Abergele had nearly as many sweet shops as pubs. The reason given for the abundance of pubs is that Abergele’s a market town and farmers like a pint; have farmers got sweet tooths too?
You’ll remember The Candy Box in Chapel Street, Pandora’s Box near The Mount and Pickup’s at the top of Sea Road. Then there was Parr’s. Mr Parr seemed to own half the shops in Abergele. There was Parr’s the toy shop, Parr’s the chemist and Parr’s the sweet shop next door to the post office.
Near the zebra crossing, opposite Woolworth’s was Roberts’s. I don’t ever remember the late Hywel Roberts cutting hair, but he must have because everyone called him Hywel the Barber. (Another Mr Roberts, with a white Yorkshire terrier, who lived in Gele Avenue used to cut ours).
Mr Roberts didn’t just sell sweets at his shop; he also sold tobacco, Mwdwl Eithin pottery from the farm of one of his sons and fishing tackle. He loved fly fishing on the Elwy, just above Llanfair TH. He used to tie his own flies. I remember the little fly vice on his kitchen table with a big pile of feathers next to it.
Another thing I remember about Hywel Roberts is that he was an expert on rare orchids.
If you wanted to know where to go to find a Bee, Fly or Butterfly Orchid – and these rare plants all grow around Abergele – you only had to ask Hywel the Barber.