Easter has traditionally been a time when Abergelites head with a picnic up Tower Hill. Here’s an old postcard showing how one of our favourite landmarks used to look.
I received this fabulous photo from Mrs Gunta Binks. She writes:
“Thought this might be of interest to you, I am going through papers of my late Mother who sadly passed away in September 2014 two weeks short of her 90th birthday. On the back is written Christmas 1947 Manchester Children’s Abergele Sanatorium, North Wales, Pantomime. My mother’s name was Erna Darzins (Latvian refugee, who would have been 23 in 1947)) she is the lady at the back right hand side with the lion on her head! She talked fondly of her time in Abergele and no doubt the Welsh air did her good.”
This is a bilingual post; the English follows the Welsh…
Rwyf wedi derbyn gwahoddiad gan Gymdeithas Emrys ap Iwan i gyflwyno darlith am y wefan hon – Abergele Post – a hanes Abergele o safbwynt hanesyddol o’m hatgofion o’r dref yn y 60au a’r 70au. Mae’r ddarlith am 7.30yr hwyr yn Festri Capel Mynydd Seion ar nos Wener 21ain o Dachwedd 2014. Byddaf yn dangos lluniau o’r dref o’r cyfnod ac yn son am ambell gymeriad a digwyddiad cofiadwy. Mae na groeso cynnes i chi ddod i wrando.
I’ve been invited by the Emrys ap Iwan Society to present a lecture in Welsh about this Abergele Post website and my memories of growing up in Abergele in the 60s and 70s. It’s on Friday 21 November at 7.30pm at Mynydd Seion Chapel Vestry. It’s a visual presentation with lots of photos and images of the town. I’ll look back at some of the town’s characters and happenings. There is no simultaneous translation but, if you’re a Welsh speaker or have any understanding of Welsh, you’ll be made most welcome.
My father’s generation knows the Llandudno to Manchester train as the Club Train. It’s the service that stops at Abergele. Here’s a snap of the train leaving Pensarn for Colwyn Bay, taken from the station bridge.
Cofia Abergele Remembers.
Recording lists of the names of some of the people from Abergele and those with links to the town who took part in WWI was a challenge that Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan students relished as one of the school’s community projects to remember 100 years since the Great War.
Head Lee Cummins, head of sixth form John Seymour, music department and technicians and of course the students rose to the occasion, as you can hear in Sophie Peake’s recording:
Apart from Sophie’s, there are another 17 recordings. The first live performance, thanks to Abergele Town Council’s Delyth MacRae, is after the St Michael’s Vigil on 4 August 2014.
The participants’ names were researched by historian Andrew Hesketh with audio post production by AbergelePost.com’s Gareth Morlais.
Here’s a list of students who made the recordings:
You can see some of the students below making their recordings using Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan’s Music Department studio.What’s poignant is that many of those who went to war a hundred years ago were a similar age to the young people whose voices you can hear listing the names. AbergelePost.com is grateful to these students for paying their respects.
Abergele Town Council in conjunction with the Abergele British Legion and St. Michael’s Church are holding a service of mark the commencement of the WWI commemorations on Monday 4th August 2014 at 7pm in St. Michael’s Church to reflect and remember.
It was at 11pm on 4 August 1914 that Germany declared war on Belgium. Great Britain gave Austria-Hungary an ultimatum to stand down from hostilities. When Austria-Hungary didn’t comply, a state of war was declared.
After the service, Abergele Town Council’s Delyth McRae has arranged for recordings of Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan students listing the names of of some of the participants in WWI with a connection to Abergele. This is the list researched by Abergele war historian Andrew Hesketh. The recordings, produced by AbergelePost.com, are called Cofia Abergele Remembers. There’ll be more information about them here soon, including names of the Emrys students who took part in the recordings.
Photo credit: Keltek Trust
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.
I’ve written here before about Abergele author Rob Burslem. He’s perhaps best known for his books set in Africa (Murdoch’s Africa). I’ve just heard that his Abergele novella Three Pomegranates and a Half Bottle of Scotch has been made available for free download by Amazon for a few days as a Kindle edition.
If you’re reading this article after about mid May 2014, you’re probably too late to get it for free, but the novella’s been well reviewed on the store, so it’s worth a look. Reviewer Paul writes: “This was an excellent read. I couldn’t help but have empathy with Kevin’s plight. The conversational style felt really authentic. As the story progressed I couldn’t put the book down. I actually chocked when I read the author’s note at the end.”
I’m a fan of the National Library of Wales’s Welsh Newspapers Online site. Here’s a clipping from the Weekly News, 5 March 1909, describing St David’s Day celebrations at the Bee Hotel, Abergele, in that year.
