The Harry Thomas Prestatyn Archives
Middle Of High Street - 1880
A superb Victorian scene looking down the cathedral like quietness middle of Prestatyn High Street in 1880, the road on the left leads to Victoria Avenue and the the children in period clothes posing for the camera stand by a wall that is on land where Save With Dave is today.(formerly Masons the grocer's)
Corner Of High Street And Meliden - 1905
One of the more alluring features of Prestatyn throughout the halcyon days of the 1800's and early 1900's were these delightfully picturesque thatched-roofed cottages that adorned the High Street.The cottages seen here in 1905 stood on the corner of High Street and Meliden road (the catalogue shop stands here today) these cottages were lived in when candles and paraffin lamps were used for home lighting, and coal fires contributed to heating and cooking, lack of sewer connections also meant outside toilets.The ornate horse drinking trough can today be seen outside Pendre Gardens, next to The Cross Foxes. A captivating scene that linqers long in the memory.
Top Of High Street - 1885
Looking down from the top of Prestatyn High Street in 1885, a visually stunning window into a bygone age, packed with wonderful period detail that positively reeks of the past, capturing the tranquil, slumbersome innocence of Prestatyn over one hundred years ago.When the thatched-roofed cottage on the right was being demolished in 1934 a hoard of 519 silver coins were discoverd in the chimney by workmen, dating back to the reigns of Elisabeth 1 (1558 - 1603) James 1 (1603 - 1625) and Charles 1 (1625 - 1649).An inquest held on the hoard at Prestatyn's Council Chamber had decided on the coroner's judgement that a former resident of the cottage had hid the money for safe keeping around 1642, and who's ownership was unknown, therefore declaring the coins as a treasure trove, consequently the Britsh musuem acquired 113 coins and the national musuem of Wales receieved 50 coins.Fresh'N Healthy, Morricce Evans optician, Powells the jewellers, Chick interiors and Bargain Booze are located here today, changed a bit don't you think?
Middle Of High Street - 1895
Looking up the middle of Prestatyn High Street from the corner of Kings Avenue in 1895, in less hurried days of horse drawn vehicles, on the left are the shops of Dowell, tobacconist and newsagents, R W Simon grocer and confectioner and SS Jones.Today Beresford Adams estate agents, Principality building society and Blockbuster video are located here.
High Street - 1902
An evocative Edwardian scene looking up Prestatyn High Street in 1902, the oak trees behind the wall on the right is where the venerable 16th century Penisardre farmhouse stood, they were still herding cattle twice daily to and from the fields and through the High Street up until the 1930's much to the annoyance of the horse drawn vehicles of the day, although visitors relished the rural activities of the farm, notably the piglets who seemed to habitually escape into the street.Under strong protest Penisardre was demolished in 1964.A number of shops and businesses are seen along here today.The alluring building on the left with the clock in the tower opened in 1900, by 1913 Prestatyn cinematographer "Saronie" was showing films to the public here naming the cinema "La Scala", he ended his career in 1963.In 1999 the Scala closed for a Â£3.4 million development re - opening on February 3, 2009, we wish it good fortune and success!
Palladium And High Street - 1925
The 1,000 seater Palladium Cinema pictured here in 1925, was opened on May 15, 1921, in the days when a uniformed usher led people up a marble stepped entrance, and on admission were shown to their seats into a darkened cinema by torch carrying usherettes. Eighty six years old Fred Hobbs of Prestatyn recollects with fond memories as a young boy in the 1920's paying threepence for front row seats at the palladium with a gang of friends to see the films of Laurel and Hardy, The Keystone Cops, and Buster Keaton (all silent) Fred tells me that Alfred Stagg of Maes-Y-Groes, Prestatyn was the pianist who's music accompanied the films.The Palladium manager from 1932 up untill the 1940's was Harold Monday. The Palladium was demolished in 1978 long before it attained a building of any age, and had a strong sense of belonging in the town.Boots The Chemist stands here today.The trees are on the premises of Penisardre farm, demolished in 1964 the shopping precinct is seen here today.
Bottom Of High Street - c1880
The pub known today as Offa's Tavern at the bottom of Prestatyn High Street was formerly known as the Railway Hotel, pictured here in the 1880's alongside the hotel can be seen Talbot Terrace, derived from the earlier name of the pub the Talbot inn (Offa's Tavern car park is situated here today) the building changed it's name to the railway hotel with the opening of the nearby Chester to Holyhead railway in 1848. When horse-drawn vehicles were an everyday sight on the roads, they were available for hire from the extensive stables at the rear of the hotel, a horse-drawn landau on hire is seen here being returned to the railway hotel's stables.A 1913 guide book to Prestatyn advertised within it's pages:"railway hotel mews, well equipped landaus, pony and traps and coaches for hire, drives daily to places of interest, to see the beautiful scenery in the neighbourhood."
