Happy times staying at the Rhyl childrens home during the 1950s


Having recently read the series of articles in TWWW about David Williams’s childhood at the Rhyl convalescent home, Fenton-born Keith Bell was reacquainted with his own memories of visits to that very same place.

“First of all, I had a fantastic time there at the children’s home in Rhyl,” says Keith. “I was seven when I was first sent there and went back on four more occasions between 1953 and 1959. On that first occasion it was me, my brother, cousin and two nieces, but my brother only went that one time.”

Despite leaving his parents behind, Keith’s memories are of making friends, trips to the beach and cinema, and sipping hot chocolate in the evening before bed.

“On Thursdays we would get our pocket money from the matron who kept it for us. We would then go shopping which usually meant buying something for the family.”

Unlike some, Keith recalls only having an enjoyable time surrounded by other children and the nurses themselves, who made sure they were never neglected.

“I remember there was one nurse who we called ‘Slobber Chops’ because she used to slobber out the side of her mouth when talking to us. But she was great.

“The nurses looked after us, taking us to places like Frith beach. We had no money but we had a good time. We would go for boat rides on the nearby lake. We’d be taken to the pictures on a Saturday morning and had church every Sunday.”

Nurses at work at the Royal Alexandra Hospital Rhyl in the 1960s.

Keith who spent his working life as an industrial window cleaner, now retired, says they weren’t entirely cut off from family and the food wasn’t all that bad:

“Our families, mums and dads, would visit once a week at the weekend on a Sunday. As for the food it was all right.

“We always, always had stew at dinner time and in the evening we’d get a slice of bread and butter, cup of cocoa and a vitamin tablet.

“Sure it was disciplines we’d have to clean our shoes, make our beds, and in the earlier years all the boys and girls slept in separate dormitories.

“But I had a fantastic time staying at the Rhyl home. It always amazed me how there were kid’s there who had never seen the sea before. I made one great, close, friend in particular during my visits, a Christine Wilkinson. I have fond memories of many fun times in Rhyl.”

Do you or members of your family have memories of staying at the Rhyl Convalescence home as a child? If so please get in touch with Adam Gratton at The Way We Were , Sentinel House, Bethesda Street, Hanley, ST1 3GN or call 01782 864255 or email: adam.gratton@reachpl





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