Gwrych Castle Open Day

Last Saturday the Gwrych Castle Trust opened the gates of the castle to the public for the first time in thirty years. Here are a few pictures of what was an extremely successful day. Thank you to the Gwrych Castle Trust and the current owners of Gwrych Castle. These pictures belong to Jackie (Skippy) Rowlands and she has given her permission to reproduce them here. Thank you Jackie.

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Shire horses at Abergele National Ploughing Championship

In the past, the Women’s Institute has produced sets of coloured postcards celebrating all kinds of events and landmarks around Abergele. Here’s a photo by Gwyneth Vaughan of Betws yn Rhos WI, showing the Abergele National Ploughing Championship. Although this plough is pulled by horses, judging by the estate car in the background, this is a fairly recent competition.

Abergele National Ploughing Championship. Photo by Gwyneth Vaughan of Betws yn Rhos Women's Institute
Abergele National Ploughing Championship. Photo by Gwyneth Vaughan of Betws yn Rhos Women’s Institute

Gwrych Castle Open Day 28 June 2014

Gwrych Castle from Tan y Gopa's Doorknob by Gareth Morlais CC-BY-SA
Gwrych Castle from Tan y Gopa’s Doorknob by Gareth Morlais CC-BY-SA

Gwrych Castle’s gates are being flung open for visitors for the first time in ages on Saturday 28 June 2014.

Entry between noon  and 4pm will cost £5, which includes a tour of the castle and grounds and a catch up on the latest news from the owners of the Castle and Gwrych Trust. The tours are hourly.

Ice cream will be on sale as well as copies of Mark Baker’s latest book Margaret Sandbach: A Tragedy in Marble and Ink, written with Dewi Gregory.

Mark Baker, who is Chair of the Board of Trustees for Gwrych Trust and author of The Rise and Fall of Gwrych said, “It is very exciting that the castle will be open for the day and that we have an opportunity for people to learn about its history and what is proposed for the future”.

Jake Basford of the Trust, handling promotion, says that proceeds from the tours will go towards the planned Visitor Centre project.

Access  will be via the road shared with Manorafon Farm, but access will only be given to foot traffic. No parking will be allowed on site, at Manorafon Farm or Abergele Golf club, unless otherwise stated. If you have a disability and want to discuss access, just email gwrych (at) before the day.


Summer Fete – Friends of Abergele Hospital

On Saturday the 21st June 2014, the League of Friends of Abergele Hospital are holding their annual summer fete. Bob Pearson of the Friends has written with details:

“It is to be opened by Darren Millar A.M. at 2pm in the hospital grounds.   Many different stalls will be there including tombola, bric-a-brac, plants, books, children’s toys, cakes, popcorn and many others.   A police dog handler and armed responce officer will be attending to talk to members of the public about their roles.  The lifeboat will be represented,  a display of childres dancing, the Cantorion Choir and the Rhyl Junior Silver Band.”

The Mayor of Abergele, Brian Roberts, will be drawing the raffle. There will also be entertainment from Bro Aled School and the Joy Cournock school of dancing. There will be a children’s play bus and the Red Cross will be in attendance. (Source: Iolo Facebook page)

I have fond childhood memories of going to the annual summer garden fete at the hospital in Abergele. Back in the 60s we called it the Chest Hospital Fete or the Sanny Fete. From what I hear from Bob and his hard-working co-workers at the Friends, this year’s revival of an old tradition promises to be a real gem.

Photo of entrance to Hospital by Ross Davies.

Sam Kelly’s Abergele connection

The actor Sam Kelly (Porridge, ‘Allo ‘Allo!, On the Up, Barbara, etc) sadly died on 14 June 2014. Not many people will be aware of his Abergele connection. His mother Mary and father Fred (who died many years before Mary) lived in Abergele in the 70s, 80s and early 90s. Some readers may remember Mary Kelly.

Sam’s real name was Roger Kelly and he came back to Abergele during filming breaks to see his folks. Because my mother had been a childhood friend of Roger’s when she grew up in Peel Green, near Manchester, and later in Conwy, we’d see Roger in Abergele quite often.

It was with sadness that I heard of his passing and he’s sure to be fondly remembered.

Sam Kelly as Bunny Warren. Probably BBC Copyright.

Bryngwenallt Hall

Further to Gareth’s 1925 postcard of Bryngwenallt, I came across one which appears to be slightly earlier, probably pre WW1 showing Bryngwenallt Hall, with Siamber Wen farm in the foreground. I would imagine the photo was taken from above the the Red Rocks area, possibly a place we local children called ‘The Glass House’. That was the site of one of (Abergele Sanitorium’s) Plas Uchaf’s old chalets forming part of the outlying TB wards’ buildings. Bryngwenallt’s gardens appear truly beautiful, as befitting such a splendid property. It was very sad to see how the Hall lost so much of its former glory, to my mind, from the 1960’s onwards, to become a mere shadow of its former self.

Bryngwenallt Hall - date unknown.
Bryngwenallt Hall – date unknown.


Garry McAlpine (see our exchanges further down this page) has kindly sent some lovely photos of Bryngwenallt Hall which I’ve included below, though I’ve had to reduce them in size somewhat compared to their original format :

Bryngwenallt 1 Bryngwenallt 2 Bryngwenallt 3

I’m afraid I don’t know when they date to but, in the same way that they resurrected long-forgotten happy memories for me, I’m sure they will do the same for other of our readers. Many thanks for your input Garry & for sending them for inclusion on the site.

Maps of Chapel St., Abergele, 1872-1970 animated

maps Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 2014
Animation by AbergelePost from maps by Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 2014 with thanks to Huw Waters

Following the discussions and posts about The Mount Cottages and the layout of Chapel Street, Abergele, over the years, I had an email from Huw Waters attaching six maps of central Abergele . He wrote in Welsh:
“Oeddwn i’n gweld sôn am fapiau Stryd y Capel yn Abergele yma. Mae hawlfraint OS arnynt dwi’n meddwl, felly dwi’n meddwl bod hi’n ddoeth cydnabod hynny. Dwi’n gallu cael mynediad i hen fapiau fel rhan o wasanaeth llyfrgell Prifysgol Bangor, ac felly gan ei fod mewn cyd-destun trafod hanes, tydw i ddim yn gweld dim o’i le.”

Huw says he’d seen the discussion here and found six maps via Bangor University’s library service. I think as long as I credit the OS, I’m OK to share these with you here.

Huw and I thought it would be fun to link the six maps into an animation to show the development in the 142 years since the first map shown. The source maps are below, which you can click on to enlarge.

Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1872
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1872
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1899
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1899
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1900
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1900
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1913
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1913
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1961
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1961
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright  1970
Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 1970

Chapel Street’s Mount Cottages

Local historian and AbergelePost stalwart Andy (Nigel) Hilton has responded to the discussion about Mount Cottages over on this page.

He says: “I’ve managed to cobble together the relevant sections of two halves of the 1872 OS Map covering the Chapel Street/High Street area. They may shed some light on Andrew Hesketh’s comments regarding the 2 other Mount Cottage properties in the vicinity of the Old Police Station. I’ve also found an aerial photo which shows that same area, probably in the 1930’s I’d guess.”

Chapel St.1872 aerial view of Abergele