Sunday, 20 November 2016

On parade ...... the missing men and a clue in Colwyn Bay

This is one of those photographs which I suspect will remain a bit of a mystery.

The date on the card is 1915 and it was sent to Private Tom Smith of Wellington Road in Rhyl.

But who sent it is unclear, other than that Tom Smith was a friend.

The card begins “Dear Chum” and goes on to thank Tom for a photo, and reports that there is no news of a transfer or when he will get leave.

The rest as they say awaits someone to recognise where the men are on parade.

That said there is just one possible clue and that comes from the photographer who produced the card.

He was Alfred Haley of Penrhyn Road, Colwyn Bay who was active marketing pictures of Colwyn Bay from at least 1910 well into the 1930s.

So perhaps we are in Colwyn Bay, if so I doubt Mr Haley had far to walk on the day he captured the men on parade.

Penrhym Road is just behind the sea front and still presents an elegant mix of shops many of which have impressive canopies of cast iron and glass.

At one end of the road is Metropole Hotel and round the corner the “Picture House” both of which will have been familiar to Mr Haley.

So that is about it. I have only visited Colwyn Bay twice and cannot pretend to be an expert on the geography of the place but someone might know where the men are standing.

And no the postmark does not help. I know the card was stamped at just after mid day on March 15 1915 but the location of where it was sent is missing.

And no sooner had the post gone out and Bill Sumner came up with the answer, "we are on Princes Drive, the houses on the right still exist, in front of the men may have been a sea view but to their right a hundred and fifty yards round the left hand bend was the station which I think was the destination. They are just about to move off."

BIll went on street maps and found that the houses behind them are still there but the houses to the right have gone.

A little further along Princes Drive there are some tall Edwardian buildings with the half timbered top gables.

And that as they say is that.  Thanks to Bill

Location; Colwyn Bay.

Picture; men on parade, from a picture postcard, 1915 from the collection of David Harrop

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