ABERGELE. St. David’s Day was celebrated in Abergele with a dinner at the Bee Hotel, and a coffee supper, followed by a concert, at the spacious Wesleyan schoolroom, the latter being held by members of the Ship Cafe.
Both events went off splendidly. The meeting at the Wesleyan schoolroom was presided over by Mr. J. R. Ellis, I when the programme was sustained by Mr. G. T. Morgan, Mir. T. Derbyshire Roberts, Misses Harrison, Miss Katie Jones, M’aster Harold Cybi Williams, Miss Lizzie Davies, Master John Millward, and Mr. Ben Cybi Williams.
The only toast submitted to the meeting was “Dewi Sant,” proposed by Mr. J. R. Ellis, and elaborated upon by the Rev. Morgan’ Davies., who was in grand form. He declared that St. David. ‘kindled such a fire of patriotism in Wales that time can never extinguish. (Applause!.)
On the motion of Mr. J. Williams, M.A., seconded by Mr. Edward Ellis, the thanks of the meeting was accorded ‘o all those who had contributed towards the success of the gathering. Mr. R. E. Needham enlivened the proceedings with several, gramaphone selections.
AT THE BEE HOTEL. St. David’s Day has been. celebrated at the Bee Hotel for many years. As usual, there was a large and distinguished company present at this year’s function. The catering of Mr. and Mrs. Featherstone was Ai. ‘Mr. G. H. Judson bad the honour of being president, whilst Mr. S. B. Rogers occupied the vice-chair. Amongst others present we’re Messrs’. E. A. Crabbe. T. Hannah, J.P., J. Gill, E. W. Brtdley, Kinmel; J. Calvert, W. Jones, Chapel Street; W. Chesters, D. W. Vau.gh.an., J. Williams, Harp Hotel; D. Williams, Kinmel Arms; Humphrey Williams, Valentine Hotel, Llanddulas; W. J. Parry, London House; J. Pierce, Victoria House; Richard Jones, Pentre Ucha’ E. Wo’n’a.ll, Cambrian Hotel; G. Perkins, Elias Evans, Pensarn; E. W. Harrop, J. Edwa.rd=, T’anyfron; D. Wil- liama, Ty lgwyn,; W. BTiothetrtoQ, E. W. Parry, Rihyl; and F. Hajdon, Rhyl. The toast list was as foHow.s:—”The King,” by the President; The Queen, the Prince and PfTMicesa of Wales, and the Rest of the Royal Family,” by the Ptresident; The Navy, Army, and Territorial Forces,” proposed by Mr. CraLbe, and responded to by Mr. J. Gill; To the Im- mortal Memory of St. David,” proposed by M’r. S. B. Rogers; The Town and Trade of Abergele,” proposed by Mr. J. Edwards, Tanyfron; The Farming Industry,” proposed by Mr. J. Pierce, and responded to by Mr. D. Williams, Ty Gwyn; “The Host and Hostess,” proposed by Mr. G. Perkins, Mr. Featherstone responding.
Songs were sung by Mir. Bradley, Messrs. Johnson and Foye, Manchester, Mr. Hanlo.n, Rhyl, and Mr. D. W. V.au;ghan. Mir. Crabbe said the British Navy waa every .ready to, respond tOl the call of duty. The Army,, though at the present moment in a transient stae, was ready for every emergency if necessity arose. Aided by the Daily Mail,” the Terri- torital Force in London had attained its required strength, and he sincerely trusted that the other parts of the country would follow the example set before, them by the capital of the Empire. If the Territorial Force failed, then there would only be one, alternative—namely, conscription, and that would mean a national calamity.
In responding, Mr. Gill said the Territorial scheme was the last effort—the last kic’k—to avoid that deplorable system of conscription. .Even now, the Territorial Force was three times the value of the old Volunteers. Mr. ludson. in resDondin? to’ the toast of his health, said that since he had been a member of the Council he had done his best for all con- canned.
Something had been said about his fo.rthcorning marriage. (Applause.) Well, he might as well let the, secret out by saying that he was to. be married on the grd of June. (Loud .applause.)’ Mr. Perkins, in pro.po.sing the health of the host and hostess, said everyone present would feel sorry at My. Featherstone’s departure from Abergele. ..Mr. Fea.the.rs.tone, in responding, said he was sorry to, leave Abergels, but he was saddled with a house at Colwyn, Bay. The meeting broke up with the singing of Auld Lang Syne and God Save the King.” SEARCHLIGHT.
Back to today now: as you can see, the optical character recognition isn’t perfect, but it’s quite good. So you’ll notice the typos above.
Interesting to note the military discussions which foreshadowed the beginning of WWI.