When I’ve spoken to friends who grew up elsewhere I quickly become aware that there were some unique experiences for children in Rhyl which others did not share.
These experiences would include hearing the Lifeboat Maroons go off to summon the lifeboat crew, the wicker chairs on the beach and the bells of donkeys passing through the town in the morning and evening having worked their day carrying holiday makers on the beach. I’ve had many a raised eye when I’ve spoken of my time “casing”. Many though I was a professional recce stooge for burglars.
The lad pictured here epitomises the well prepared caser. The job involved preparing an old pram to be able to carry the luggage of holiday makers from the station to their flat, or hotel. We would gather early in the morning in the summer holidays outside the railway station, much to the anger of the local taxi drivers and tout for trade off the incoming trains. Being a naïve sort of cove, I failed, as the more businessman like casers did, to negotiate a fare before accepting the cases. I once walked to Towyn with a large pile of cases and was given for my troubles a handshake from a Yorkshire family who either mistakenly thought I was supplied free by the Town Tourist Board, or were too mean to pay me. More canny operators negotiated both a price and agreed the destination, rejecting long walks for mugs like me to pick up.
I always resented doing the casing as I was more interested in staying at the station to “cab” the steam engines… I’ll write a separate entry on “cabbing” but lads of a certain age will know exactly what I mean!
I’m not sure where this lad is taking the cases, perhaps, like me, he has been done over by a mean Yorkshireman, but heading in that direction, passing the Pavilion Theatre, the next stop will be the beach and a high tide!