There was a long history of both whole counties and certain industries taking holidays en masse in Rhyl, as in other northern seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Skegness. Wakes weeks, when whole towns shut down their major industry, coach and train excursions, and most importantly, the entitlement to two weeks paid holiday a year opened up the seaside holiday trade and it enjoyed a golden fifty years until economic prosperity allowing for foreign travel, car ownership, and a change in the pattern of industries significantly reduced it by the late seventies and early eighties.
In Rhyl, if they were not accommodated by local guest houses, or bunked up in houses on the Reso, Derbyshire Miners could spend their holiday at the Miners’ Camp on Marsh Road where a whole range of entertainments were thrown in, including a swimming pool and night time cabarets. The camp backed onto the Reso and it only required a quick hop over the wooden sleepered railway bridge, where I did a lot of train spotting, to be at the Funfair and up onto the West End Promenade.
A Crosville double decker bus was also available to take the holiday makers over the H Bridge and into town – this was no mean feat given how narrow the top of the H Bridge was!
This video certainly brought back some bittersweet memories! Some of my friends had parents that worked in the camp and that got them, and their mates, a free pass into the pool. Others worked there for the summer season, waiting on, changing beds or helping with the entertainment and they were a tight knit crew by all accounts. I was never so lucky, but when the wind was blowing from the sea, the sound of fun and games wafted over the Reso and I was acutely aware that I was missing out on a great time.
The camp is now no more, replaced by housing that obliterated its footprint. The miners have long gone, victim of Thatcher’s policy to eradicate the industry. But when the North wind blows you can still hear the laughter and splashing in the air.
Thank you Graham Pritchard for recording such wonderful memories.