Abergele in Shorts
-readers' messages via email

Contents

NEW: Pandora's Box in the old days
NEW: The Harp smithy and Llanfair TH baptisms

Horse Market
74 photos
An unusual companion

A collection
Llanddulas Bombed

Jackie's Stables
Happy memories
The Birm and the Bombs
40 in New Zealand

Pandora's Box

Bertie Babs
Playnies and Mad Mouse
Good Friday Picnic
Harold, Dump 123 and Floods
Llanfair TH website
Tower Hill Easter Picnics
From Abergele to Chicago
Goodalls
Old North Wales Photos Website

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Pandora's Box
"I was in the shop one day with my Daddy ( I was about six) and it was at the time when there was an ice cream called FUNNY FACE - a little lad came in & said " Can I have a funny face please ?" so quick as a flash Dad pulled a funny face and made the little lad laugh out loud for ages !" (PHOTOS AND FULL STORY) - Jan Watson (nee Bowdler), Abergele, May 2006.

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The Harp smithy

"There was a smithy in the yard behind The Harp public house,where I enjoyed watching the blacksmith heating the metal, hammering it into shape, then fitting it onto the horse's hoof. What an assault on the senses-- the sight of the glowing coals, the loud clanging of the hammer shaping the metal, and the rather unpleasant smell of the horseshoe burning the horse's hoof -- it was all action!" (READ MORE...)
- Cenys Watkins , Cheltenham, May 2006

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Cenys Watkins
"Until I was seven (1937) we lived in Dundonald Avenue, and I remember sitting in the front bedroom window with my mother, watching the horses coming from the station for the market on the days when there was a horse fair. They were a wonderful sight with their manes plaited with coloured ribbons and their tails tied up with more ribbons...."
- Cenys Watkins aged 76 (formerly Cenys Roberts) , Cheltenham, April 2006
This story is continued, with two old photographs of Abergele on this page.

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74 photos
"I read your X-Files article and it ran shivers up my spine. I'm from the USA but I visited Wales in 1999. My last day was spent in Abergele and we trekked along the Gele River, very similar to your description. I have about 450 pics total of all areas of North Wales. On my first trip to Abergele we walked a bit and then got a taxi to Bodelwydden Castle. These are the few pics in Abergele on that day. On my second trip to Abergele we went to St. Michael's Church then started our trek up the Gele." - Sally Hindley, St David's Day 2006.

See Sally's photo gallery of pictures of Abergele

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An unusual companion
"Have just enjoyed browsing your website and thought you might like to share a somewhat offbeat memeory I have of Abergele.
Some time during the late 1940's I came to Abergele with my parents for a holiday. We stayed with my Auntie Norah and Uncle Jack (Readey). Uncle Jack was at that time the manager at your local castle (which I shall not attempt to spell !)
I recall Dad going off one evening for his customary visit to the pub (I'm not sure which one). He returned home with a strange story. He had been sitting at the bar and got into conversation with another holidaymaker who evidently shared dad's interest in gardening. They had been in animated discussion about their vegetable gardens for some time when a new arrival to the bar approached and asked the man if he could have his autograph. Which elicited the rather curt response 'I don't give autographs.'
Not surprisingly Dad was greatly intrigued by this, wondering who he was talking to but not liking to ask !. He remained until the man left and enquired of the barman 'Do you know who that was that I was talking to? 'Oh yes' replied the barman, 'That was Albert Pierrepoint, the hangman.'"
- David Marks, February 2006.

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A collection
"I have over 1000 postcards and photos of Abergele. I started to collect them over 25 years ago. Some of the pictures date back to the 1890s. I know your dad very well he was of of my teachers in school. My uncle worked at the school as the caretaker. His name: Wally Dichfield. I might send you some pictures of Abergele sometime in the future. I have got loads of items from Abergele - not only postcards - guidebooks going back to to the late 1890s, also billheads, letters, postal history, old signs, items made out of pot..." - Mike Roberts, March 2006.

