enough to phone me yesterday to ask to use one in her report. She was editor of the Abergele Visitor and is about to leave BBC Wales where she’s done a fantastic job with the North West Wales website. I wish Kath all the best in her future projects.
Shrove Tuesday today, and a flood of memories, walking home from school in anticipation of pancakes for tea. Dad making a fool of himself trying, mostly in vain, to toss them perfectly and get them to return to the pan in one piece and the right way up. Little squashy plastic lemons, full of juice, still available today. Getting tea done early so we could go to the Shrove Tuesday Concert at the Church Hall in Groes Lwyd. Always put on by the Band of Hope with the help of Mr Chalk (Chalkie), the curate at St Michaels. Place was always packed to see what surprises they had for us each year. Local businessmen and dignitaries abandoning there sense to do something silly to entertain us all. Chalkie was the Scout leader as well, so when we got older we all got roped in to perform. The seats would be taken early but if you wanted the best seats, let the hall fill up so you could sit on the window sills. What great nights they were, the town celebrating the day together, so busy that people would be outside trying to get a view of the proceedings through the open door. Not sure why it all ended, just a sign of the times I suppose. What a shame.
“We are now approaching Abergele, near which such a terrible accident
happened to the Irish mail in 1868. Some trucks had been shunted from a train in front, and they, by some mistake, came running down the hill to meet the “Irishman.” The driver saw them, and the shock was not severe, but unfortunately they were filled with oil barrels, which broke open, the petroleum caught fire, and in two minutes all the fore part of the train was enveloped in flames.
“Nothing could be done; the poor people in the carriages – lords and
ladies and gentlemen – were burned, and with difficulty any escaped. This was a fearful catastrophe, and quite puts aside any ordinary accidents which (not a few) have happened to the “Wild Irishman.”
Article in ‘Little Folks, A Magazine for the Young’, date of issue unknown
Does anyone remember the dairy at the bottom of Clwyd Avenue ? I was talking to a guy I knew years ago and we were reminiscing about it, brought back a flood of memories. It used to be opposite the Catholic church, which is now a hairdressers. When I was small we used to listen to stories from the old guy that worked there “Mustard” he was know as, but I don’t know why. He was about 90 in the early sixties and he used to tell us about walking down to Pensarn, when he was a child, and crossing the railway line before walking about a mile to the sea ! Guess it would of been around 1870, I know the railway opened in 1848. I’m not sure why the dairy closed, maybe the advent of supermarkets. It was eventually bought by Mr Wetton who built the two storey building, photo in Abergele in Shorts, as a mans hairdressers for his son Glyn. Now it has been changed to include flats and the hairdressers is down stairs. Curios that Mr Wetton’s first appearance, in my mind, was when he opened his shop down Starkey’s Lane, or at least that’s what we used to call it, about the place where the A55 underpass is if your walking from the bottom of Maes Canol to Pensarn.
In the last post I showed you Abergele station. How many people remember the other train station in Abergele ? Here it is, the long forgotten Gwrych Castle station. Looking at the dress of the people in it I believe it was taken sometime in the mid-fifties. What a place the Castle was then, not like today in its poor state. The attractions were many and exciting. The Train, the Marquee, which is where the entertainment was held. It had magicians, bands and dancers. The sweet shop where you could buy pink spearmint bars for tuppence, wrapped up in greaseproof paper. What an art it was, to be able to unwrap the sticky mess after hours of it being in your pocket ! The staircase, that seemed to go up forever, all of us secretly hoping we would see the famed Ghost of Gwrych, not really, just bravado, remember being a bit scarred. The Chamber of Horrors, a place not to be treated lightly when you were small. The back way in from Tan-y-Goppa, didn’t have to pay if you could survive the brambles you had to get through. The walk to the watchtower to spy down onto the road below. The long line of people making their way up the long drive, dragging kids or pushing prams, the better off being able to park their cars below the castle, always viewed with some jealousy by those that didn’t have one. It was a rare sight in those days for a family to have Car. Picnicking on the grass below the Castle. All 30 minutes from home. Remember when the grounds were free to roam, the golf course was down Sea Road then, built on now, but still known as the “Links” estate for obvious reasons. Remember as kids being paid by the Golf Club to pick up stones on their course at Gwrych.
All this talk with Brian kindled fresh memories of the train station. This picture of Abergele station looking towards Llanddulas brings back many memories. the over rail walkway, long since gone, was the start of many adventures, the permanent smell of steam as you walked over only served to highten the excitment of travel to far away places. You can still get the experience if you walk over the one still in place at Rhyl station where, after all these years there is still a trace of the smell, or is it just my imagination ? Far away places such a Rhyl or even Chester. The most exciting was school trip to London, seemed so far away in those days. All on the train, well prepared with orange squash and sandwiches prepared by Mum for the whole trip, usually consumed before we got to Prestatyn. Individual fruit pies, now what happened to those ? Running up and down the corridors, being told off by seemingliy the oldest person in the world, the Guard !! Happy days.