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Annie and John Hughes on Rhyl beach with daughter Peggy and son Leonard"



Note the whicker chairs which were placed together to form a wind break - more often than not needed on Rhyl beach!

John Hughes was born on 6th January 1861 and died on 22nd January 1946. Peggy Downey was his youngest daughter, born in 1918 when he was 57 and his wife, Annie was 40.

see below for an account of the family


The Hughes Family

October 2005


I have talked to several members of the family about their memories of growing up in the small town of Buckley in the early years of the twentieth century. I have researched the family tree as far back as James Hughes my great grandfather who was born in 1839. He died in 1919 on March 23rd aged 80. He married Louisa Tomkinson and lived at Balls Barn Buckley. She died in 1906. They later moved to 49, Drury Lane, Buckley. They had a daughter called Mary, known later as Aunt Polly. She was born in 1869 and died in1936 on the 25th of April aged 67. She married Thomas Williams and they resided at 101, Brunswick Rd., Buckley. I am fairly sure that they did not have any children. My mother always said that she loved small dogs, especially Yorkshire terriers.


James Hughes was a tile maker. They had a son whom they also named James who was born in 1876. He was a steelsmelter at Summers steelworks at Shotton. He died 26th of February 1919. He had suffered influenza for a week and it turned into Bronchio pneumonia. In two days he died. His brother, my grandfather John was present at his death at 49, Drury Lane. He was 43 years of age.


The other brother was named Harold. He married twice: firstly Florence Bradshaw. His second wife was named Cecilia, and they lived at 83, Brunswick Rd., Buckley. John and Harold built four houses 83, 85, 87,and 89. They named them Openshaw Villas because part of the financing came from a cousin who lived in Openshaw in

Manchester. James Hughes, senior, died just three weeks after his son. There was a severe outbreak of Spanish influenza in 1919.


John Hughes, my grandfather, died aged 68 in1946 on January 7th and had been born on 6th January 1861. He suffered from heart problems. He had always worked hard, walking to work at Summers Steelworks setting off from Buckley at 5am in order to clock on in time. He married Annie Astbury of 26, Finney St. Rhosddu, Wrexham. Her parents were Charles Astbury, a winchman at Llay Colliery. Her mother was called Alice, and she was a dressmaker, a job taught to my grandmother. Alice became diabetic and had to be nursed as she developed gangrene. Annie was an only child. Charles apparently liked a drink and lost his job because he used to forget whether the men were on their way up or down. When they married they lived at 49, Drury Lane. My grand parents had seven children.


Norah was registered as Nora but always insisted on spelling her name with an h. She was born at Drury Lane on 28th of September 1902; she died aged 99 in 2001. She looked after the family when her mother went to work at the munitions factory. She was aged sixteen when my mother was born in1918. Norah brought her up. Ironically she had no children of her own. Norah went into service at a large house on the Wirral where she learned to cook. She kept her school notes on cooking and cleaning, written at St. Matthew's school, Church Rd. She married William Ithell Roberts at St. Matthew's Church on Thursday August 17th 1933.


William was the second son of Ithel Roberts a brickburner, son of Joseph also a brickburner, who married Ada Humphreys daughter of Griffith Humphreys a bricksetter in 1898 at St. Matthews Church. Norah went to live at 14 Hillside Crescent, Buckley. Billy was interested in Further Education and set up courses with his friend Mr. Messham of Liverpool Rd. He became Chief Clerk at the Health Department based at Llwynegrin Hall, Mold. Prior to joining the County Council he was employed by solicitors Goodman Roberts of Mold. He died in1967 of heart failure and acute bronchitis. He was an excellent artist, painting in oils pictures of Padeswood exhibiting in Flintshire a scene of stooks of corn ready for harvesting. Billy's sister married Mr. James Ellis who owned the garage in Mill Lane recently run by John Rowlands. His brother Joseph died when young and his other two sisters are also deceased. Winnie became a lecturer in Infant Education in London . Connie married Mr Hughes and had a daughter Marjorie who taught in Flintshire.


Louisa was the next child of Annie and John Hughes. She was born on 20th of September 1903, but she died in infancy.


Harry arrived in1905 and he died in1979. The family had moved to Glen Cottage on Higher Common or Buckley Mountain as they called it. The cottage is still there, near to Tram Rd. My grandfather always planted the seed potatoes on a Good Friday. He grew vegetables and he loved flowers especially his double daffodils and auriculas. They kept chickens and a pig which was cured and hung in the kitchen


Harry joined the County Police as No.14 after he left St. Matthew's School. He married Grace Williamson, born 23 rd September 1904, and he was stationed in Holywell. Their daughter Doreen was born in 1930 on26th of February, followed by Derek in 1935 on 24th of February. The family then lived in the house opposite the current Police House to which they moved as soon as it was built in New Brighton. Grace died aged 43 very suddenly on 29th of May 1953. Doreen who had married James Samuel Cox of Knowle Lane, Buckley moved to New Brighton to look after her father. Her son Peter James Cox was adored by his grandfather. Once he retired from the police Harry joined the Ambulance Service. Harry also loved gardening and grew vegetables. They moved to a bungalow 61, Chambers Lane, Mynydd Isa.