Middle Of High Street - 1890
A time all but forgotten life was less pressurized and more reassuring as we look up the middle of High Street, Prestatyn in the 1890's from Bethel Chapel (built in 1883) just seen to the right.Next to the Bethel were the white - washed spring bank cottages, the first cottage by the chapel had a large window installed and converted into a butchers shop run by Thomas Dowell and his son Williams, a slaughterhouse for the butchers was built in the back garden of the cottage. Tom Dowell the grandson recalled that in the 1930's he used to drive sheep from the back of a van up the entry ( seen today between the party shop and TJ's discount shop) and around the back to the slaughter house.When these cottages were demolished, three red bricked shops were built here in the early 1900's, occupied by Thomas Dowell the butcher, T.E. Hughes chemist, an E.T williams' wife who sold uniforms to maids that worked in a large number of well-to-do homes in the town (E.T Williams was headmaster of the national school in Bastion Road).Hayes Travel, Gail's kitchen cafe and the party shop today occupy the site where these cottages once stood.The building on the left is where Mackenzie Jones slicitor, and "Ramsam's Spice" Tandoori restaurant is today,
Sandy Lane - c1930's
A Rural appearing Sand Lane is pictured here in the 1930's from where Gwelfryn estate is today (the former site of the old 69 club, demolished in 1987) and looking in the direction of the Victoria hotel built in 1897 and seen in the distance.The trees on the right nearby the railway bridge erected in 1897, were planted here in 1904, and obtained a preservation order on them in 1951 (which indicates they are not to be cut down!) During the early 1900's when all home heating and cooking was accomplished by a coal fire, Sandy Lane became renowned for chimney fires, and it was the duty of Prestatyn's P.C. Nelson to deal with the vast number of complaints from residents saying that "Sandy Lane resembles a london fog", with houses covered with soot inside and out. A news account un the 1935 edition of the Prestatyn Weekly announced that "street scavenging was still to be seen in Prestatyn, where it was noticed that a little man with a box on wheels is going around all day, and was out of place in a progressive town like Prestatyn."
Bastion Road - 1903
A thought - provoking serene old postcard view of Marine Road in 1903 looking towards Bastion Road from today's Bodnant Juniors school (opened October 7, 1902), a quiet and undisturbed view regrettably lost forever , as a non - stop steam of traffic flows through here today.The horse - drawn vehicles that travelled the roads in those early years were neither a hindrence or a danger to what was a common sight of children playing in the roads and streets. Horeb the church on the left opened in the 1898 and closed as a church in 1986. The building next to the church was a private school, that subsequently moved to a purposely built new school in Fforddlas, opened in 1904 and called Pendre school.Advertised as "a day and boarding school and prepartory school for boys".Pendre school building was converted into flats in the 1980's. The building in the middle distance was J.Williams "The Stores", the very first self - service grocers shop in North Wales, at a time when grocery shops weighed and wrapped customers goods while they sat on chairs and waited for their order in the shop.Today Elite Design hairdressers is to be seen here.
Nant Hall Road - 1912
A postcard that captures a delightful sense of the past as we look up Nant Hall Road on a summer day in 1912, from where the library is today, the period bay windowed houses on the right were known as Fron Deg, Garfield and Rosebury, demolished in the early 1970's, Llys Bodnant flats built in 1977 stand here today. The field on the left with cast - iron fencing is today part of Iceland's car park (opened in 1985) and formerly Somerfields supermarket, demolished in 2008.Prior to the houses being built here Nant Hall road was once a mere footpath with fields either side where rabbit's were often seen running wild, the footpath was reached by an old stile, positioned at what is tday a road that turns off from the High Street besides Blockbusters video shop, which at the time was the site occupied by a dwelling called Red Rose Cottage.Note the gas lamp on the left, electric street lighting was first used to light the roads and streets of Prestatyn in 1927.
Bastion Road c1930's
Bastion Road is pictured here in the early 1930's in the days when the horse and trap, a two-wheeled horse drawn carriage ferried summer visitors to and from the beach along this stretch of road.The drivers of these traps, seen here, were debated over at a Prestatyn town council meeting in 1912 when residents complained about them scorching along Bastion road causing people to jump of the way, as there were no footpaths at the time, and some traps were to be seen extremely overcrowded with sometimes as many as six people in the trap, with the driver standing on the back step unable to see where he was going, when officially only three passengers were allowed. Bastion road was originally a sandy track, and in 1885 prior to the development of this road, a report stated: "the new bridge erected over the calvert by Mr Pochin is fast drawing to completion and so is the embankment adjoining it," "This a great boom for Prestatyn as the new bridge will enable visitors and locals alike to proceed to the shore without having to trudge through the sand which covers this much talked of road to the shore." The traffic lights were installed in 1933, while the land where the hoardings, seen on the right advertising a Cracie Fields film is where the prestigious White Rose Motors garage was built.The T.A. centre stands here today, a scene of contentment don't you think?
