Jolly Fryer/Glasklad

Glassklad batteries started in 1952. They manufactured batteries using cells made in Manchester, hence it was also known as “Manchester Batteries”. It was originally located in Turnpike cottages, where the Jolly Fryer, now a Chinese Take Away, is now. In the 1700’s, the old Turnpike road used to run down Peel Street and up Groes Lwyd on its way to Llanddulas, there was a toll cottage nearby known as the Peel Toll. The Turnpike Cottages were the Toll house and by 1860 , as the toll roads disappeared, it had become a shop and a bakery . The memories of “Glassklad” remind me of when we used to walk to school up Church Walk steps. In those days you could see down into the works through the now bricked up window on the side parallel to the steps. I used to walk to school from Clwyd Avenue with Dad, who was a teacher in the “Nashy”. He used to lift me up to peer into the gloom of the workshop. What a site it was for a child, men bustling about with fires seemingly everywhere and large pots of molten metal. All a bit terrifying, for a six year old. As we grew up we no longer needed Dad’s assistance to look in, we could do that by climbing on the steps hand rail. When I got up to the Grammar School, I used to still walk up the steps every morning to go to the Visitor Office to do my paper round. Co-incidentally, I used to deliver papers to the house I now live in, nearly fifty years later. It was a measure of growing up then, being able to see into the workshop without being lifted or climbing on the rail. Glassklad moved in 1969 to premises near to the Tunnel to the High Street, where they remain, albeit under another name, in business today.

11 thoughts on “Jolly Fryer/Glasklad

  1. Matt:

    Manbat as they are now known moved to Bodelwyddan in 2005 into a 10,000 square foot premises.

  2. David Hughes:

    Thanks Matt, I didn’t realise they had moved. I know there is still a battery place there. Many thanks for reading the post and updating it. Is Roger Pemberton still involved ?, He and I were in school together.

  3. David Hughes:

    I’ve had a memory recall. I somehow remember Glasklad being across the road from the Jolly Fryer in the early ,early sixties. In the buildings that ran along Water Street to Peel Street. They were all demolished in the Peel Street re-development. I was talking to someone about the bike shop that was on the corner and then we remebered about Glasklad. Now here is a question for all you people out there, did Glasklad start across the road from the Jolly Fryer, subsequently moving in there around the mid sixties, or did Glasklad use the building simply as a store. I would like your comments. If they started across the road then those buildinsg were Turnpike Cottages and the Jolly Friar was probably the actual Toll House.

  4. Matt:

    Roger is still involved with the company (now CEO), along with his brother Mike, although we were bought by a large American firm somewhat two years ago.
    The battery place there now is a different company to Manbat but is however linked in the fact it is run by relatives of Roger & Mike.

    PS… I have this knowledge as I am the manager of the “Abergele” depot, not because I have a fetish for batteries!

    1. David Hughes:

      Thank you Matt. I had a feeling you were connected to the company. Is there anybody still with the company that remember them being located in the Jolly Fryer building ? I’m trying to get an answer to my question above.

  5. Matt:

    I will speak to Mike and ask him if he remembers

  6. John_Bowman:

    I too remember Manchester Batteries but always in the Jolly Fryer building.
    I started work as an apprentice electrician with Slaters in the summer of 1960 and would have to visit Manchester batteries at least three times a week to collect spare parts from them. It was usually dynamo brushes, Ball races, points etc. I even remember the part number of the dynamo ball race, 6202.
    The office was up a steep set of stairs and a young abergele girl by the name of June worked up in the office for many years, someone must know her?
    Mr Harry Pemberton was the boss I believe, he was a very nice man, a gentleman. The workshop where they made the batteries was a hive of activity and I can still recall the smell of battery acid and hot pitch. I think there was a salesman was a man by the name of Gwlym and he worked there for years?
    Yes in my experience Glasklad was a great little family business, I always enjoyed my visits there. The staff were always pleasent and helpfull even to a very young apprentice auto electrician like myself.
    I am sure that the last time I went to the new business in Bodelwyddan I saw some interesting pictures of the old building and Vans, perhaps we could get permission to post them on this site?

    Regards John B

    1. David Hughes:

      Thank you John. If those pictures are still in existence maybe Matt could help. Matt, are you aware of the pictures John refers to and would it be possible to have them scanned so we can post them on here. If you can, you can send them to me on and I’ll publish them for us all. Let me know what acknowledgements MANBAT would like to see. Many thanks to you both for the interesting comments. Best regards,


  7. John_Bowman:

    If permission could be obtained and they would trust them with me, I could scan them to a high quality and return them within an hour. FOC of course.

    John B

    1. David Hughes:

      OK John, that sounds good. It would be great to see the pictures recorded on here.

  8. Nigel Hilton:

    Hi David,
    Just come across your post. I lived in Peel Street, as you know, from 1950 until it was demolished circa. 1963 and always remember Glassklad/Manchester Batteries working out of the premises which subsequently became the Jolly Fryer. The reason I’m so sure they were there from the early fifties is because I used to get free straw from them as bedding for my pet rabbit. The big glass carboys, that the acid (for the batteries) was delivered in, were surrounded by a metal frame packed with straw to cushion them against breakage.
    Also, some years ago, I created a database of the former occupants of Peel St. & the surrounding area from the Census returns, just out of idle curiosity. The Jolly Fryer, as it currently is known, appeared on Enumerators’ books as Turnpike Cottage(s) to the best of my recollection – the details are on my desktop PC. I seem to recall that E.W.W. makes mention of this Turnpike Cottage in his book, ‘Abergele, the Story of a Parish’, along with the other Tollbar at the end of Sea Road facing New York Terrace but on the Eldon Drive side.
    Does this go any way towards answering your question my friend?
    Best wishes for the New Year (2015), Nigel.

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