“I can only say that I am delighted with this place, and indisposed and delicate as I am, I do not believe there is another place so good in the country. In fact a traveller like me is a sojourner here and has visited the South of France, Spain, Mexico, etc. and says he prefers the atmosphere to any of them.”
(Parry’s Railway Companion from Chester to Holyhead, 1848)
Rhyl in the early nineteenth century was a small village with a population of about 300. By the end of the mid 1830's it had become a fashionable watering place and many titled people took rooms for months at a time. Rhyl may boast modern facilities and attractions but at heart it is a very traditional seaside resort and has been welcoming visitors for over 150 years.
As you walk along the promenade, it's easy to imagine Victorian tourists in their top hats or crinoline enjoying the same air. These simple pleasures are what many families are now rediscovering. These pictures give you a taste of 'Sunny Rhyl', a book which provides a snapshot of the town’s history, including the fascinating people who lived there. Pick up a copy at the Tourist Information Centre.
"If you are ill, don’t take a pill. I’ll tell you something better still. For sunshine and air, weather that’s fair and health giving rest Prestatyn is best." This little poem was created by E.T. Williams the chairman of Prestatyn Public Health committee in 1920.
This picture depicts elegant Edwardians enjoying the beach in 1908.
This picture shows the queues outside the Scala cinema when it showed the North Wales premiere of King Kong in 1933.history.
As in Rhyl, visitors have been coming to Prestatyn for over 150 years, ever since the railway opened in 1848. Prestatyn is steeped in history, dating back to Roman times, when an offshoot settlement of the Twentieth Legion based in Chester in 120AD came to the area. The remains of three buildings have been discovered in 1984 on Melyd Avenue, the best preserved being a bathhouse and the other two probably workshops.
The scant remains of Henry II's motte and bailey castle which was built in 1157, but destroyed in 1168 by Owain Gwynedd, can be seen just off Prestatyn Road near the railway.
Christ Church, Prestatyn’s Parish Church dates back from1863. Within the churchyard are the graves of six choirboys who tragically drowned in 1868 and those of shipwrecked mariners who were washed up on the shore.
Pictures on these pages courtesy of Harry Thomas Archives