The Old Market Hall

How many of you can still recall the old Market Hall in Abergele, a collection of shops etc., situated below the old Town Hall whilst providing a short-cut between Market Street and Water Street (opposite The Mount). It’s Gothic-arched entrance stood between the modern-day HSBC Bank on the right and Superdrugs to the left, where the Financial Consultant’s Office is now?

Back in the 1950’s and early 60’s it all looked somewhat different. The Bank was called the Midland Bank and on the opposing, left-hand side was Millwards, a sizeable Milliners shop with its entrance doorway and main frontage on Market street itself, as had the Bank. As you entered the Market Hall, to your right, you would see a couple of frosted glass windows at shoulder-height, affording some extra light into the Bank’s customer space, which culminated with the Manager’s Office to the rear. A pair of us, more senior pupils from the National School, would sometimes take the dinner money down to the Bank, a welcome break from lessons.

I seem to recall that the booking office and stairs up to the cinema situated over the Market Hall was also on the right-hand side, its main entrance being from Market Street – or was it to the left, next to Millwards? Perhaps someone could clarify that for me.

To your left were large windows affording views into Millward’s whilst, immediately behind that property, within the Market Hall proper, was a butcher’s shop (Mr Roberts place ?). It had a large cold locker facing you as you entered, a display/serving counter to your right with the larger cuts of meat hanging from hooks on a rail behind. Smaller cuts of meat were displayed on white trays placed on a tiled shelf and visible through the main window, to tempt passing trade from the Market Hall. Sawdust was scattered over the floor.

Next door to the butcher’s shop was an ironmongers store. It had an annex extending to almost the same length but about half the width out into Market Place. There, it joined onto a small terrace of properties on the left hand side of what was then called Market Place, but in the 1860’s had been known as Local Lane.

On an historical note, by all accounts, Local Lane took its name from a Local Act which came into force in the town around that time (1867). As it was around that same time that the access road was opened through Market Place and the Market, a stone was placed at the Water Street end, engraved with the words “On sufferance”. The inference being that Kinmel Estates, as the landowners, were granting the town a privilege. Whilst those houses (built around the same time as the Town Hall) were demolished in 1966 the stone stands to the present day.

Back inside the Market Hall and opposite the butcher’s, was a small, narrow sweets and tobacconists shop if memory serves me right, sandwiched between the rear of the Bank and the Cinema’s office. I have a mental image of the office having a single, large window where the glass was either painted dark green or had some sort of green covering to prevent prying eyes seeing inside. Can anyone recall the name of the cinema? I should know as one of my sisters-in-law worked there when I was young and, in my later, teen years, a girlfriend’s mother also worked there selling tickets.

On leaving the local Grammar School in the 1960’s, I lost touch with the town and school-friends following the deaths of my parents in 1971/72. Consequently, when I returned to visit a number of years later, it was somewhat of a shock to see that the Market Hall was no more. Even the carved head of Robert Hughes (I believe it was) the builder of the Town Hall and which had sat above the Market Hall’s entrance arch since its construction in 1867 had gone, mislaid during works to the facade at some point they reckon.

So, to the best of my recollections, that is a description of the old Market Hall and the shops it contained. If anyone can provide additional details it would be appreciated.

Old Market Hall entrance

Since writing the above post, I’ve come across this old photo showing the entrance as it looked, probably around the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. This shows the cinema entrance on the left and not the right as I’d imagined. The butchers was called E.H. Jones and the sweet & tobacconists shop was run by J.E. Jones. The main entrance to Millwards shop is clearly visible next to the cinema entrance as is the carved head David and I mentioned, immediately above the sign detailing the shop proprietors.

Late 1960's Market Street

Above is a slightly earlier view from a different angle but clearly showing the name of the cinema as the Glyn.

 

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14 Responses to The Old Market Hall

  1. David Hughes says:

    Robert Hughes carved head was rescued from the rubble and in the 1980 was in Bodhyffryd in Llanddulas.

  2. Nigel Hilton says:

    That’s a bit of good news – just a shame it couldn’t have been restored to its original (to my mind, rightful) position in view of his connection with the building. Thanks for that David.

  3. The cinema was, if I remember well, the Glyn Cinema. And I seem to remember the entrance being on the other side (the left heading from Market St.), but I’m not 100% sure of that — certainly the staircase once inside the cinema was on the right hand side when facing the screen, and I think the screen was at the opposite end from Market Street, so that’s probably consistent with it being on the right had side of the passageway.

    • patricia bond says:

      Was,nt the cinema re named to the wedgewood ??. As i remember it as that…………….shame that the market hall went

    • K Millward Clark says:

      The screen faced Market street, the back stairs out of the cinema came out at the left of the rear of the Market next to the back entrance of Millwards. The ironmongers belonged to Norman Millward, he died pre 1951 and his widow May ran it.

  4. I obviously wrote the last comment before reading to the end of the article. Sorry!

    • Nigel Hilton says:

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks for your comments. Actually, I’d found a couple of old photos which appear to have solved the ‘entrance’ mystery & I’d edited the original post earlier today. It’s probably that your comments ‘crossed in the post’ so to speak with my editing.
      As one of my brothers was going out with a girl who worked there, I used to get in under-age to watch the old ‘H’ rated Horror films provided I sat near the front & kept quiet. I liked those with Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, The Mummy) & Bela Lugosi (Dracula, Wolfman). Plucking up the courage to get home in the dark afterwards was another matter though. Years later, when my girl-friend’s mother worked there, I’d occasionally watch from the projectionists room at the back, providing I helped pack the reels up afterwards.
      As an aside, are you related to Mr Francis who used to run the dental practice in Alexander Road by any chance?
      Thanks again for the input.

  5. brian clarke says:

    I was evacuated to pensarn at the start of the war, (1939) I was only very young when iwas taken to the cinema at abergele I remember going up a steep flight of stairs,at the top , the screen was behind you. the youngsters mostly sat near the front to get a decent view,cant remember much more except it was very noisy,but I did enjoy the experience.p.s. does anyone remember the thousands and thousands of oranges that were washed up on pensarn beach, about 1942.3? we thought we were in for the treat of a lifetime, but they were all ruined by the salt water! cymru am byth.

    • I’m too young to remember those oranges Brian, but it must have been a sight. Especially considering the Wartime scarcity of this exotic fruit.

    • Carol Teece says:

      Hello Brian,

      Sorry don’t remember the oranges, but your memory of the cinema is correct. My friend and I used to put the records on before and after films for Mr Trevor, for payment we could watch the film free!
      Indeed the horror films were great.

      My grandmother had evacuees and lived in Pensarn. She lived in Glendower, Marine Road.

      Can anyone remember the sheep being brought along the roads to the train station in Pensarn early in the morning?

  6. K Millward Clark says:

    Re the photos Nigel, they will be from the 60s as the veranda came down in the 60s due to the bus constantly knocking into it. My grandmother gave up the business in 1973.

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