Abergele Grammar School football team 1943-44

Andy Hilton (aka Nigel Hinton) has been a long-time contributing editor to AbergelePost.com. He wrote recently:
“I wonder if you can help me out. You may recall that some time back I put out an appeal via AbergelePost.com to see if any of our readers had any group photos of past Abergele Grammar School pupils, to include in the magazine. I recently heard from Derek Harper, who attended the school between 1940-44. I replied to him direct & we’ve subsequently spoken on the phone.
“He’s a sprightly 87 year old gentleman who, in his time, was very much into sports, especially athletics, winning numerous & various awards. During his (almost) 2 years in the army just after the war, he became a Physical Training Instructor, whilst even in his 60’s he was still competing at sports. He also attained his Private Pilots Licence, so you get some idea of his mettle, though he did mention that he’s now only allowed to fly solo, i.e. wiithout passengers, in view of his advancing years. So, that’s some of his background.
“His original email & 3 photos are attached, prepared by his daughter, as he says he’s not overly computer savvy. What I hope we can do is upload the 3rd image to the appeal page on the site, as a fairly large size, so that the readers can better view the pupils with their teacher. All of their names are included in image No.2. “
“Derek  says he also has a list of the teachers who were at the school during his years there & will post that information on to me in due course.”

Thanks Andy and Derek. Here are Derek’s photos. Click on the image to see them at their original size. Please feel free to use the Comments section to add any information, names or stories.

Abergele Grammar School football team 1943-44 - Derek Genders Abergele Grammar School football team 1943-44 - Derek Genders

Abergele Grammar School football team 1943-44 and Derek Genders
Abergele Grammar School football team 1943-44 and Derek Harper

Abergele’s War Memorial at St Michael’s Church

Armistice Day photo of Abergele's War Memorial taken in November 2014 by Sion Jones
Armistice Day photo of Abergele’s War Memorial taken in November 2014 by Sion Jones

Abergele’s War Memorial at St Michael’s Church.

Dyma’r Cofeb yn Abergele i’r hogiau na ddaethant adre o’r rhyfeloedd 1914-1918. Hefyd 1939-1945.

As Wikipedia says: “Armistice Day (which coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays) is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the ceasefire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.”

Lady Emily’s Tower, Abergele

This watchtower is called Lady Emily’s Tower. It’s  near Cefn yr Ogof and is a familiar landmark to everyone who drives along the A55 north Wales coast road between Abergele and Llanddulas. It’s a 1930s folly commissioned by Lord Hesketh’s wife, Lady Emily, so she and the children could go painting and take in the air (source)

Lady Emily's Tower
Lady Emily’s Tower



Lady Emily’s Tower is connected with Gwrych Castle. From its perch, high above North Wales’s A55 road, you can see  breathtaking views east and west along the coast. Looking out to sea from the tower is stunning, with the windfarms peppering the northern horizon.


In the woodlands around the tower, you can walk along the many paths created when the tower was built.

“The headstone above the main entrance to Lady Emily’s Tower bears the words “the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands prepared the dry land”, taken from line 95:5 from Psalms of David.

“There’s a variety of access points as it’s buried in some really beautiful woodland, we park near Llandulas and walk up the scree banks from the Dolwen / Tan Rallt side. The view from here opens up quickly over the houses of Llandulas, The Beach caravan park and beyond.

The Frozen Divide Blog writes:  “After forging a path through the maze of forest trails, the limestone caves lower down the cliffs are amazing fun and well worth an explore too, with popular sport climbing routes.”

The hanging dummy

There are a few stories associated with this landmark. However, my favourite is the one told to me by a friend of my father’s – on the condition that I didn’t publish his name. When he was a boy in the late 1950s, he and his friends ‘borrowed’ a tailor’s dummy of a woman from the back of an Abergele dress shop. They marched the dummy up to Lady Emily’s tower. They then hung her from a rope round her neck from the branch of a tree through the tower’s window. Seeing the body swinging over the cliff, several car drivers on the road below stopped at phoneboxes in Llanddulas and Abergele. They called the police to say they’d witnessed a tragedy.

The police retrieved the dummy from Lady Emily’s Tower and  returned her to the dress shop owner. Do you know what? I don’t think my father’s friend was ever found out.

Abergele and The People’s Collection Wales

Maldwyn Huges has been in touch via our comments section to let us know about a project he’s working on to research and digitise the Abergele Town Council Archives so these treasures can be shared on the Casgliad y Werin Cymru / The People’s Collection Wales website.

Maldwyn lives just past Penrefail on the road to Llanfair TH. He’s been working with Town Clerk, Mandy Evans, on this project. After finishing with this archive he wants to offer his services by offering to scan interesting photos owned by people living in Abergele and the surrounding area. He would then pass these scans on to the bilingual People’s Collection website, which is run by the National Library of Wales.

If you’d like to work with Mal on digitising and sharing your treasured photos and items, Mal’s email address is mal.hughes (at) talktalk.net.

As he says: “We know much about the celebrities and politicians of the country, those who have the media’s spotlight turned on them, but we want to know about the ordinary men and women of Wales, their lives and their experiences.”

Celebrating 31 years behind the bar at the George and Dragon
Celebrating 31 years behind the bar at the George and Dragon