Tag Archives: Funfair

A Sunday School trip to Rhyl in 1949

Rhyl was a Mecca for the day trip from clubs and works, schools and Sunday schools and the second half of this film shows a Sunday School trip by coach to Rhyl Funfair in 1949… innocent days!

Brynsiencyn (Anglesey) Trip to Rhyl Funfair in 1949

The BFI caption reads:

Members of the Women’s Institute [‘Sefydliad y Merched’] enjoy a fun-day in the village of Brynsiencyn, Anglesey, which includes a drama in fancy dress (including a striking sheep costume), a game with umbrellas and balls, a treasure hunt and refreshments. A local GP records this event – which takes place in a fellow GP’s garden at ‘Llwyn Idris’ – and also the chapel trip to Rhyl to sample the delights of the Marine Lake fairground.

‘Llwyn Idris’ was the home of The Reverend John Williams and his wife and also provided a separate home for his daughter, her husband (GP Dr Alun Griffiths) and their 3 sons. The Women’s Institute fun-day in the garden may have been an annual event. It was some years later that a Welsh-language alternative to the WI was established, after the WI decreed in 1967 that English was its official language. Welsh had traditionally been used in a number of branches in Wales so a break-away movement was formed that would operate in Welsh only as ‘Merched y Wawr’ (Women of the Dawn). Both the WI and MW are still going strong. Many members of the Brynsiencyn WI are seen on the trip to Rhyl, a popular venue for such excursions.



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Rhyl Funfairs 1959

This video encapsulates the Fairs as I remember them from family outings.

Look out for the Gaff… the walkway up between the two fairs where Les Williams had his stall and budgies – I managed to work a week there before succumbing to the flu!

The Satellite, the fast moving rocket ships, was a particular favourite. The Mad Mouse was a particularly vicious ride – see how the riders are jerked around the corners…

Thanks to Michael Theaker who produced this little gem…

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Simpler days: Rhyl Promenade and funfair in 1977…


A smashing video from the North Wales Nostalgia group outlining a day out in Rhyl in 1977!


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The wooden roller coaster at the Marine Lake – my nemesis!

Being a seaside resort, Rhyl had two funfairs up until the late sixties. The were both places of miracles and wonder.

The upper one was called Ocean Beach and, facing the sea, was a boisterous, windy and breathtaking affair!

The lower one was centred on the  Marine Lake and featured the RMR miniature railway powered by four small gauge steam engines. There were stalls and merry-go-rounds; small cars driven on a wooden rack; a carousel; an electric car racing track; a Tunnel of Love; a Hall of Mirrors; an indoor horse riding track and a rickety wooden Roller Coaster which is shown in this film.

When all my family, aunties, uncles and cousins, presided over by my Nain Conway went to the fairs on our traditional Easter Monday visit, we were given two shillings and sixpence each for rides.

Suffering terribly from vertigo, I had the indignity to pretend that I was saving my money for the dodgems, whilst everyone else went on the wooden roller coaster. I never heard of an accident there but the structure never gave me any confidence as the cars shuddered around it as what, to me, seemed like amazing speed. One year I was coaxed on to it, against my better judgment, by shouts of “chicken” from my younger cousins.

The terror of that ride is etched in my memory … the ratcheting up of the flimsy wooden car up the ridiculously angled incline, the dilapidated state of the track and safety fencing with its rot and flaking paint! The brief hiatus as the car was released from the metal cable and all went silent and then the rumble of the wheels as gravity took over to propel us around  initial corner and launch us into a headlong rush around a mad series of dives and turns. The whole ride shaking and vibrating with our impetus. My cousins, hands in the air screaming and  me hanging on with white knuckles to the gaudily coloured safety rail.

Despite the horrendous speed, it took an eternity for the ride to eventually come to a stop and for us to be ejected from the car by the next load of thrill seekers.  I was still shaking when we went to Sidolis for our customary ice cream a couple of hours later!

If you think I an over egging this story, the log flume which can be seen in the background in this short film was taken down after a fatal accident early in the twentieth century.

My dad always held the view that you shouldn’t go to the fair on the first day of the new season as they were using the customers to test the rides!

Rhyl Marine Lake Roller Coaster


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The Horse Ride at the Marine Lake


This little gem turned up on Facebook and made me shudder… it shows the indoor horse ride at the Marine Lake – possibly a unique attraction!

Effectively it was a ramp strewn with straw and horse dung set against a pained canvas of a pastoral scene. You’d pay your sixpence, mount up and terminally bored horses would walk you up the ramp, across and down the ramps (I’m simplifying here).

I was never a great fan of horses but I had spent some time buttering up the large grey horse with carrots every time I passed the attraction. He reminded me of Silver the Lone Ranger’s  horse. To think I half-inched three penny bits from the tea tin where my dad kept any change bagged up in green paper bags for the bank, for a ride on this horse.

I gave up my place in the queue to ensure my arrival coincided with the big grey being available, and climbed the wooden steps to mount up. The horse turned round and, seeing me smiling slightly uneasily, gave me a look of disdain. He started up with a jolt as the man was giving me instructions, explaining what not to do. I craned my head round to try to take on his words of wisdom, but the horse had decided that I was having no part in the following proceedings.

The grey horse alternatively sped up and slowed down as we continued to climb upwards through a sequence of sharp bends. I can remember my left, then right knee being ground into the post every time we turned.  At the highest point of the climb the horse stopped abruptly and then moved right up against the fence which was all that separated me from the thirty foot drop. Slowly and painfully he pressed harder and harder against the fence until my right leg had its checkerboard pattern printed in red welts into it. The way the horse increasingly applied pressure was calculated and premeditated. At one point it turned its head and I swear it smiled.

I learnt never to trust horses after that, especially bored horses doing routine things. Every time I passed that ride after that I could see that tatty grey horse pick up his ears and eye-ball me. Sometimes he would throw his head back and whinny as if to tell the others, “That’s him, that’s the idiot there, who thought he could ride me like a cowboy!”

It was a very poor experience in exchange for a sixpence, and that was before I factored in the rollicking I received when Dad had the embarrassment of being accused of “short changing” the bank when he took the green paper bags in the following week.

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