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RHYL

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 33112

Map Reference SJ08SW

Grid Reference SJ0086581430

Unitary (Local) Authority Denbighshire

Old County Flintshire

Community Rhyl

Type of Site TOWN

Broad Class CIVIL

Period Multiperiod

Site Description Rhyl is a seaside resort town in Flintshire, North Wales, situated on the coast at the mouth of the river Clwyd. The first phase of Rhyl's development as a town was between c.1836 and c.1850 after the sale of land for building by the Rhuddlan Marsh Embankment Trust between 1807 and 1827. Rhyl was designated as a separate parish in 1844. Its fine sands and accessibilty by towns such as Liverpool made it a popular Victorian tourist destination. The Chester and Holyhead Railway, opened in 1848, had a station at Rhyl, and this brought visitors from London.
Buildings of interest in Rhyl included a 'Promenade Pier' demolished in the 1970s, and the Apollo Cinema, originally opened in 1937 as the Odeon (becoming the Astra in 1969), and designed by Harry Weedon, architect, of Birmingham, and an important example of Art Deco cinema design - possibly the best of its kind in Wales.
As Rhyl rapidly developed as a resort, it was necessary to extend the existing church - the transepts were extended to their present notably long form in 1850 and 1852 - and then to supplement it by the construction of a new church devoted to English services - the adjacent church of Saint Thomas was built 1860-9. The Church of the Holy Trinity remained the parish church, and is still used principally for Welsh services.
After 1887 Rhyl Railway Station was enlarged because of the greatly increased traffic resulting from the town’s boom as a holiday resort.
References:
Cadw listed buildings database.
'Rhwngdwy-Clydach - Ryton', A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1849), pp. 356-368.
RCAHMW, 11 November 2009.

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Rhyl is a Victorian seaside resort and watering place on the north-east coastline of Wales. Boasting a long, sandy beach and an ideal location off the A5 coast road of north Wales, Rhyl developed as a new town in the 1830s and 1840s largely due to the rise of sea bathing tourism. Its close proximity to Liverpool and Manchester quickly made it a popular destination with tourists from the north-west of England, while the arrival of the railway in 1848 introduced visitors from London. The town rapidly enlarged and improved, providing all the facilities required of a seaside destination including a 2,115ft long pier, an artificial boating lake, pleasure rides and miniature railway.

According to a guidebook written by Mark Luke Louis, an immigrant from France, in 1854, Rhyl boasted one of the most modern train stations, finest baths, libraries and reading rooms, not to mention elegant hotels lining the seafront. In addition to praising these modern holiday amenities, Alphonse Esquiros from France also highlighted the sight of the mountains of Snowdonia further inland creating a most picturesque backdrop for this coastal town.

By the second half of the century, Rhyl’s reputation as a fine holiday destination had travelled far and wide, and coasting steamers from Liverpool and Lancashire docked here routinely. In the twentieth century the town showed off the world’s first passenger hovercraft service. Thanks to the town’s modern layout, healthy climate and broad offer of popular attractions at affordable rates, another French writer, D’Arcis, praised Rhyl as an ideal destination for families and a children’s paradise, which came alive every summer. He was particularly fond of the beautiful and safe beaches, the orchestras playing across town and the many puppet plays which were on show for children.

Record updated as part of the AHRC-funded project 'Journey to the Past: Wales in historic travel writing from France and Germany'.
R. Singer (Bangor University) and S. Fielding (RCAHMW), 2017.

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