Slices of Wrexham history found in picture frame

Reporter:

Staff reporter

A PENSIONER found a treasured item of local history in the most unlikely of places.

Ray Johnson, 70, discovered an edition of the broadsheet Wrexham Leader from Friday, April 17, 1936, at his home in Stoke-on-Trent when his young grandchildren accidentally knocked a picture off the wall and the paper was found behind it.

“I think it was probably just holding the picture in,” said Mr Johnson.

“I had no idea it was there and wouldn’t now if it wasn’t for the grandchildren playing football in the house.

“It has been very interesting to see the copy of the paper. It reminds me of how newspapers were when I was young, very different to how they are now.”

The presence of the newspaper in the house was particularly surprising as Mr Johnson had never visited Wrexham, believing it must have been placed there by the person he bought the picture from at a car boot sale.

Such was Mr Johnson’s interest in the old paper that he made his first visit to Wrexham to see if he could track down any of the places advertised in the 1936 edition of the Wrexham Leader.

“I thought it’s a place where I’ve never been and it was worth visiting,” he said.

“It was good to see the Wrexham Leader is still going.”

The 16-page edition includes adverts for businesses including Brown’s on Hope Street, Evans & Davies on Chester Street and Stanley’s Garage, Marchwiel.

Women were being encouraged to buy their summer frocks from Rees General and Fancy Draper on Church Street and Town Hill, while A. E. Roberts on High Street, Ruabon, described itself as ‘the best and latest in radio’.

There are cheap trains advertised with GWR, including a Sunday trip to Llandudno for 4/- and a London Friday night trip costing 15/-.

Visitors to Wrexham Hippodrome could enjoy seeing Page Miss Glory and Oil for the Lamps of China.

The area was still coming to terms with the Gresford Colliery Disaster of two years earlier and a lengthy report could be found in the paper of the latest developments in the government inqury in London into the events of September 1934.

Other news included Cyril Jones of Wrexham, who ‘contested the Flintshire Division in the Labour Party’s interests at the last election’, opting not to stand again.

The Wrexham Leader’s presence at the heart of the community could be seen by the high number of wedding pictures included.

Poetry also made an appearance under Jottlings and Tittlings, with Watchman’s opening verse being as follows:

'In the Spring the young man’s fancy
Does not lightly turn to home,
For no longer he and Nancy
May spoon there – they’ve got to roam.'

As with today, sport played a prominent part in the edition, with numerous reports and tables included.

But one major difference to today’s coverage was that a match report of the Welsh Amateur Cup final between Llay Welfare and Treharris was presented through a series of sketches.

The Football League Division Three North table did not make particularly happy reading for Wrexham fans, as the Reds lay a lowly 16th in the table and rivals Chester were third.

l The Wrexham Leader, known as the Big leader, is published every Friday  by NWN Media.

Have you found pre-war copies of the newspaper in unlikely places or do you have a collection of editions from the period? We would be interested to hear from you.

Call 01978 355151 or email news@leaderlive.co.uk.

See full story in the Leader

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