When I tell people that growing up as a child we went to Rhyl every year for the family holiday, I do get some odd looks. Sadly, the Denbighshire coastal town does have a bad reputation among many.
However, apart from the fact that it’s not all doom and gloom in the present, as some would like to believe, nevertheless I’m talking fifty years ago ago. Back then, Rhyl was a thriving seaside resort, that attracted holidaymakers in their droves.
People of my generation – and beyond – will remember the ‘industrial fortnight’ when industry closed for a couple of weeks in the summer. With things being much more flexible these days, it’s probably not something that younger people would necessarily even be aware of.
Coming from the Black Country, where my dad worked at Baggeridge Brick, we joined the masses as they headed in numbers to Rhyl. It was such a popular destination for people from our area, that they even sold the Express & Star there. In the days before the internet, it was a way of keeping in touch with what was going on at home.
Coming from a non-car family, we always went by train, getting on at Wolverhampton. Upon arrival at Rhyl we were met by groups of young boys, who had built trolleys from old pram wheels and wooden boards, that they used to take your suitcases to where you were staying.
It was a way of earning some pocket money for the lads and it helped lugging all the gear through the town. Talking of gear though, along with my own clothes went my fishing tackle. As an angling-mad child, there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to do some sea fishing while on holiday.
I wasn’t kitted out for beach fishing, as I was improvising very much by using coarse tackle. However, that’s where the River Clwyd estuary was perfect. The area around the road bridge was ideal for the gear that I had and I caught numerous eels and flounders over the years.
The lead image is the earliest angling-related photograph that I have in my possession. I’m not sure what year but it would either be late sixties or possibly early seventies. It was taken just above the bridge and it was one particular year that we went on holiday with other family members.
That’s me in the hat, along with my cousins Andrew and Tracey, who are saying it was ‘this big’. I can quite clearly remember my dad taking the photo and telling them to say that. Half a century ago and it seems like it was yesterday.
I love memories and until we are back on track, once the lockdown is over, I’m going to share some fishing ones regularly here on my website. There’s more in the video below, but if you haven’t already, why not subscribe to blog updates via the option towards the base of the page.