Monday, 26 March 2012


Vol2 – Chap4 – part 5 –post 53

clip_image002Jacqueline and I were married on 15th December 1956, it was blowing very hard that day which upset things a little, but we completed the day without any major mishaps. It was not exactly a society wedding, but Len was a big fish in a little pond so to speak, which meant he had to be seen to do this social thing properly. The St Thomas church was a large and impressive edifice almost as opulent as a full cathedral with the main entrance on the West side facing Russell Road, the main road into town, the alter being at the North end which faced Bath Street where stood the guest house where I had spent so many happy holidays with my aunt and uncle.

This is a picture taken diagonally across the North/West corner of the church showing Plas-Collen which is to the right of the gap between the houses.







On the 24th May 1980 I returned for a day visit to Rhyl and took the following photograph of the house in Bath Street which was apparently for sale and no longer to be a guest house.


I discovered its eventual fate when I made another fleeting visit on Saturday 2nd December 1989 and took this further photograph which shows that the house had now been transformed into private apartments. With a smart new paint job and a good cleaning the premises look set for a good few years of occupation still to come.


It might be thought that I am showing a preoccupation with this old house in Bath Street, but it does hold a special place in my memory. I had only good times when I was both visiting and living in this venerable old residence; if I allowed myself the time I could tell many stories of events that happened there. Such tales would be interesting to me but not to other readers of these words, so I shall resist the temptation to dwell on it, and move on to the day of my wedding, or should I say more properly, the day of Jacqueline’s wedding.


In accordance with tradition I was made to arrive at the church early and sit and wait for the blushing bride to make her belated appearance, which she did on her father’s arm as this picture shows.









Accompanying the bride was her Maid of Honour a petite little girl who had been Jackie’s best friend at the drawing office where she had worked before she decided to become a married woman instead of a working girl.







clip_image012Our first picture as man and wife, we sat in the wedding car on the way to the reception at the biggest and best hotel in town, the Westminster which was on the corner of the High Street and the Promenade. It has never occurred to me until this moment that this was the only time I ever visited the Westminster Hotel.


These wedding photographs, taken in black and white, make my appearance quite sombre, when in fact I was looking quite colourful, well colourful for such a conservative character as I was inclined to be. I was wearing a waistcoat and tie which were a dark burgundy, which I thought made me look something of a ‘Flash Harry’ but apparently no one else thought so.



The close observer might wonder why my Uncle Bill was so intimately involved in the wedding, the answer being that he was my best man. It has always been my nature to have few close friends, especially younger ones of my own age, so I had found it a difficulty to decide who should play this part of honoured companion. Having known him all my life it seemed the least I could do to recognise our close relationship by offering him the job, which is as far as I knew was something of a compliment, to be trusted with an important role in another person’s life.

Looking at these pictures for the first time in many years I have many memories come flooding back, most of which are of little interest to any other party but myself. In the following group it is my mother that takes my attention, realising how big was the effort she had made to be with me on my wedding day. She rarely ventured from her home which was her refuge from a hostile world. When I look at this picture of the main guests at our wedding I wonder now who some of them are. On my side of the group were my immediate family with Aunt Nin at the back behind her sister. On the other side were Jacqueline’s relatives most of whom I had only met on one previous occasion. One important member of the family who is missing is my best man Uncle Bill, whose absence I have only now become aware of, and only now do I wonder why he is not present.

If you live at the seaside and you get married in the winter time the weather is not likely to be kind to you, and so is was on this day of our wedding. The main problem was a strong wind which caught Jacqueline’s veil and blew it off; it was returned without delay but in the haste of the operation it was never positioned as it should be.

You would expect a day of such importance would remain in the memory in great detail, but it fact I cannot recall very much about it at all. Once we had departed on our honeymoon I have no doubt the guests all had a great time, but we were not present to share in it or witness their pleasure. We went home to change and to catch the train to London, where we unpacked our suitcases amidst a shower of confetti which had been sneaked into our luggage after we had completed packing. Other than that I have a recollection of the hotel manager coming into the room and presenting us both with a champagne cork into which had been inserted a sixpenny piece. He said to us: “I hope your money never sinks.” I still have the one that was given to me which is why I have not forgotten that moment.


It was a very windy day and Jacqueline’s veil was blown off, this mishap with the veil was considered to have spoiled the wedding photographs, but I had to include at least one which shows us cutting the cake at the Westminster Hotel where the reception was held.

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