Local history enthusiast PHIL PHILLIPS reminisces about the good times at the Pavilion cinema in Rhos...

GROWING up in the 1950s in a strong Welsh-speaking community which valued education and respect for others, we were spoilt for choice in terms of culture and entertainment in Rhos.

We were blessed with chapels, and the Aelwyd, where any form of talent would be nurtured, an operatic society, two fine male voice choirs, two excellent football teams and the opportunity to play cricket and tennis in the summer on Ponciau Banks.

We also sported not one, but two cinemas. Having said that, the population of the mining village in the 50s was approaching 15,000, making it the largest in Wales.

On Saturdays we had the choice of frequenting the Palace Theatre in the Stiwt, which was salubrious and could hold well over a thousand cinema


This was the heyday of the cinemas and the queues for the first and second house could stretch into New Street.

Failing that, we could walk a few dozen yards from the Stiwt to the Pavilion.

This was a far more mundane cinema than the palatial Stiwt. Its business-like facade hid what was, in effect, large swathes of corrugated iron and tin sheeting which, like The Glynne and The Palace cinemas, meant that the audial experience was sometimes marred by the sound of falling rain.

Incidentally, it has previously been suggested by a reader, Ieuan Roberts from Rhos, that the Pavilion was the one used for the 1912 Eisteddfod in Wrexham and re-erected in Rhos. Nonetheless, this was the cinema of choice for us because we had the Saturday matinee which cost a lot less than the featured films in the Stiwt.

The real dilemma was whether to spend my thrupence a week pocket money on the cinema or on watching the Aelwyd. Fortunately I found a way to do both.

My abiding memory of the Pavilion is of Saturday afternoons is of being glued to the exploits of ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok. Every episode ended with a ‘cliff-hanger’ which kept us wondering all week about the fate of our hero.

I’m sure that there were other silver screen legends available but this character sticks in my mind, as did the stentorian voice telling us to keep quiet.

The Pavilion was demolished in the 1960s along with our memories and was eventually replaced by The Hafod Colliery Social Club (Clwb yr Hafod).

Hafod Colliery itself closed in 1968 but the club survives to this day.

• If you have any memories of the silver screen, please get in touch. You can let us know here or email claire.pierce@newsquest.co.uk