Fforddlas - c1920's
A postcard that harks back to a golden age of holidaying at Prestatyn and capturing the spirit of the time as we look up Fforddlas on a summer day in the 1920's when visitors and day trippers to the town from the smoke polluted industrial towns and cities of the North West and Midlands, the majority who laboured long hours in the factories relished Prestatyn's health giving ozone rich sea-air, and also the joys of an embracing stroll up the hillside for an exhilirating jaw-dropping view from the top. Throughout the 1930's onwards Manor Hourse midway up Fforddlas sold ice-cream and lemonade from a kiosk in their gateway, that was to become more than a welcoming sight to hot and thirsty hill-side walkers of the day.Manor house was later converted to a nursing home known today as Chamond's.On the approach to Fforddlas was to be seen Prospect tea garden and cafe run by Bertha Hickson, and due to it's idyllic settings and appetising home-made food, trade was brisk and alway's busy with hill-side walkers and local residents in what was one of Prestatyn's most popular cafe's with many customers on holiday returning year after year for their lunches and teas. When Bertha Hickson retired from Prospect Tea Garden, Hilda Probert took over the cafe in 1969 for four years, and recalls that on one occasion there were 60 customers enjoying their tea and scones on the lawn outside, and that if she had sold out of scones, as she regulary did, she would tell customers "if you wait 10 minutes i'll make you some!". Hilda was in her 90th year when she was more than happy to share her memories with me while at Abbey fields nursing home in Prestatyn in 2004.Today (2009) at 95 Hilda resides with her treasured memories at Rhyl nursing home.And no doubt many visitors to Prestatyn in those early years have their own fond memories of their embracing stroll up Fforddlas and the jaw-dropping view from above the hillside.
Station Road - 1912
Looking down Station Road towards Bastion Road in 1912, Prestatyn's most imposing building The Victoria Hotel pictured here was built in 1897 and is a striking testimony to the architect of the day, Richard E, Hughes of Rhyl.In the days when horse drawn vehicles travelled the roads the buildings at the rear of the hotel boasted spacious stables, coach houses, harness rooms, and accommodation for twenty horses fenced in a large stable yard.Today the hotel and the stable buildings have been converted into luxury apartments. The house on the right long since gone is where the prestigious Island coffee bar formerly stood, remember that popular meeting place for teenagers?, Hadley Interiors is located here today.The land on where the Victoria Hotel is built was once known as "Prestatyn Common", when Prestatyn at that time was only a small village by the sea with a population of 300.Simple village sports were held on "Prestatyn Common" during the middle of the 1800's when crowds assembled here to watch the men of Prestatyn and the surrounding districts participate in the sports which consisted of trials of strength, jumping competitions, bare knuckle fighting also sometimes too place, that is if the police didn't arrive first! and "pitch and toss" where the objective was to toss your coin as close to a wall as possible, the winner collecting the losing players coins from the ground.
Gronant Road - c1920's
A time all but forgotten showing the approach to Gronant Road from the top of High Street, that has changed considerably from this 1920's picture postcard view, save for Trinity Methodist church seen on the corner of Pendre Avenue, built by John Myers and son of Chester and opened on July 14, 1925.The building on the right was called Top Pentre belonging to farmer and coal merchant "John Y Glo" (John the coal). Miss Vega Batters of Prestatyn recollected as a young girl seeing the eighty year old farmer in the doorway of his home Top Pentre wearing a deerstalkers hat with the earpieces tied on top of his head, and smoke constantly rising from his clay pipe that jutted from his white bearded jaw, and added that the farm buildings once stood where Trinity Church is today.In the 1930's Top Pentre became the offices of Frank Jewell estate agent, auctioneer and collector of taxes! The smaller building adjoing Top Pentre were the premises of plumber and glazier Osman Williams.Both buildings some of the last vestiqes of old Prestatyn were subsequently demolished, and the land where Top Pentre stood was developed in to what is today Pendre Gardens, with a memory corner to those soldiers who lost their lives in the two world wars, and opened in 1951 and Duttons Garage is today on the site where Osman Williams plumbers and glaziers once stood.The saying that every picture tells a story certainly applies to this endearing snap shot from the past, and a superb record of the way we were.
Top Of High Street - 1925
A leisurely, unrushed and a tranquil bygone day at the top of Prestatyn High Street on a summer day in 1925, a part of the town that was once called "Pendre Square" that became a favourite meeting place during the summer, where many of the town's residents would congregate and sit on cast iron benches to exchange chitchat and observe for entertainment and their leisure the local characters emerging inebriated from the Cross Foxes pub nearby. On the left where the Catalogue shop is today is the habitually visited Savoy Cafe(opened in 1919) and was advertised as "the most luxurious cafe in wales" and the centre of social activity in Prestatyn, where the local gossip of the day was scrutinized over a cup of tea or coffee and a toasted teacake, at what became known as tea dances here, where a dance floor was accessible for those who wished to dance with their partners.Mrs Mcfarlane provided a tune or two on the piano accompanied by an accordion and a saxaphone player. The waitresses at the savoy were always smartly dressed in white lace aprons and caps, the Savoy Cafe is fondly remembered to this day by many of the Prestatyn people who visited this very popular establishment when it's welcoming doors where always open.The garage below the Savoy was Brookes Garage trading then as Prestatyn Motors.