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Llanddulas Bombed
"Looked into the site this weekend, so pleased to see you have done an update...and used my picture! I sent the link to my sister Ann, and we both read the other new stories whilst chatting on MSN. Between us, we knew 4 of the people who wrote them! On reading the story about the bombs on Highfield Park my sister began to tell me about my Dad's house in Llandulas being bombed at that time...I didn't even know my Dad had ever lived in Llandulas, l certainly didn't know they had been bombed. Coincidentally, she had met a guy in Bala on Saturday who had lived above the Hesketh pub at that time and had had a conversation about it with him...Spooky!! Thanks for taking the time to update the site. Its always lovely to read additions...and thanks to one of those stories I now know a little bit more about my dear old Dad that I didn't know just a few days ago!" - Juliet Roberts, March 2006.

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Jackie's Stables
Found your site a year or so ago and again today where I noticed you have added even more information and pictures. I lived in Abergele from 1962 until 1976 when my family moved to Worthing in West Sussex.
The stories and pictures on your site have made me smile and brought back lots of memories. I can remember spending hours in the park although as I got older spent most of my time horseriding. Do you remember Jackie's stables (actually in the back garden of her house) which were in the road on the other side of the park? I haven't been back to Abergele but do intend to one day.
Sara Baird (nee Stringer), January 2006.

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Happy memories
longswing
(click on this image from Juliet image to see larger version)

I have visited your site many times over the past few years, and it always raises a giggle and brings back many happy memories. Just been reading it again tonight as I was looking for some pictures of The floods that occured in 1971 to show my son who is learning about rivers in school! Love your Dad's pics of The Playnies...that witches hat!!! The link to Dave Williams' site was great...theres a piture of my Godfather Mr Trefor Roberts! I lived in Glanrafon during those floods. I was 4 years old. I remember my brother and I seeing a shed floating down the river....I thought I was dreaming. You may remember my brother...or maybe my sisters: Ann, Susan & Dennis Roberts. As I said, we lived in Glanrafon back then.
Here is one of the few pictures (unfortunately) I have of me in the Playnies. It was taken in 1968 when I was 16 months old!! As you can see, I'm on the 'Long Swing' with my Lovely old Dad (Dennis) and sister Sue who was 13 years old at the time.

Juliet Roberts, November 2005.

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The Birm and the Bombs
Just been reading some of your items on Abergele on the Internet - excellent !. No mention of my parent's sweet shop on Rhuddlan Road, the Birmingham Cafe and affectionately known as "The Birm". My parents, Louisa and Llewelyn Jones moved there from Colwyn Bay in 1936 and later converted the house next door to an adjacent shop. (now a chip shop). The combined shops were the unofficial tuck shops for what was at first the Abergele County School and later the Abergele Grammar School (now Emrys ap Ewan) up until my parents retirement in the early 1960's. It was also a favourite with the children from the Abergele Secondary School in Llwyn Morfa. Of course the shop sold other commodities as well as chocolates and sweets mainly groceries, tobacco and fancy goods. In the late thirties and during WW2 it also had a cafe at the rear of the shop and was popular with the local farmers on a Saturday night and on the Abergele Fair Days. It was also a member of the Bedford Drivers Club, a favourite stop for long distance trunker drivers. I noted the last time I passed through Abergele the original shop has now been converted back to living accommodation.

Having lived in Abergele from 1936 until I left home for University in 1947 I remember the characters you mention (Bertie Babs and Harold) and also many more including Christmas Rush and "Aberdaron".

I also witnessed the bombs being dropped by a German aircraft and which destroyed properties in Highfield Park.

I also remember seeing the Thetis submarine with its stern sticking out of the water in Llandudno Bay in 1939 and I have a very interesting story to relate about the German Dornier bomber that crashed in Llandudno during WW2. (I saw it just before it crashed)

On leaving Abergele in 1947 I went to the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff and qualified in medicine there in 1952. I was also a House Physician there soon after qualifying.

