A few years ago I was involved in the development of a community film with TAPE which brought together memories of Rhyl in its heyday.
See an insight into those times here… Rhyl Reflections
Came across this video taken by a discerning holidaymaker from the top of the slide at the Ocean Beach fairground.
I reckon, given some of the sites featured that it was taken in the seventies, which to me feel like last week. I was in Rhyl yesterday at the Hub café, just the other side of the river estuary from where this film starts. So much has changed.
A lot of investment has gone into the town, mostly focussed on the promenade, with a refurbished theatre, a new Sun Centre SC2, most places to eat and a number of hotels open, or under development.
The next stage of the development is the town centre and the Savoy Hotel, former home of the Bistro, and the Queen’s Building. The persistent rumour is that there are still gondolas and part of the underground canal that once was rumoured to stretch past Aquarium Street. No doubt the redevelopment will reveal what, if anything is left.
Anyway, enjoy the film and see how many places featured in the film crop up in the Reso book…
It started as a homage to childhood really, my childhood, growing up on the Reso council estate in the seaside town of Rhyl in the nineteen sixties.
It was a time when my most serious concerns were, in seasonal order, would it snow when forty of my family made their way to the Fun Fair on Easter Monday, would the temperature in Rhyl outdoor baths ever top 55F, would I be picked for the annual Gwynfryn Avenue 150 a side football match against Rhydwen Drive and where was I going to find the two shillings a day needed to feed my autumnal firework habit.
It quickly turned into something else.
In a feat of memory that seems to rival the Rain Man, I seem to have stored forensic detail of my childhood which others have forgotten……
… the starched feel of the antimacassars in our Welsh chapel-going neighbours’ front room where I sat playing with the snow dome bought on a Sunday school visit to Llandudno
… the metallic clunk of the stamping machine in the railway station on which you could print out rude messages of sixteen letter lengths, on which, I, at the age of eight, managed “Bum. titty bum bu” because I miscalculated the spaces and the punctuation
…the intensely warm glow of a family Christmas tea at my Nain’s when twenty of my cousins would gather around the extended table to savour meats and pickles of cosmic variety and Corona lime and dandelion and burdock pop which was as flat as a witches’ tit, all the time sweating from the ship’s boiler room fire that my Nain had stoked up in the grate, inches behind me.
…the wisdom of my mother, who reassured me that the reason we didn’t have chocolate biscuits in our house was because “I’d only eat them…” an explanation that kept me happy until I was thirteen, and began wondering what else you’d do with biscuits!
…the twenty minute rule of my dad, which he reassured us, was more than enough time to have the immersion heater on for our weekly bath (whether we needed it or not!) in advance of watching the Beatles appearing on Sunday Night at the London Palladium
It seemed that my childhood was in fact everyone else’s childhood. Deeply rooted in that sixties decade when, despite the threat of world mutually assured destruction and random violence from the likes of Steve Caroli on the estate, everything seemed possible.
Many lived the same dream, and many today wished they had.