Mary Swainson’s book about Penrhos College has the subtitle “Recollections and contemporary events” and is a wonderful mix of the history and students’ memories of the school.
The introduction begins with the founding of the school on September 23rd, 1880 at a house on the promenade later called “Gilbertville” and gives a valuable description of Colwyn Bay at that time…
“The area was noted for mild winters and the small town of Colwyn Bay was becoming popular as a holiday resort. The Colwyn Bay Hotel had opened in 1872 and street lighting, with twelve oil lamps on pillars, was introduced the year before Penrhos opened.”
The book continues with the history of the time and the school’s rapid growth. It includes the period during the Second World War when the school was evacuated to Chatsworth.
The personal recollections add a warmth, for example during the 1950s: “I liked School food, it was very tasty, particularly liver and onions and caramel tart, but I never liked bananas, which we had for Sunday breakfast. We had 2/6d pocket money which we either spent at the Tuck Shop run by Miss Owen, or when we went out into Colwyn Bay where I could buy marzipan potatoes and honey comb toffee.”
In its centenary year the school had 377 pupils, 70 from overseas.
The author has included a bibliography.
This book is available for reference at Colwyn Bay Library.
Mary Swainson: The Life and Times of Penrhos College 1880-1995: Recollections and contemporary events: Laureve Publishing: 1996: 0952925605.