James was born in 1908 and died in 1993. He and his friends set up a dance band, enjoyed messing about with motor bikes and made themselves a valve radio The first time they tuned it in their grandmother was in the room and was scared stiff by the voice without a body. James married Brenda Edwards who was born on 24th of February 1916. They had Brian who died in infancy and Glyn who married Joyce Messham also of Buckley. Their daughter Tracey after gaining her degrees married Mark Langrill whom she met whilst serving in The Royal Navy. They have a son Tobias and they are now Royal Naval instructors at Dartmouth, and live in Devon. Jim as he was known became a mechanic working for Richardson's of Brunswick Rd. who for many years were the means by which the Buckleyites reached Rhyl, during the summer months. Jim was also an enthusiastic gardener and produced wonderful flower displays behind 27 and 29, Chester Road where he lived.


James Samuel Cox worked as a projectionist at the Tivoli before he joined the Welsh Guards. He later worked at John Summers at Shotton as a security guard. He died in 2004. Jim was also a good gardener, producing vegetables from the garden. His son Peter James Cox was born in1954 in April. He attended Loughborough University and married Toni Pearce in London in July 1975. They have two sons, Daniel Peter born 1st March 1985 and Benjamin Robin born 23rd August 1986.


Derek Hughes was married to Beryl Wareham born on 30th of March 1938. She came from Crewe and Derek met her whilst serving in the Cheshire Constabulary. They moved to Nantwich and have one son David Mark born on 28th of February 1964. He married Jillian Lawrence on 28th of June 1986 and they have two children James David born 27th of March 1991 and Emma.


John Harold Hughes was known as Jack and was born on 29th of May 1908. He died on 27th of February 1990. He trained as a joiner with R.D. Davies undertakers and then went to London to repair war damage after the blitz. He returned to work at Summers in Shotton. He married Dora Boswell the widow of his friend in 1977. This was his first marriage at the age of 69.


Leonard Hughes was born on 30th of June 1911. He died in1922 from blood poisoning after getting an infection in broken skin on his knuckles. His favourite hymn was Onwards Christian Soldiers and this was played at his funeral.


Margaret Edwards Hughes was the last child born on 31st of January 1918. She died on 12th of June 2001. She grew up in the care of Norah and her playmate was Leonard. She was devastated when he died. She lived on the Common at Glen Cottage as a young child, and remembered it covered in heather. She played mainly with her two dogs Prince and Rex, the latter a Pomeranian. She rode her tricycle and had an iron hoop and stick, a skipping rope and dolls, but she yearned for a tennis racquet a wish which she never achieved. She was multi talented as a singer, dancer and actress, and she played a central part in The Buckley Amateur Pantomime Company. She raised money for the B.Y.P.C.A.centre at Hawkesbury Hall. She attended St. Matthew's school and had memories of walking to Ewloe Green for cookery classes. She played the piano and gained certificates for dance. She entertained at Garden Fetes and at Hawarden Castle for the Gladstone family. She was a talented dressmaker and knitter. She became the Buckley correspondent for the Buckley news in the Chester Chronicle in 1980 after the death of her husband. Peggy as she was known to everyone married Edgar Downey who was born on 9th of March 1914 and who died on the 20th of September 1980. They married on the 1st of January 1942.


It was an icy day and the paths were like glass. Jack was the best man and Lillian Downey the only bridesmaid. She held the reception at Brunswick Rd. in the cellars under the house. These had been in use as neighbours had sheltered there during air raids on Liverpool. Everyone had helped with rations and the Council had provided an extra bag of sugar, all 2lbs. Edgar was in the R.A.F. stationed in Scotland and had only 48 hours leave. They spent their honeymoon at home. Edgar was the only son of James Downey of 100, Spon Green who had come over from Ireland with his brothers Owen and Patrick from County Down. One went on to America and the other disappeared. I discovered his son Joseph at an antiques fair in Mold. He lived in Neston, but had lost track of the family.


Jimmy married Eliza Higginson of Buckley. He died in 1945 from an ulcer which perforated. He played the organ for 25 years at Bistre Methodist Chapel. He was also the local news correspondent for The Pioneer and the Chester Chronicle. They had a daughter named Lillian who died on the 1st of January 2001 at Oakham in Rutland. After the war Edgar resumed his job at Hawarden Waterworks as a rating officer. He took over from his father as the local Mr. News in 1945. Peggy and then their daughter followed in Jimmy's footsteps.


Jean was born on the 8th of February 1943. She was their only child. The family lived at Brunswick Rd. She attended Buckley C.P. school and then Hawarden Grammar. She achieved a teaching certificate from Liverpool University in 1964 and taught at Elfed High school until 2002. She achieved a Diploma in Media and a Diploma in Counselling from the A.E.B. She also qualified as a flower demonstrator. She enjoyed water colour painting too.


She married Thomas Albert Wynne on the 27th of July 1967, at St. Matthew's church. Albert lived at 91, Brunswick Rd. He attended Hawarden Grammar School, Deeside College, and Wrexham Technical College. He later went to Loughborough. He gained an L.R.I.C. and an L.I.M.F. He was born on 30th of April 1938 weighing just 2lbs. and he died on 15th of January 2004 after a long illness. He was an Industrial Chemist.


Andrew James Wynne was born on the 22nd of March 1982 at Chester. He was educated at Southdown C.P. School and Argoed High School. The family lived at 14, Rockcliffe, Bryn y Baal, Mold. Andrew did his apprenticeship at The Beaufort Park Hotel before taking up a position as an Assistant Purser with P and O Cruises working the Caribbean route as far as South America, and the west coast of America, Canada and Alaska.



Author: Wynne, Jean


Year = 1928

Event = Leisure

Gender = Mixed

People = Family

Extra = 1920s

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