The Abergele Visitor was pushed through our letterbox every Friday. It was printed in Abergele, in a room with lino on the floor above the Visitor Office newsagents, next door to the Bee.
Our neighbour Gordon Hughes was the printer and the noise of the rolling presses made it difficult to hear him speak as he explained how he set the lead type mirror-imaged for each week’s edition.
The paper’s chief photographer was Mr Sumners who had his office and darkroom between the Visitor Office and Woolworth’s. Mr Sumners seemed to be at every wedding, summer fete, sports day and chapel parade. He’d develop his own photos and put prints of his latest shoots in his shop window, giving passing shoppers a good idea of what had been going on in Abergele that week.
Nowadays many local and regional papers are owned by bigger and bigger companies, based further and further away from their readers. But there’s something really cosy about remembering the days when the stories of Abergele were told by the people of the town itself. People like Gordon Hughes and Mr Sumners.
We’ve already lost Abergele Market, Rhyl Watertowers and Colwyn Bay’s Astra Cinema.
If you walk up Chapel St to Mynydd Seion and turn left at the flat-roofed building that sells tiles (previously a printers and a laundrette before that), you’ll come to a red-bricked warehouse. This warehouse used to be taller and it used to be attached to an old whitewashed stone windmill.
I don’t know how that old windmill at the junction of Chapel St with High St came to be demolished, but it’s a shame it’s gone because we’ve lost one of Abergele’s important landmarks.
My grandfather Harry Gee was a watercolourist and loved painting that old windmill while it still stood. As they say: “when it’s gone, it’s gone”, and now all I’ve got to remind me of this old piece of Abergele is my grandfather’s painting of it.