New book on Colwyn Bay: A - Z of Colwyn Bay: Places - People - History by Graham Roberts. Published by Amberley Press at £14.99
Members of Aberconwy Historical Society, who have enjoyed many talks by local historian, Graham Roberts, will find his new book on Colwyn Bay a delight. Arranged alphabetical, it is a personal selection of places, people and anecdotes about Colwyn Bay and its close neighbours – Rhos on Sea, Mochdre and Llysfaen. The choice of subjects is immense and each one is illustrated in colour. Churches and chapels of all denominations and architectural styles are included, schools past and present, roads ancient and modern, grand houses like Pwllycrochan, modest ones like Bevan Avenue, houses designed for older people like Heaton Place and ultra modern ones like ‘Breakers’ are included with stories about their architects, inhabitants and how they came by their names; municipal buildings past and present are there, as is the pier, promenade and puppet theatre; hotels, public houses and gardens, the hospital, telegraph station, lime kilns and of course, the zoo. Throughout the book Mr Roberts tells the stories of the people who lived and worked in Colwyn Bay and who, in some way, left their mark on the town. Sometimes this is a personal memory as of Donald Wynn Hughes, an inspirational headmaster of Rydal School, and sometimes it is an inconsequential and surprising fact like the cremation of Bertrand Russell and Jack Howarth (Albert Tatlock in Coronation Street) at Colwyn Bay Crematoriom.
The growth and development of Colwyn Bay is woven into the stories too, from the Iron Age encampment on Bryn Euryn, expansion of the town in the 19th century as a sea-side resort, the growth of commerce, development of civic amenities and responsibilities, the experiences of the war with the arrival of the Ministry of Food and the influx of evacuees from Liverpool, to its changing status in the 20th century. By-passed by the A55 road, its importance now is as a commercial and administrative centre, as the imposing new council offices currently being built testify.
This is a great book, both to dip into at spare moments for pure enjoyment and interest, and also to seriously explore the town of Colwyn Bay for all its curiosities and surprising history.
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