Dr. Bryan Jones, Stockport (age 77), October 2005

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40 in New Zealand

Hi I found your sight today and it was great to look at the old pics. They brought back memories for me. It is my 40th birthday in two day so it a good bit of nostalgia for me. I went to Emrys ap Iwan School in the 80s I know live in New Zealand

Sharron, August 2005

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Pandora's Box
I LIVED IN ABERGELE MOST OF MY CHILD HOOD WENT TO SCHOOL HAD MY FIRST JOB, THE USUAL I LOVE WHAT YOU HAVE DO HERE, I REMEMBER THE FLY OVER BEING BUILT AND I REMEMBER PANDORA'S BOX IT WAS GREAT ,I NOW TELL MY CHILDREN WHAT A GREAT SWEET SHOP IT WAS ,AND IF YOU REMEMBER THEY USED TO LET YOU SAVE A FEW PENNIES A WEEK SO YOU COULD GET YOUR MUM OR DAD A GIFT,THEY WERE GREAT TIMES, MY DAD WAS BILLY GREENOUGH WHO WAS VERY WELL KNOWN JUST HAS YOUR DAD, HE WAS A GREAT INFLUENCE ON ME, ALL THE BEST KEEP GOING REGARDS,

MAXINE GREENOUGH, June 2004

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Bertie Babs

Would Bertie Babs be the same Bertie who in later years - 70s and 80s - used to prop up the wall of the George? If so, he was my Uncle Bertie who lived with his mother in High Street in the old cottages (long gone).

Ron Brown, January 2004

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Playnies and Mad Mouse

Hi, I’m interested in Abergele bits and pieces, my Dad was born and brought up in New Street and Uncles and Aunts still live there. I saw your site in browsing, it brought back lots of memories, especially Parc Gele and the Witch’s Hat. There was another thing like a bit of torture equipment, 2 poles, chains from the top with big rings at the end. You could pretend to be a gymnast and fall from a great height onto unyielding tarmac! The main thing I was contacting you about was the Mad Mouse as my collection has a picture of it. Hope it’s as you remembered. Regards,

Phil Hughes

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Good Friday Picnic

As Easter approaches I am always reminded of what was one of my highlights of the year. I don't know the origins of the custom started but Good Friday was always 'picnic' day on Tower Hill for a sizeable part of the community. There were always a number of family groups but also organised parties. I used to go with the Cubs & Scouts. The most memorable days are the ones led by the Cub leaders namely Mrs Carhill. I am sure every individual has there own detailed memories but mine were as follows. We would treck through town, with pots pans and bags of provisions , via Glanravon to Blue Bell Lane, through the fields and to the top of the Hill. Each visit included a compulsory visit to the Tower which was always a little disappointing as there was never anything inside or around as evidence of great battles or past military adventure. Then it was a camp in the pine woods, the building of dens, a fire and the cremation of sausage and beans which were devoured despite their disgusting state. All this was followed by games of hide and seek in the trees. I think the habit started to die off in the 70's and I am not sure if it goes on at all now. By the way the chip shop in Market Street was owned for many years by 'Mr Owen'. When he retired it was taken over by the Basson family. When Mr Owen had the shop there was a rather large brown bakelite clock on the rear counter. As well as telling the time there was a little ship in a display window that went up and down as if at sea in a storm. It used to fascinate me. (Incidentally if you were short of money Mr Owen was always good for a bag of 'Scratchings')

Rob Burslem, March 2002

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 Harold, Dump 123 and Floods

I used to live in Market Place (No10) before they were pulled down. (Your Black Hole)... then moved to Maes Canol. I plead not guilty to knowledge of the murder of any birds. The Davies gang: is that the large Jones Davies Family from Number 9. I did however spend much time being chased by Harold and playing 'Dump 123' in the Planies. I now live on the Wirral with my family. Since Mum died I do not get to Abergele so much. Do you remember the Bee (Cattle) Market each Monday and every 4th Wednesday? I used to be an auction runner there many years ago. I was in Pen-Y- Bont pub when flood came one Saturday afternoon and witnessed the Ford Anglia floating under the bridge and jamming, then the wall into Glanravon collapsing and torrents of water flooding into the Gwindy. (We sat on the bar grabbing bottles of beer as they floated by!)

