The Abergele Visitor

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.

Advert for Mr Sumner's Photography from an old map of Abergele.
Advert for Mr Sumner's Photography from an old map of Abergele.

15 thoughts on “The Abergele Visitor

  1. Sharon Young:

    My Dad also worked as a printer at The Visitor Office. Nice to see it mentioned here.

  2. Royston Jones:

    My father Emlyn Jones worked there as a printer from some time in the early 1940’s until it was taken over by the Weekly News group and the Visitor was printed in Llandudno Junction.

  3. David Hughes:

    Remember it well. I remember Mr Sumner, he lived on Sea road and his son was in school with me. Graham, if my little grey cells are working. His dad also took my first wedding photos and remember him present at many events. The Visitor was part of my life too, I delivered papers for them for some years and used to deliver to the house I now live in. Seem to have gone full circle.

  4. stuart senior:

    remember lias williams we called him lyer willams putting us in the paper when we had been incourt

    1. Gareth Morlais:

      Elias was a key character in the history of the Visitor. It’s great that he’s remembered so fondly Stuart.

  5. Gillian Davies:

    Many years ago I wrote a poem which was published in the abergele visitor.
    Called ” oh councillors of Conwy”. Is it possible to try to get a copy of the published poems

    1. Gareth Morlais:

      I think you’d need to track down archived copies of the paper Gillian. Start with Conwy County Library Services, then you may find you need to delve into the fantastic National Library of Wales archive. If you do have to take a trip to Aberystwyth, watch out for the starlings swarming in clouds around the pier at dusk, just before roosting.

  6. John A Smith:

    More information on Mr Sumner I was friends with his son Paul same school, secondary modern and they lived on Dundonald ave,GAbergele before living in sea rd.

  7. David Wild:

    I was born in Abergele in Park Villas, only 180 yards from the Visitor Office, and Gordon and Joyce Hughes were my uncle and aunt, now both sadly missed. In about 1952, when I was 8 years old, he took me upstairs into the room where he composed the type, showed me how his composing machine worked, and made me a small lead type block with my name on. It actually worked! – if I pressed it into an ink pad I could then print my name onto a sheet of paper. I have treasured that block all my life, and still have it some 66 years later and I’m 74 now!
    Gordon was very industrious. When he became manager of The Visitor Office he would be up at 5 o’clock each morning so as to be at the railway station by 6am to collect the newspapers from the station, and after taking them to the Visitor Office, he would return home for breakfast. He lived about 500 yards away from work and would always walk to and from work and because he always had lunch at home, he would to and from home at lunchtime as well. In the dining room at home he had an aquarium with a variety of fish and, before he left for the station in the morning, he would sit with a cup of tea and just relax for a short while watching the fish swim around.
    I have many memories of Gordon and Joyce and of Abergele from years ago, when steam trains roared through the station and the A55 ran right through the middle of town along Market Street and traffic was nose-to-tail every summer, too many to recall here.

  8. Gwyn Roberts:

    I am striving to ascertain the date on which Police Sergeant 131 Hugh Price PARRY (Denbighsire Constabulary) retired at Abergele. He joined in Dec 1937 and I would guess he retired circa Dec 1967 to have served 30 years.
    He hailed from Bangor and was the brother of the celebrated Harry Parry the jaz band leader.

  9. R.E.Brown:

    Can not remember sergeant Parry my memories are sergeant Shone and his wife Mrs.Shone can still remember Mrs.Shone and Mrs.Lowbridge walking up Llanfair road each night with dog

  10. Margaret Walton:

    I organised Thailand appeal Boxing Day disaster many photos were in there can I get hold of them

  11. Tim Foster:

    I have a photo taken by Mr Sumner that I’m trying to put into context. It’s a large group photo including my father from around 1955-1965. The reference is FG26 if anyone is able to help with more details. I found a series of these group photos in various hotels around the UK when going through my late father’s papers. They all seem to have been taken at large hotels with a large formal seated group on the lawn. I’d love to know more about them. If someone can tell me how to upload pictures, I’ll gladly share the image from Abergele.

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