Rob Burslem, March 2002

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Llanfair TH website

I'm an old abergele lad, ex pupil of you know who (yes willie welsh). Have a look at www.llanfairth.co.uk. Very interesting site. Contains nice bits of history and local news and pictures etc. If your dad still enjoys walking, plenty of public footpaths to try out and maybe write a report for the site as I did. Vague memories of yourself. Vivid memories of some of the stories you relate to: the Tunnel sweet shop, calling in to see Toffie Jones for 2oz of wine gums or 2oz of chocolate chewing nuts. Brilliant. Hope you enjoy llanfairth. Regards,

Gwyn Jones-Davies, February 2002

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Tower Hill Easter Picnics

 I have just read Abergele shorts it brought back many memories although i think i am much older than you i went to the Dinorben secondry school and was taught by your dad Willie Welsh among others as was my older sister we were Jennifer and sylvia Huxtable then.i used to play in the plainies and we used to go up tower hill on good friday for picnics the old hospital building at the top of the rocks we used to call the glass house there used to be an old air raid shelter next to it but i never went in it i was to scared at the bottom of the rocks there was a cave called Peters cave and my mam said a man used to live there my nain used to work as a cook in the old hospital plas ucha i think it was called. We lived in maes canol we were the second family to move to the new estate i was four so that would be 1951-2 i dont remember a diddy davis though the hard ones were the Pillings Tegwyn and Jimmy. hope you will write some more Abergele shorts soon.

S Ashworth nee Huxtable, February 2002.

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From Abergele to Chicago

Fantastic! There I was pretending to work and up poped the Abergele in Shorts web site, have no idea how it came up but very glad it did. Fate? A warm welcome to you on this cold Chicago day, 14 inches of snow over night and more to come today. Now living here with my wife Christina after a 3 year period in Switzerland. Long story. Who ever thought of doing this Abergele in Shorts web site top marks, a great idea and glad fate played a hand in me seeing it. Kindest regards to all back in Abergele, or where ever you are around the globe. PS I think Adam Parr is a policeman in Boston, USA.

 Dyfed Richards, January 2002

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Goodalls

Try and think back to when, across from the Grammar school, the sweet shop there was called Birmingham Cafe and just along from there was the old shop at the end of Jenkin street. I seem to think it was called Goodalls. All I can think of from that shop was the old mobiles from PG tips used to hang and old man Goodall behind the counter.

Steve Wells, February 2001

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Old North Wales Photos Website

We are trying hard to launch our site which is a website of many (when finished thousands) of old photographs of North Wales - including eventually all of the area. Our aim is to preserve the pictorial history of the area. I wonder if you would be good enough to put a link to our site on your website. We believe it will be of interest to many of your visitors: "http://www.anglesey.info/times_past.htm - Times Past Photographic Archives - preserving the pictorial history of North Wales." Kind Regards,

Phil Evans, September 2005

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Thanks to everyone who's written with their own memories of Abergele.
GarethMorlais (melyn@bigfoot.com) September 2005


Abergele-related links

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(c) Gareth Morlais 2002

Abergele in Shorts - by Gareth Morlais
Bally Ballet
The Birds
Lucky Bag
Hywel the Barber
Dai Magic
Pandora's Box
Ellesmeres
The Playnies
The Tunnel
Bee Filling Station
X Files
The Log Cabin
Five Childhood Puzzles
More Childhood Puzzles
Blow or Suck?
The Funeral
Queuing
Kiss-Kiss-Corner
Comics' Day
Bertie Babs
Haunted House
Mad Mouse
Toys
Tomorrow's World
Superman